This site has a “favicon” — that little icon to show in your browser window’s header, in your Favourites or in your RSS feed. Yes, that one: four white letters on black, with corners rounded a little. Nothing fancy, really, just a 4.5 KB SVG.

It’s 2020, and you’d think putting that SVG up on the site, together with an obligatory .ico for legacy support would be enough, right? The modern software can use SVG to render the icon in any size it needs, and the old systems could fall back to the age-old .ico standard. Right?


To have the favicon displayed nicely in all the current software that you may want to use to view this site, I had to put 12 (twelve!) different files in there. My SVG and an .ico, naturally, but then a PNG for software that’s relatively modern but somehow not modern enough to support SVG. And two more sizes of PNG for Android and Chrome, because those explicitly want 512×512 and 192×192 variants, and also a site.webmanifest to tell Chrome that those icons exist. Another PNG for Apple touch interfaces, because that one should be 180×180, and a couple more PNGs for older Apple desktop stuff. A separate SVG mask for mobile Safari, of course! And yet another PNG for Microsoft’s tiled interfaces, and an XML to tell Windows about it…

I mean, it’s nice to be able to provide separate files for all those use-cases — as an option. But I just want the same simple icon everywhere!

Is it me, or are modern web practices actually insane?

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