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Using animated PNG files
by Mike Slocombe
Q: Most of the images I want to display on my website are vector based. I'm currently using JPG/GIF files, but what woukd be the best format for future use?
I've considered Flash and PDF but I don't like the idesa of people having to download proprietary software to see my images.
I know that W3C has established a standard for vectors but what do you think would be the most likely browser standard for showing graphics in the near future?
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) enables the creation of resolution and media-independent graphics in a text-based format.
SVG can be used to describe two-dimensional graphics in XML, allowing for three types of graphic objects: vector graphic shapes (e.g., paths consisting of straight lines and curves), images and text. The SVG specification includes support for CSS, scripting and animation, integrating tightly technologies like XHTML, XSL and XSLT, XLink and DOM.
Although SVG can produce highly sophisticated and interactive vector illustrations (see http://www.adobe.com/svg/ for stunning examples), it is not suitable for rendering bitmap images like photographs, which are more suitable for the JPEG or PNG formats.
There's a lot of excitement about SVG at the moment (although that's no guarantee of its success!), but with the support of the major industry players, its future would appear bright.
Adobe is heavily involved in the SVG working group, and has announced that it intends to integrate SVG into its suite of graphics applications while offering Netscape and Internet Explorer plug-ins at http://www.adobe.com/svg/
With both Netscape and Microsoft participating in the group, there's a good chance that full SVG support will soon be installed by default on both browsers (latest versions of both browsers already offer built in support for Flash).
As for which format is better, it very much depends on your needs as both have far too many strengths and weaknesses to list here!
SVG vs Flash: