A favicon is definitely that little image that a lot of browsers display on the street address collection and in the favorites (bookmarks) menu. Tabbed browsers like Firefox and Opera prolong the functionality of favicons, adding them with their tabs. The brand was coined predicated on Internet Explorer (the first browser to aid it) and derives from “Favorites Icon”. Each browser has a unique interface, and as a result uses the favicon in different ways. The favicon allows an organization to help expand promote its identity and photo by displaying a emblem, a graphical message, etc. Generally, the favicon reflects the appearance and feel of the web page or the organization’s logo.
A traditional favicon is truly a Microsoft Windows ICO file. An ICO file is actually a repository of bitmap like images. They are used because in some locations a 16×16 pixel picture is desired, and sometimes a 32×32 image could be needed. Sometimes a 16 shade image is desired, and in some cases a 256 colour icon is desired.
You probably already knew all of the above.
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But did you know Firefox can show animated favicons? If you don’t trust me, open Firefox and head to my site, bsleek.com (there should be a link at the bottom of the article). if you don’t have Firefox, download it, it is a “must have” and you may quickly love the simplicity and capability of tabbed browsing. Even if you aren’t a designer but just a site owner, in the current environment you absolutely got to know how your site looks in all browsers. You would believe that all websites should look exactly the same, but as browsers become more diverse and much more sophisticated, standards are not respected and things will get messy. For example, I simply discovered that several pages on my web site don’t look needlessly to say in the most recent version of Opera and have to be adjusted.
Ok, I hope by now you saw my animated favicon in Firefox and came back to the article to learn more about it…
The main reason why you can view animated favicons in Firefox is because Firefox abolished the proprietary ICO formatting in favor of the opportunity to display any supported image format in the favicon location, incorporating BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG and… animated GIFs.
So now you know the big technique, the animated favicon is nothing but a tiny animated GIF.
Here is a very neat trick, that can actually be used to visualize how any image appears like as a 16×16 pixel icon – once you start designing one of those, you will realize that it is extremely hard to produce a legible image on a 16 square pixels canvas:
Find any webpage with any graphic that you will be interested in. Right click the image and chose “View Photo” from the dialog. A blank webpage should display with your chosen image and surprise: you can see a miniature 16×16 duplicate of the photograph as a favicon! Uhh… do I must mention again that people are doing all this in Firefox?
A hacker’s mind will immediately think about how great it would be to utilize this feature as a change tool. Unfortunately, unlike WEB BROWSER and Opera, Firefox doesn’t shop FavIcons in .ico files, the icons are stored in an encoded format straight in the bookmark file.
You can apply exactly the same principle to animated GIFs and you may notice that a miniature type of the animation in addition plays in the deal with bar and on the tabs.
Perhaps one of the main reasons why you don’t note that many sites using animations will be browser compatibility. Animated favicons are not treated at all by WEB BROWSER. A static image will not be extracted from the animation frequently. Rather, the default .htm icon (as defined in Windows’ filetypes) will undoubtedly be placed under one’s Favorites – once added, that’s. The animations are not supported by Netscape, Opera, Konqueror, Safari; at least so it seems at the time of this writing. The Firefox family members seems to be the only friend to animations, but as browsers evolve, broader help for animation will probably come along (or, the idea will die).
So, why not take advantage of this *today* and ‘beat the rush’?
Basically, this is one way it’s done:
1. You create a 16×16 animated GIF.
2. You upload the animated GIF to the “root” of one’s site, or to any other location.
3. You hardcode in your page the location where Firefox should search for the animation.
That’s really it, “big image” wise.
Unless you feel too creative or just don’t have time and/or patience, an established professional design firm (such as for example Bsleek) should be able to make a nice animated favicon for you personally. Another option – I don’t endorse it, as your goal should be to excel through unique information and push your personal image out there – would be to find one of the many galleries online and sometimes download a prepared made animated favicon or have a large animated GIF and resize it and/or edit it in one of the many available tools. There are also sites offering online animated favicon creation from a standard image (check out chami.com, get “FavIcon from pics”, they will have a simple but neat scrolling text feature).
For anyone who is however a fellow do-it-yourselfer, subsequently let’s elaborate and appearance at some techniques and beneficial tips:
As far as tools go: If you are a lucky owner of Adobe’s excellent Photoshop, you then also have a companion software called ImageReady. Linux users have Gimp, a remarkably powerful and free graphics program that can easily handle animated GIF creation. What many people have no idea is that Gimp is also available for free for Home windows and the Mac. There is also GIMPShop in the wild, which is a nifty GIMP edition for the photoshop-inclined target audience (did I mention free?). Additionally, there are many specialized GIF animation makers, some freeware, some not.