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PNG Support

Posted on 2001-08-27
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Last Modified: 2013-12-25
My research indicates that PNG is supported by Netscape and IE browsers, versions 4 and higher.

Does anyone out there have experience that supports or contradicts this across multiple operating systems? I also am interested in any comments about the general ability to render PNG graphics by the software in use by the populace at large.

Thank you,
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Question by:awalters
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by:weed
ID: 6429963
PNG is NOT supported by IE on Windows platforms but IS supported by IE on Mac. Otherwise NS supports it all the way across. Also, some of the browsers may support PNG but dont support alpha channels in PNG files which is really the only reason one would use a PNG. When MS gets its act together and impliments PNG supports for IE windows then it will be worth using it on a wider basis.
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Snazzy_Graphics earned 100 total points
ID: 6430374
You can view PNG in both NN and IE on pc. It's the lack alpha trans that is missing. In IE, even index based trans is quirky--so that about makes it useless--until that is fixed, you'll still want to reach for a gif. There's some other problems in IE too, adding to the quirks.

Netscape handles it a little better, but has quirks too. But who's using Netscape?

Native support is the issue--you can have your visitors install various plugs which get past these problems.

The IE 6 beta doesn't fix anything with PNG, so M$ apparently doesn't really care about the issue.

I've been interested in PNG for years because it encodes gamma in the image. This is really important for cross platform issues and some projects with scientific and medical imaging for the web. Also you get past the legal stuff with gif's.

This is the spot for full info:

http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/

(There's also a good mail list and usenet group).

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Expert Comment

by:DCS092999
ID: 6434029
As other experts said above, PNG support in the two big browsers has been incomplete.  Technically, versions 4+ may display PNG's on a web page, but without all of the advancements over the GIF format and also often unreliably.  The site Snazzy mentioned is the online authority on the format.  A few other things to note:

A good site to test individual browsers for alpha transparency and gamma correction support:
http://www.w3.org/Graphics/PNG/
(IE 5 and Opera 5 for PC failed this test, and NN 4.75 failed it even worse.  I've read that NN 6 supports alpha transparency well, maybe someone else can verify that one?)

Also, a quirky thing about IE 4 for PC is that it won't display standalone PNG images, only PNG's on an html page.  And MSIE 5 for PC won't reliably display standalone PNG's on all PC's, or may display them on screen but fail to print them.
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Author Comment

by:awalters
ID: 6435284
Thanks for the excellent information and the link.
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Expert Comment

by:Snazzy_Graphics
ID: 6435795
Glad it helped. Just wish they'd fix this--great format.
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