If you look at a number of weblogs, you'll notice that many have a wide variety of badges (or buttons), indicating various things they support. Such badges include RSS, FOAF, Valid HTML, weblog tools, Creative Commons links, and so on. It's like being a boy scout. Got some RSS? Get an RSS badge. Passed the CSS validator? Get a Valid CSS badge. Then, people proudly display all their badges on their web site.

While this is all fine, we're already starting to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of these badges available that one can receive. Some weblogs have 20 or more. Here's an idea. Rather than put all these badges on your main page, why don't we create a separate file we can list all of our badges in? Then, one can link to it from a weblog using a link tag, so visitors or search tools can find all the supported badges.

For example, the badge file might look like that below. I used RDF here since it is metadata after all, and it would also be easier to combine into a FOAF file.

<rdf:Description about="http://www.example.com/weblog">
  <badge type="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/"
         dc:title="RSS 1.0"
  <badge type="http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/"
         dc:title="HTML 4.01"/>
  <badge type="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/"
         dc:title="Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0"/>

You could even stick the icon URLs in the file. This might make it suitable for display in an info panel in a browser. A Firebird extension could easily be created for such a purpose.

Then, weblog visitors don't have to load all these badges when they visit a weblog. They just load the badge file if needed. Search tools could index what badges people have, and gather a list of people with certain ones.

One disadvantage is that if one was to remove the RSS link, users and tools would need to download the badge file and then separately download the RSS file, a two step process that previously was one. For RSS (or its successors), it might be more convenient to leave it in a link tag as well.