Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

IE7’s feed icon

IE7’s feed icon has been announced. And it’s the same as the icon used by Firefox.
The original announcement in October that MS were deciding on a better icon drew a lot of responses. There really hasn’t been a standard to follow and the de-facto standard of the orange XML button isn’t a good one – RSS and Atom are just two forms of XML. Using orange XML buttons for every XML document is just plain confusing.
Using an orange ‘RSS’ icon is out because IE7 will support both RSS and Atom. There is also a problem that ‘RSS’ looks like ‘ASS’. I’m being serious – Firefox orginally used ‘RSS’ and it was marked as a bug and changed. The format that the feed is in is essentially irrelevant to the end user and so there’s no real need to differentiate between the two, and any differentiation may lead to confusion anyway.
Using Firefox’s icon is a good idea though. It’s already in use by the world’s second most-popular browser and has been for over a year, so the icon will be familiar to people – this is important because web feeds are quite new to most non-techy people and so consistency will help to raise its profile. It’s also good at representing what RSS and Atom are – the icon shows broadcasting and the orange indicates attention. The fact that is orange means that it isn’t too dissimilar to the other orange icons.
Well done to Microsoft for making the right decision, not at least because it means the feed icons I’ve been using on this site are already compatible with IE7 πŸ™‚ .
Update: And it gets better: Outlook 12 will also use it and it looks like it’ll be used throughout the feed support in Windows Vista. Now all we need is Opera and Safari to adopt it πŸ™‚ .

3 Comments

  1. It’s good news that browsers are trying to put out some standards. Microsoft seems to have swallowed their pride on this one, which is definitely going to benefit everyone.
    I see RSS as a generalisation and not a specific format. RDF (or Rich) Site Summary can be in the format RSS1.0, RSS2.0 or Atom, for example. RSS is simply the XML file which provides the latest news from a site, and can be read in an external application or service.

  2. I’ve adjusted my web feed badges to be compliant with IE 7 as well.
    This is one time I’ve actually been happy to make my site compliant with Explorer!
    Here’s hoping that Apple follows suit and makes the change in Safari as well.

  3. Yuck, I still hate the orange. BTW, the Firefox button is skinnable.