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PC Magazine: PC Tech: Bitmaps and Vectors: Web Graphics Evolve

May 21, 1999, 14:46 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by William Robert Stane)


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"Images used for the Web have not kept pace with other aspects of Web technology, but improvements are emerging, in the form of PNG files and vector graphics formats."

"In 1995, a controversy erupted over the use of GIFs when Unisys Corp., which owns the LZW compression the format used, and CompuServe, which licensed it, decided programs implementing GIF would have to pay royalties. That controversy sparked the development of a new, improved format: PNG (Portable Network Graphics). Created by an informal Internet working group and adopted by the W3C in 1996, PNG was designed to meet or exceed GIF's capabilities, to be easy to implement, and to be completely portable. It is royalty-free with full source code publicly available. The specification was updated to Version 1.1 in December 1998, bringing improvements for gamma and color correction as well as clarification of key features."

"PNG supports indexed color, true 48-bit color images, and 16-bit gray-scale images, as well as a fairly advanced two-dimensional interlacing method called Adam7, which displays an image progressively in seven stages and is much more powerful than the four-stage method used with interlaced GIFs. As a result, progressive PNGs appear to display faster and become intelligible sooner than interlaced GIFs."

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