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Re: On use cases, was Re: WebP, anyone using it?

From: Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 12:22:27 +0100
To: Jeremy Worboys <jw@jeremyworboys.com>
Cc: public-respimg@w3.org
Message-ID: <4B5DAAE0DC474547AA4F0C5E4E13C929@marcosc.com>



On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM, Jeremy Worboys wrote:

> Thanks for this. It cleared up my thinking on the issue.
>  
> To address some of the points made:
> I personally don't know of any developers embracing either format.
> A reduction in file size (if can be solidly proven) will create a better experience for end-users on low bandwidth devices.
>  
> Is it worth doing some shout outs on Twitter or blogs etc to if there is interest from the developers/content producers to embrace either format in the future?
No, because the answer will by default be "yes". Please see:
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/02/i-repeat-do-not-listen-to-your-users.html  

From the article above, the key thing is "Watch what people actually do."  

The problem is that there is no way not to frame this as a leading question: "Hey, developers! do you want a format that compresses images up to 30% more than JPEG? Oh Hell Yeah you do!:)"

Instead, think more about how PNG became the de facto image format even though IE did not support alpha transparency until IE7. PNG was orders of magnitude better than GIF, and in a lot of cases developers just went "screw it, I'm just going to use them" because of the benefits over GIF and JPEG (I know I did!).  

By 2004 [1], PNGs were everywhere on the Web, which meant that IE users (with the exception of IE for Mac) where getting a bad user experience - a polyfill [5] was created to deal with IE users (remember DXImageTransform.Microsoft.AlphaImageLoader… FTW!). Eventually MS added support  for PNG alpha transparency in April 2005 [4] (presumedly from pressure from content producers and _lots_ of pissed off developers [2] - with over 20,000 signing a petition), but that was long after the floodgates where already open and thousands of sites were making use of PNG (despite IE's lagging behind with support, which is still probably still affecting some users [3]).  

The above is not the case today with WebP or JPEG-XR (there are no armies of developers screaming WebP or JPEG-XR NOW!!!!*). However, if CDNs like Torbit are serving WebP to a significant number of users (e.g., x% of Chrome and Opera users visit sites A,B, and C, and those sites are getting served WebP images, then N% of Web users are experiencing WebP on a daily basis). If N% is, say, above 1% then we may have a case - specially if developers are deliberately seeking out Torbit to make use of their image conversion services as part of the CDN's services.

*… but they are screaming out "RESPONSIVE IMAGES NOW!", which is why we are all gathered here. I encourage people on this list to read [5] to see how much history is repeating itself! It made me laugh how close it resembles today's client/server-side polyfill solutions for responsive images. It means we are on the right track! :)   

[1] http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1645187,00.asp
[2] http://www.petitiononline.com/msiepng/petition.html
[3] http://www.jacklmoore.com/notes/ie-transparency-problems
[4] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2005/04/26/412263.aspx
[5] http://koivi.com/archives/ie-png-transparency/
--  
Marcos Caceres
Received on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 11:23:01 GMT

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