GruntJS plugin for RealFaviconGenerator is back, simpler than ever

A year ago, the GruntJS plugin for RealFaviconGenerator was released. The plugin itself was usable, but it missed one important feature: the ability to be used easily, without reading RealFaviconGenerator’s API and testing.

Want to handle favicon with Grunt? Here is how to do it:

  1. Go to RealFaviconGenerator to create your icons for Grunt: iOS, Android and friends.
    Favicon editor
  2. On the next page, follow the instructions. A copy/paste later, your Grunt project is ready.
    Grunt tab

I’m confident this feature will have success, at least in the long run, because:

  • It is about Grunt, which is one of the tools that make web development more professional. For years, manual, error prone deployment has been the norm, and this is still a common practice. In a few years, these bad habits will be over, at least among professionals.
  • It is about serious asset management. A few years ago, the regular way of adding jQuery to a project was to download it manually and putting its files right in the middle of the homemade material. Now more ad more people use Bower or other tools to manage these resources. It should be the same for the favicon and related icons: getting a favicon.ico and dropping it somewhere in the website project is (should be) a practice from the past.
  • As a mundane task, favicon should be done quickly. We spend hours crafting HTML pages, tailoring CSS and writing unit tests. But how much time would you dedicate to the favicon? Only a few minutes. This is a small task by nature. Anything that excess 5/10 minutes is flawed.

RFG addresses all this points.


Right now, you can use this new feature for free. However, this won’t last. As I announced it in January, I want to make money with RealFaviconGenerator. I have run ads for months and the conclusion is: ads don’t even pay for the hosting costs. I actually makes more money from donations (thank you all!!), which are greatly appreciated but not very significant in total.

So I want to offer additional, paid options. What I told a few months ago still apply: what was free will remain free. We are only talking about new stuff.

Right now, I don’t know which model is the best: a classic subscription or pay-as-you-go? This is the purpose of the feedback form showed just after the instructions for Grunt:

Feedback Form

Your feedback would be very appreciated!

RFG needs your feedback (2/2)

A few days ago RFG started to collect user’s feedback in three areas.

170 visitors filled one of the forms. THANK YOU!!


The first question was about the platforms you would like RFG to support. The winner is… the Open Graph image, used by Facebook when you share a page.


Beyond the raw results, the social networks are the undisputed winners. Most votes for Coast and Yandex were from people who voted for everything. Whereas many feedbacks were only for OG and Twitter, or OG alone.


Three options were proposed:

  • Small pictures: RFG resizes pictures as needed to generate the icons. Regarding small icons (16×16 and 32×32), it is sometimes better to edit them manually, or to draw them pixel-by-pixel. RFG would allow you to upload your very own custom 16×16 and/or 32×32 icon(s).
  • Smaller package: RFG generates 20-something icons and about 15 lines of HTML. Many people don’t want to clutter their HTML with so much code. RFG could create much less with very few side effects.
  • Embedded instructions: The instructions to setup your favicon (and the HTML) are given by RFG web site. The Zip file itself contains only the images and related files. In other words, the package is not standalone: if you leave RFG too soon, you end up with a useless archive. The package could contain a text file to remind the instructions.


Embedded instructions is the most wanted option. I thought most people would want a smaller package, while I considered the embedded instructions as a nice-to-have. I was wrong, and that’s the point of asking for opinions.

Tools and framework

This is my favorite part. There were less votes here, only 17. I was not surprised: the form was in the result page, where the user is presented the material he came for: the package and HTML code. Most people probably didn’t want to hear about anything else. But I could feel the interest is real. Unlike the platform and options forms, where several users selected everything, all votes here were for one tool or framework. So I could really hear a visitor asking for his favorite solution.

Tools and platforms

The winner is Grunt, by a short advance. Gulp and Ruby on Rails were nearly as popular. Symfony got no vote, but that’s okay. The test was run for only 3 days (1st day was a Sunday) and the question was asked to people who didn’t come for this.

Thank you again for all this feedback!!

Alright, time to get back to work!

RFG needs your feedback (1/2)

Until now, RFG didn’t explicitly asked for feedback. Users have done it via:

I’ve just started something I should have done long ago: survey users for direct feedback.

During a few days, you will find three forms right in the interface of RealFaviconGenerator. The first one is about the supported platforms.

Which platform to support next?

The second one is about options. Here you will find usual suspects (at least from my point of view).

Which options to support next?

The third one is for integration. RFG generate HTML, but this is not the only way. What do you use? Build tools such as Gulp? Framework like Ruby on Rails?

Which framework or tool to support next?

Next episode: the results!

Safari’s pinned tabs support (Mac OS X El Capitan)

Apple released Mac OS X “El Capitan” a few days ago. Safari comes with pinned tabs, a cool feature to keep some sites around. The feature itself is not new, but Safari makes it really neat (at 0:48). Guess what? There is a new icon. RealFaviconGenerator lets you design yours in seconds. Time to generate your favicon again!!

The new icon for Safari’s pinned tabs

No, Apple didn’t recycle one of the numerous existing icons, such as its famous Touch icon for iOS. It specifies a new, proprietary icon. The big news is its format: SVG. For (arguably) the first time in favicon (and derivatives) history, a vector format is used instead of a classic bitmap format, usually PNG. I’m not sure Apple chose it for its scaling ability. Tabs icons are small. But it is probably easier to play with colors with a vector image. Which Safari does when a tab is rolled over or selected.

Unlike most favicon-related images, this new icon comes with design requirements. Well, one requirement. The icon must be monochromatic. Black with a transparent background. The icon is completed by a “theme color”. When the tab is not selected, Safari renders the icon in grey. When the tab is active, Safari uses the theme color. So it should probably be the dominant color of your original icon or logo to make it consistent with your site.

Support in RealFaviconGenerator

Creating this icon can be more challenging than usual. Many times, icon design takes place in the bitmap world. Gimp in my case. Creating an SVG picture out of a flat bitmap can be a daunting task. As always, RealFaviconGenerator’s mission is to provide no-brainer settings to get the job done in seconds.

Transparent favicon? Use Silhouette

If your icon has a transparent background, using its silhouette can be a winner. Take the demo icon:

Demo icon

Its silhouette fits the pinned tab just nicely:


But what if the original picture is not transparent, or if its silhouette is not relevant? Hum… We need something else. Take RFG’s logo:

Favicon master picture

Its silhouette is quite useless:



Yep, “monochromatization” brings results when you google it, although it has nothing to do with graphics. Sorry.

The other option is to first turn the picture into a black-and-white version. You can test various thresholds in order to find the perfect setting for your particular case. Although the results vary from an image to another, there is normally a threshold that works well. During my tests, no picture was left behind.

What I get with RFG’s logo:

Very low threshold
Very low threshold
Low threshold
Low threshold
Medium threshold
Medium threshold
High threshold
High threshold

Whatever the settings, RealFaviconGenerator uses potrace to produce a genuine SVG picture. This tool is impressive.

In order for the editor to be as reliable as possible, the images used as previews are first vectorized with potrace, then converted to PNG again. This way, you know that what you see in not a mere promise but the actual outcome.

Enough talking, time to refresh you favicon!