Friday, January 25th, 2008

Animated PNG in Firefox 3

Category: UI

Firefox 3 has support for Animated PNG:

One of many new features added to Firefox 3 is the support of a new file format, the Animated PNG! Browsers have supported animated GIFs for more than a decade, but the GIF image format has a number of limitations and is overdue for replacement. The PNG image format is now widely accepted as a superior replacement for static GIF images, but for animated GIFs there has not yet been a clear successor. The new Animated PNG format (APNG) is a simple extension to PNG, making it superior for animations too.
-Justin Dolske

There are some fun examples, if you can fire up FF3:

Hopefully we don’t get too much abuse of animated images like we did when animated gifs came around.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 5:58 am

3.9 rating from 31 votes


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Opera 9.5 has got APNG support for a while now but it didn’t get the press Firefox is getting. I wonder why…

Comment by mrmass — January 25, 2008

it’s not very useful if firefox is the only browser that has it.

but it is nice to see that animated png is finally getting some push.

Comment by jaimz — January 25, 2008

mrmass: ‘coz all the cool kids use Firefox.

jaimz: Hello!? Opera 9.5 supports APNG

Comment by p01 — January 25, 2008

Great, now we will have to wait 3-5 years until we are able to use this cross-browser. Yay for Firefox to push things up a notch!

Comment by Marc — January 25, 2008

Why APNG and not MNG, I wonder…?

Comment by Jerome — January 25, 2008

@Jerome: PNG format is already supported in all browsers, MNG is not. Only the first frame of the animated PNG will be shown if the browser doesn’t support animated PNG’s.

Comment by Jeria — January 25, 2008

PNG is good and it’s great to see this kind of developments in the front. But don’t forget the good ol GIF either – some suffer from Pngitis and do everything with PNG, which is not necessarily the optimal solution file-size wise. Not to mention that it’s a major pain to get it working properly in IE6.

Comment by Jani — January 25, 2008

Well, haven’t heard too much development in the front of APNG / MNG lately… looked like a dead project half a year ago…

Besides, animation could be done in javascript nowadays, at least, this is which goes to sprites.

Do we really need .png banners?:)

Comment by Adam Nemeth — January 25, 2008

@Jani: Can you give an example where GIF and PNG are remotely different file sizes for the same image? I’m guessing no, since to my understanding they operate extremely similarly, especially in non alpha modes. Add to that: GIF is encumbered by patents/trolls. Also, PNGs of the non-alpha variety have identical support in IE. I can’t think of a single reason to say GIF > PNG, to be honest.

Comment by knewter — January 25, 2008

Opera has it, Firefox has it, now let’s just wait for IE 10 to imlement it:)

Comment by Suknie — January 26, 2008

I’m one of the contributers of the APNG project and founder of the site. I’m happy to see people are discussing this topic all over the web…this is of many posts I have come across in the past 2 days since we launched the site.

We are aware of the limitations this technology currently has, however it is new. We are trying to collect data to see where we can improve the ANG format. The main goal of this site is to promote open source within the design community, and developing awareness of this new format amongst web designers/developers, not to dismiss that APNG can’t be used with proprietary software.

We are working on many additions to the site including sample submission, bug reporting, and tutorials. We would like to see where else APNG’s can be used other than banners, nav interfaces, buttons, bg’s, etc…

We welcome all feedback and suggestions.

Comment by BrotherBrendan — January 26, 2008

BrotherBrendan: Nice site but it would be nice if it reflected the truth about support of APNG and did not sound and look so much like a buzz site for Firefox. :\

Comment by p01 — January 26, 2008

Which software can create animated PNGs? Creation support is at least as important as browser support. If I’m going to create animated PNGs I need support from professional software that fits into my workflow (ie CS2).

The advantages of animated PNGs are small, who even uses animated gifs these days, so if they are ever going take off creating them had better be simple or people just won’t bother.

Comment by edeverett — January 27, 2008

BrotherBrendan: Much better. I’m still puzzled by site’s endorsment, on the home page, of Firefox 2 : a browser that do NOT support APNG. Wouldn’t it serve APNG better if you linked to ALL software that DO support APNG ? including KSquirrel and XNView.

Comment by p01 — January 28, 2008

It always strikes me as strange.

When opera has something new, inovative and usefull .. there is silence.
But when firefox adds it too , its on the first page.

Ehh …

Comment by mefisto — January 28, 2008

The animated gif of web2.0?

Please, this is a simple fad. It won’t last very long, considering only the developer version of Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 has implented it. That makes up about 0.3% of the market share.

And if IE does end up implementing it, I can see animated PNG banners spreading across every website on the World Wide Web. I can see potential, I’m just afraid of the consquinces.

Comment by mattk — January 29, 2008

Sorry about the mis-spellings. My keyboard sucks at school!

Comment by mattk — January 29, 2008

This is cool and all, but as others said, this won’t get much more popularity than animated .gif’s are getting today. I guess it can be used to replace some unneeded Flash navigations, but either way, it’s not a huge breakthrough. Especially since Opera’s had it for a while.

Comment by musicfreak — March 20, 2008

@Jeria: “PNG format is already supported in all browsers, MNG is not.” Yeah, well the same thing can be said of APNG, can’t it?

“Only the first frame of the animated PNG will be shown if the browser doesn’t support animated PNG’s.” That’s a rather pathetic consolation given that the bloody thing still fails to animate. If something fails, I DO NOT want it to fail silently. I want to KNOW it failed and WHY. APNG deprives me of that notification.

Comment by PacoBell — March 19, 2009

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