Forum OpenACS Q&A: Icons for OpenACS

Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Is anyone using Icons within their OpenACS installation instead of the usual text for "Admin", "Copy", "Delete" and other such terms?

Would it make for a good goal in one of  the future bug bashes to search and replace occasions of pure text with icons (additionally, that is)?

If you see the need for icons as well, this thread might be a good starting point to post pages where you think an icon would help to color up OpenACS.

In case you wonder, we can get the Icons from places like (kudos to Dave for the link).

2: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Jeff Davis on
A few concerns I have are 1) the graphicpush site seems not to have any license information for the icon sets, so I think you wouldneed to make sure the stuff was licensed GPL compatible and 2) that we not make i18n much harder by replacing plain text with icons that contain text.

I personally like the gnome and kde icons (although most are png's with alpha channels so have issues displaying on IE properly).

3: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 2)
Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
I absolutely agree on both concerns. Furthermore, if I'm not mistaken, we could have the internationalized text string popping up if the mouse moves over the icon.

As for KDE or Gnome, we could convert them from png, couldn't we ?

4: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on
Before we start on the "replace occasions of pure text with icons bit" I would like to see a clean up of "action" links (e.g. Upload, Delete, Join, Register, Remove all stupid smileys in this forum, etc.) in the toolkit (see the action buttons in the new version of file storage). If we think about it before we do it we might even be able to use some css magic in the future to replace text with images without making the toolkit harder to use for those that may not see as well as you and I or just like using lynx (I say this ignoring the i18n problem Jeff brings up above).
5: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 4)
Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Using the alt property correctly should not only bring us the popup and internationalization (if we have an internationlized alt tag), but also make it readable on any browser like lynx and accessible for blind people.

On the other hand, I did not realize your problem exists, so it might be worthwhile to investigate this first.

6: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Tom Jackson on

You can check out the way I updated the AOLserver directory proc to use the alt trick: So just changing the css will bring images into place when you want to do it. Hard coding images is not the greatest idea, no matter how PC.

7: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 4)
Posted by Alfred Werner on
On the same lines - I ran into quite a few redundant but slightly different worded links when I was helping translate ..

For example, if I remember correctly - dotLrn had

add user
add a user
user - Add


A good place to look for fixing action links would be in the english language keys to find ambiguous or alternate actions.

8: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Jun Yamog on
I agree with the opinion of putting the icons on css rather than hardcoding it on html.  I tried using this it seems to be good, although older browsers does not see it.  I used gnome and ximian images.
9: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 6)
Posted by Jarkko Laine on

I assume you're talking about Fahrner Image Replacement technique. It has unfortunately two problems: it's not considered too accessible (see and if a user has css on but images off, she doesn't see anything.

There's a lot of different opinions about this, but Doug Bowman's piece ( , especially the important note in the bottom of the document) seems to be the most unbiased one I've read. It also lists a few techniques that try to solve the problems mentioned above. Dave Shea ( talks about i18n possibilities, too.

So my opinion: some image replacement technique is probably our best shot. BUT, we probably shouldn't use display:none or visibility: hidden for it, if and when we are replacing text with an image. I try to get some further information about the techniques developed to fix FIR's problems. For purposes like Tom's (no "real" text replaced) there's no problem even in the original FIR.

Jeff and Malte: If we are using a css-based method like the ones mentioned above, we can actually use even the png image  in ie6+ (also in older ie's if we make a gif version of the pics too). The technique is described here:

10: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 9)
Posted by Mark Aufflick on
I've used the ie6 transparent png support before to use the  super-nice gnome png file type icons in file-storage.

the method is a pita, but i just made a memoized proc that returned an image html chunk for (in that case) a mime-type and a browser string. all the hairy stuff stayed in the proc.

you can thus present a transparent png properly for ie6, mozilla (v?) and from memory safari on macos?.

the results are

11: Re: Icons for OpenACS (response to 1)
Posted by Kevin Potts on
This is Kevin from graphicPUSH. I created the icons, and as I state on the site, they are completely free for all usage. No restrictions, no license, nothing. They are for everone for anything.