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Chapter 3. Working with Images > Image Formats for the Web

Image Formats for the Web

For many years only two image formats were supported by Web browsers: GIF and JPEG. Today, a third option, known as PNG, has been added. Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses, which we'll review here, and then we'll take a quick tour of several popular image-editing tools.

GIF Images

The most common format used for non-photographic images is GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). GIF is a bit-map image format, meaning that the image is "mapped" pixel by pixel. The information in the bit-map can be compressed when neighboring pixels have the same color values, using what's essentially a form of digital shorthand. This allows the resulting image file to be considerably smaller when stored, saving space on the Web server and bandwidth when the image is delivered to the site visitor.


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