Transparent PNGs & Webdesign

During a left-hand webdesign project at work today, I was once again reminded how much time I would save if I was able to use transparent PNG graphics, not having to find all sorts of workarounds.

PNG, like GIF, is a graphics file format that supports transparency. The difference from GIF being that it supports semi-transparent pixels, so you could, for instance, create a soft drop-shadow over a tiled background.

Now that Internet Explorer 7, which supports transparent PNGs, is being pushed to consumers—the remaining browsers already supporting it—PNGs will eventually become viable for web use. I know some early adopters have already ditched IE6, and that’s fine for personal sites, but when can we convince clients that PNGs are great?

6 thoughts on “Transparent PNGs & Webdesign”

  1. I’m not sure how seriously you’re asking, but there’s a relatively easy-to-use hack that lets you use transparent PNGs in IE6. Check out http://www.detroitdiesel.com/ – a site we did at my work – In standards-compliant browsers, the PNGs display fine. Then we have an iebugs.css file that runs the proprietary MS filter that makes the PNGs display as intended. It’s working great for us.

  2. Joen says:

    I do know of that PNG transparency filter, but in my experience it’s slow, unstable, and doesn’t work for CSS backgrounds (only IMG tags). So for most of the things I do, i.e. setting up the ground-work for the websites, I can’t use it.

    So I guess my question is more like a “when has IE7 been deployed on enough computers that we can say, hey, PNGs are fine”.

    Edit: Oh, and I’d prefer they’d go for a different browser than IE, but try telling that to a client.

  3. Mark Jaquith says:

    when can we convince clients that PNGs are great?

    Soon, IE7 will be pushed to XP users, and Vista will have it pre-installed. Within a year or two, I’ll be giving IE6 the finger for good.

  4. Joen says:

    Soon, IE7 will be pushed to XP users, and Vista will have it pre-installed. Within a year or two, I?ll be giving IE6 the finger for good.

    Sigh, a whole year. I was hoping 6 months, but my gut feeling is saying a year too.

  5. gareth says:

    hmm.. a year? six months? seems pretty optimistic to me, for clients sites at least. For a site like noscope i would start doing it right away.

  6. Joen says:

    For a site like noscope i would start doing it right away.

    Oh sure, I have no problems adopting PNGs. But for Noscope I’m not particularly missing PNGs – much in the same way I don’t miss drop shadows here either 🙂

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