Need icons for filetypes? Hotlink from stdicon.com
August 28, 2009
This is about ten days old, but still worth mentioning. I was working on PostBin trying to support file uploads. I realized I really wanted to have icons for the files to help differentiate them from other POST params and make it feel more polished. Of course, this would mean I’d have to find icons for the popular file/mime types … and if I were going to do that, I might as well build a service … but I didn’t want to build a service.
I turned to Twitter. In that past, I’d mentioned wanting something and somebody actually built it (using my tools no less). I figured this was a bit more work than last time, but it couldn’t be that much more. So I gave it a shot and tweeted it. Next thing I know, Paul Tarjan is on it. Some hours later: stdicon.com
I’m credited at the bottom, but really, I just had the idea and came up with the domain. Paul wrote all the code and even collected all the icons (and manually uploaded them to the app). We discussed implementation details over IM, but that was it. Pretty rad!
The idea is that given a file extension (“txt”, “gif”, etc) or a mimetype (“text/plain”, “application/zip”, etc) you can get a resizable icon by putting together a simple URL, like
http://www.stdicon.com/mp3?size=16 or from a particular icon set
http://www.stdicon.com/neu/html?size=64. Here are some examples from various sets:
And that’s it! Paul wrote a post about it. Somebody requested a simple API for just doing the mimetype to file extension conversion, so Paul added it. Strangely, the same day, MIME API was released. That’s fine. Just means stdicon can focus on icons.
Anyway, I pulled this same stunt just the other day, using Twitter to get more cool infrastructure built, but I’ll have to write about it later.