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Chapter 16. PNG Format > Platform/Browser Support

16.1. Platform/Browser Support

PNG was designed to be network-friendly, so naturally it is recognized and supported on all platforms. PNG does not enjoy universal support by browsers, however, particularly by the Big Two. Initially, in Navigator and Internet Explorer, PNGs could only be handled as embedded objects (placed with the <embed> tag) and viewed with plug-ins such as PNG Live. Eventually, PNGs became supported as inline images (placed with the <img> tag, like any other web graphic) in Navigator 4.04 and IE 4.0, however, they do not support alpha channel transparency or gamma correction without an additional plug-in.

There are a handful of lesser-known browsers that do offer PNG support in all its glory. However, at the time of this writing, because of PNG's lack of browser support, they are not yet viable options for use on standard commercial web pages. All indications show that support is growing, and PNG could become the web standard it was designed to be. Table 16.1 indicates PNG support as of this writing by a number of popular browsers (plus Arena, which has exceptional PNG support, but is not in widespread use).


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