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File Extension PNG

What is a Portable Network Graphics File?

The PNG file extension is an acronym that means Portable Network Graphics. This file extension was developed as an alternative to the GIF image format. Their main difference is that the file extension .png does not have a patent. The format can be developed and used by other programmers.

Files with the .png file extension use greyscale, palette-supported, or red green and blue-based colors. The file extension PNG was created for images that will be sent over the Internet. It was not developed for high resolution or professional images. This is why files with the PNG file extension could not use complex color structures.

The PNG Development Group released the file extension PNG in 1996. The group is composed of volunteer programmers. They created the PNG file extension when the company Unysis patented the compression method used to create the .gif file extension. The group also wanted to improve on the GIF format. GIF files can use only 256 colors. The PNG file extension was developed so that a similar format can use more than 256 colors. Unlike the GIF format, the PNG file extension was not developed to hold animation. The group developed an accompanying format called MNG for animated images.

Files with the .png file extension have a signature made up of 8 bytes. The format uses each byte to prepare and tell the program that the file is in the PNG format. The rest of the file contains chunks. Chunks can be either necessary or supplementary. A program that does not understand the auxiliary chunks can ignore them. This structure was implemented by the PNG Development Group so that the format can be updated yet still remain compatible with the early versions. Necessary chunks use a capital letter for the first letter. The first word in an unnecessary chunk uses a small capital letter. The critical chunks of a file with the PNG file extension are the: palette, header, image (can be stored in several chunks) and the end.

The Fireworks program also uses the file extension. Macromedia developed the program. Adobe Systems, Inc later purchased Macromedia. The program is a bitmap and vector graphics editor. The program uses the PNG file format as the default for saving files.

The Jasc Software developed Paint Shop Pro also uses the .png file extension. The PNG file extension is used to store the browser catalog of the program.


PNG Development Group (Portable Network Graphics), Macromedia, Jasc Software

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