Is old, span-based method of rendering ActionColumn's button still supported?

Or is using FontAwesome 5 free svg icons the only working way right now?

I wanted to modify some buttons in my ActionColumn using the “old” span-based way. There are number of topics and solutions about that (here, here or here) which basically narrows down to using this code:

'buttons' => [
    'view' => function ($url, $model) {
        return Html::a('<span class="glyphicon glyphicon-eye-open"></span>', $url, [
            'title' => Yii::t('app', 'View'),
    'update' => function ($url, $model) {
        return Html::a('<span class="glyphicon glyphicon-pencil"></span>', $url, [
            'title' => Yii::t('app', 'Update'),

For some reason unknown for me this simply isn’t working.

I am getting a correctly (I think so) rendered HTML code:

<td class="align-middle">
    <a href="/comp/proj/app/web/user/view?id=9" title="View">
        <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-eye-open"></span>
    <a href="/comp/proj/app/web/user/update?id=9" title="Update">
        <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-pencil"></span>

But nothing actually gets rendered (for the reason unknown to me):


As you can see, only {delete} button gets rendered. And it happens (in my opinion) only because ActionColumn uses new FontAvesome 5’s svg-based approach for rendering it:

<a href="/comp/proj/app/web/user/delete?id=9" title="Delete" aria-label="Delete" data-pjax="0" data-method="post" data-confirm="Are you sure that you want to delete this user?">
    <svg aria-hidden="true" style="display:inline-block;font-size:inherit;height:1em;overflow:visible;vertical-align:-.125em;width:.875em" xmlns="" viewBox="0 0 448 512">
        <path fill="currentColor" d="M32 464a48 48 0 0048 48h288a48 48 0 0048-48V128H32zm272-256a16 16 0 0132 0v224a16 16 0 01-32 0zm-96 0a16 16 0 0132 0v224a16 16 0 01-32 0zm-96 0a16 16 0 0132 0v224a16 16 0 01-32 0zM432 32H312l-9-19a24 24 0 00-22-13H167a24 24 0 00-22 13l-9 19H16A16 16 0 000 48v32a16 16 0 0016 16h416a16 16 0 0016-16V48a16 16 0 00-16-16z"></path>

So, my question here is: what am I missing or why the “old” approach of using <span> element for rendering ActionColumn’s buttons isn’t working anymore?

I’m not sure (@community: correct me) but it could be related to license change what happened some time ago. Now to Glypicon icon sets are commercial ones. If you have proper licence installing it should be pretty easy, it’s a matter of register some assets probably.
Continue the topic if we should help you with installation in details.

I wasn’t aware that Font Awesome went commercial. But that explains much (all?). The <span> approach is still valid, but icons are not drawn due to missing assets.

No, thanks, I won’t be using separate assets, I’ll rewrite my code to use <svg> tag only. I think there are many on-line services out there than can do on-the-fly conversion of provided .png into vector, for using it as a part of <svg> tag.

The only last question (since I am a total newbie into using vectors in websites) – can such images be changed (colors etc) using regular Bootstrap 5’s classes like .text-secondary or above mentioned .disabled class etc.? Or must I have two separate <svg> images prepared, one to depict active state and second to depict disabled state?

Yes, it can. Colors are pretty straightforward but disable it is a bit harder as links cannot be disabled IMO in Bootstrap. You can achieve it that way (my working example):

'class' => 'text-danger btn btn-link disabled p-0'

.btn .btn-link are needed here to being able to .disable link.
.p-0 is a hack to cancel extra padding being normally added to buttons.

Could consider using Bootstrap icons:

Install them:

composer require twbs/bootstrap-icons

// Add them in your app in the @app/assets/AppAsset.php

use  yii\bootstrap5\BootstrapIconAsset;

public $depends = [
	// optional, Bootstrap icons

You could then:

<i class="bi bi-alarm" style="font-size: 1.2rem;color: red;"</i>

Using the CSS style, you can enlarge and change the icons colors.

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