Most extension developers deal with this little image for their extension, others don't. With over 4500 extensions in the TER, theres also quite the variety of icons to be found. Let's have a closer look at those icons.
To do so, I had to create a small script that downloaded all the icons for me. If for some creepy reason you feel like you need to have all these icons as well, scroll down. Theres a ZIp file containing all 4,694 of them. blinkert
The Forgotten Child
At least 1315 (27.99%) of the extensions use the default extension icon. That's quite a lot to be honest. If you want your extension to draw attention or at least look professional than thiss isn't really the way.
Size does matter!
Icons come in many shapes and sizes. To be more precise in 98 different sizes. Some developers apparently didn't take a look at the size of the default icon or were too lazy to scale or resize their image. Since there are 131 (2.79%) icons that are 'oversized'.
If we look at what the correct size could be, we could take a look inside the Extension Manager. Looking in the HTML source code, we find that icons are stretched to a height of 18 pixels and a width of 21 pixels. No if we compare this with the data we have from the icons, we come to a shocking conclusion.
Only 185 icons (3.94%) are actually this size. The rest is either too large or too small.
The largest icon, used by the extension 'spr_thought_for_the_day', is 105 x 30 pixels. That's over 8 times the size of a 'normal' icon.
Of course there is a little brother, it's used by the extension 'bu3access'. It's only 14 x 7 pixels, that's less than a third of a 'normal' extension icon.
These are the icons that are most common in the TER. Do you consider this as useless information? I do! blinkert But since we are playing with statistics anyways, I thought it would be fun to throw in :-)
Comparison is done by md5 hashing of the icon files, and then comparing the hashes with their number of occurances. Out of that we can make a top 10! Of course the first place has already been given away (if you've paid attention to the post).
Luckily this was less of a shock. Just 45 extensions are wandering around the TER without an icon at all (or with an unreadable file). This is just over 1%.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to find any guidelines for extension icons. But by taking the guidelines for extension keys and a quick view in the Extension Managers source code and some common sense. I guess we can come up with the following, the icon should be..
- .. somewhat descriptive for the extension. But of course this is not always possible.
- ..18 pixels of height and 21 pixels of width
- .. a GIF file
And a personal one I want to add. Please.. for the love of God, do not use animated GIFs. We simply don't live in 1998 anymore, it's not cool..
What do 4,694 icons look like?
Actually 4,694 isn't the right number, since there are only 2,489 different ones. Anyways, it looks kind of like this.
You thought that's all? Wrong ;-) This is about one third of what it actually is. You can find the full list here (keep in mind you are going to load over 2000 images).
What's so important about that little icon?
When I look for an extension in the TER, I almost never click through anything that has either no icon or no manual. And since I'm just cattle in a herd, I'm guessing I'm not the only one.
An icon, believe it or not, can make your extension look a lot more professional. It makes it easier to be recognized in the backend. And it generally makes TYPO3 look more professional.
It's a small effort, you will only need to do it once per extension. You've put so much work in your extension already, so why not put those extra 5 minutes in the icon?