A png is a graphic format, used mostly on the web, but gaining popularity all over the place.  pngs have some really cool features (most notably semi-transparency, allowing for true drop shadows), but most of them are not supported by MSIE.

There comes a time in every developers life when he (or she) chooses to stop developing for platforms that have become obsolete.  For me, I stopped caring about Netscape 4.0 about a year ago.  No-one really uses it for daily browsing.  It still shows up in my logs once in a while, so do N3, N2, and N1, but I can only imagine people are just testing, or messing around.  I still do.

I’d really like to use the extra features of pngs, but I can’t most places, since MSIE, an officially obsolete (in a "nolonger useful" sense) browser still has a high number of users.  I was looking at my stats for this blog today though, and noticed something interesting:

March 2005 (as of the 18th)
62.03%  Netscape
18.60%  MSIE

February 2005
43.97%  Netscape
35.72%  MSIE

Netscape includes all versions ever, so Mozilla, Firefox, etc.  That’s a huge separation from the norm.  My blog is mostly read by my friends, or people that know me, and those people are typically educated in good Internet Software.

For that reason I think I’m going to start using pngs more, with the alpha transparency.  For those of you still using MSIE, I’m sorry if it looks wonky, but you should upgrade to a modern browser anyway.

UPDATE: Ked showed me this page which has a fix.

2 thoughts on “To png, or not to png?

  1. You’ll be glad to know that IE 7.0, which will be released in beta form this summer, and maybe in full form late this year, will support PNGs. However, M$ still refuses to support CSS2, as they call it “flawed”. Go figure…

  2. Even non-tech sites (like John Piper, the preacher) are moving away from writing for IE. This is from the page source at

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