How did I find out about FLIF
Recently I was reading Wikimedia Foundation mailing lists and found interesting discussion where Wikimedia Developers talked about advantages and disadvantages of FLIF image format. I haven't heard about this format before, so I decided to find out more and write about it here.
What is FLIF?
FLIF stands for Free Lossless Image Format.
Why is it better than other lossless image formats? FLIF is more efficient at compressing than PNG, lossless WebP, lossless BPG, lossless JPEG2000 and lossless JPEG XR. It works for any types of images: "FLIF does away with knowing what image format performs the best at any given task".
It is also progressive, so it can be used in low-bandwidth situations.
Another interesting thing as for me is responsiveness of this format: FLIF image can be loaded in different 'variations' from the same source file, by loading the file only partially (this is useful for responsive web design). Animations are supported too!
This is the best part of this format. It is free and the license is LGPL. It is completely royalty-free and it is not known to be encumbered by software patents.
The main disadvantage now is that this browsers do not support this new format.
Most image viewing / editing software does not support this format too.
It is actively requested by the community, so hopefully there will be more support
for this format in the future.
Another thing to think about is resources consumption during decoding (CPU and memory), which is really important too.
Those are the reasons why this format can't be used widely (including in Mediawiki). Developers on Wikimedia mailing list said that support of this format on Mediawiki doesn't seem to be worth it.
You can play a bit with FLIF at https://uprootlabs.github.io/poly-flif/ (that demo is using polyfill, so browser flif support is not required).
Personally, I have never heard about this image format before. Unluckily, it can't be used now because of lack of native browser support but let's hope everything will change in the future!