A new standard for RSS icons

It's been a long time coming - an RSS icon that actually means something.

The debate over the RSS icon, let alone the naming of 'RSS' has come up numerous times. It has often irked me that the white 'XML' text on the orange background has been the 'official' icon for RSS - and passionatley defended by RSS inventor Dave Winer.

I mean really - how does that make sense? Use an icon with the letters XML to signify an RSS feed?

Others have realised the stupidity of that choice and created a version with the letters R.S.S, so now we have 2 icons. The second icon makes more sense, but of course it does not make sense for Atom feeds.


So now we need a 3rd icon for Atom feeds.

Then the Firefox team came along - and realising that none of the previous choices made much sense, introduced a 4th icon, the now familiar 'Live Bookmark' icon.

OK - this is where it gets weird.

Along came Microsoft and asked for comments on introducing a 5th icon, much to Dave Winers dismay ... sounds all very microsofty so far... the old 'Embrace and extend'.

BUT, in yet another example of the new 'Microsoft 2.0' - they have actually listened to the public, contacted the Mozilla team and agreed to standardise on the RSS Feed icon used in Firefox.

..in November, Amar and I took a visit down to Silicon Valley to meet with John Lilly and Chris Beard from Mozilla to get their thoughts on it. We all agreed that it’s in the user’s best interest to have one common icon to represent RSS and RSS-related features in a browser.

In one simple step, they have demonstrated that the 'new' Microsoft may infact be the genuine thing - and they have solidly cemented the Firefox feed icon as the defacto standard.

Now we just need to get the firefox team to drop the term 'live bookmark' and use 'Feed'!

For those looking for higher quality versions of the icon, Matt Brett has released an excellent vector and bitmap version of the icon for download on his blog:


This is the personal blog of Adrian Lynch, owner of Millstream, developers of Spring CMS.

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