Web Matters

A use for “favicons”

The so-called favicons, little pictures which appear next to a URL, were invented as a bit of frivolity by Microsoft: see the relevant HTML FAQ page. Perhaps ironically, they become useful in other browsers with a tabbed interface, such as Opera.

One particular way I have found them useful is identifying the different document trees I have. I actually have four for my site:

  1. an Experiment tree, for trying out new things;
  2. a Development tree, for doing changes to the site;
  3. a Live copy, which is identical to that on the server; it can be used for restoring the server in the event of a corruption (or for starting again in the Development tree if I screw up a page);
  4. the actual site on the web server.

By putting a separate favicon in each tree, it makes it easy for me to remember which tree I'm in at any given moment. See the example below.

[favicon example]