The PNG Guide is an eBook based on Greg Roelofs' book, originally published by O'Reilly.

The Future?

MNG's development has not been the same success story that PNG's was, primarily due to a lesser interest in and need for a new animation format. Especially with the advent of the World Wide Web, people from many different walks of life have direct experience with ordinary images, and, in particular, they are increasingly aware of various limitations in formats such as GIF and JPEG. All of this worked (and continues to work) in PNG's favor. But when it comes to multi-image formats and animation, not only do these same people have much less experience, what need they do have for animation is largely met by the animated GIF format that Netscape made so popular. Animated GIFs may not be the answer to all of the world's web problems, but they're good enough 99% of the time. All of this, of course, works against MNG.

In addition, MNG is decidedly complex; objects may be modified by other objects, loops may be nested arbitrarily deeply, and so on. While it is debatable whether MNG is too complex - certainly there are some who feel it is - even its principal author freely admits that fully implementing the current draft specification is a considerable amount of work.

On the positive side, animated GIFs often can be rewritten as MNG animations in a tiny fraction of the file size, and there are no patent-fee barriers to implementing MNG in applications. Moreover, the Multiple-image Network Graphics format is making progress, both as a mature specification and as a supported format in real applications, and versions released since March 1999 now include implementor-friendly subsets known as MNG-LC and MNG-VLC (for Low Complexity and Very Low Complexity, respectively). Its future looks good.

Last Update: 2010-Nov-26