Burn all (animated) GIFs

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Burn all (animated) GIFs

Published by on September 20th 2014.

It is now over 15 years since the 'Burn all GIFs' movement started. The events that lead to the movement were a prime example of why software patents do more harm than good. The positive thing that came out of it was the spread of the patent-free PNG image format.

But wait, there are still many GIF images used on the web. While PNG images were a great replacement for still GIF images, there was no suitable replacement for animated GIF images. And to be frank, there still isn't one today. That is at least 15 years later. Considering how much more advanced the web sites (& web browsers) are now, isn't it strange that there still is not an universally agreed file format for simple semitransparent animations for use on the web?

Personally, I do not have a good explanation for that. Demonstrably, there is a need for these animations. This very web site needs such an animated image format to correctly display the previews of the cursors in the cursor library. Yet, there is not one that would work in the 3 major web browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome).

Animated images in current browsers

IE only supports GIFs and nothing more, not surprising. Firefox supports GIFs and animated PNGs. Chrome supports GIFs and animated WebP images.

What should a web designer do in this situation? Just stick with GIFs and accept their limitations? (That would be max. of 256 colors and no smooth transparency.) Or prepare the graphic resources in 3 separate formats and serve a different file depending on what web browser is the user having? Well, if you want maximum quality, the later is your only option.

If you are a web designer, maybe you should do something about that. Maybe let Google, Mozilla and Microsoft know, that this situation is unacceptable.

Some related announcements

I have prepared a couple of command line tools for converting GIFs to APNG or WebP. They are gif2apng, gif2webp, apng2webp and webp2apng. Each of them can convert all files in given folder to another format and thus simplify production of your graphic resources.

I have also updated some codecs for RWPaint and RWPhotos. They are still being tested and will appear in the future version, but you can get them here: RWCodecImagePNG.dll, RWCodecImageGIF.dll and RWCodecImageWebP.dll.

The updated PNG codec automatically select what color format to use and the result is very close to what you can obtain with specialized tools for PNG size reduction. The codec offers the option to use the Zopfli compression algorithm. Turning that option on will produce smaller files, but it may take several seconds to encode an image.

Recent comments

user icon Anonymous on October 8th 2014

Thank you, those tools will br helpful to me.
BTW, you've got a "forlder" in the ppst body.

user icon Anonymous
What about ICL files?
I wish there were...
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