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Cover image for Safari 14 ships webp support. Are we nearing the end of PNG on the web?

Safari 14 ships webp support. Are we nearing the end of PNG on the web?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

One thing that really stood out to me in the Safari 14 Release Notes was support for webp.

webp is a much more compact image format than PNG, but it offers a lot of the features we need from PNG such as transparency. Webp also has animation support, and is all around a much more advanced image format for the web than some of its predecessors. Safari was very slow to the game.

In most cases webp is also a better option than jpeg. Progressive jpeg, which offers more pleasant rendering options, may still be the right choice in some cases, but in general we may be done with the need to serve different formats to different browsers.

DEV renders webp to Chrome and Firefox, but not to Safari. We save terabytes of expensive bandwidth this way, but the complexity required to render different formats is something we'd be happy to do away with. So I am very happy about this.

Happy coding ❤️

Discussion

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Ben Halpern Author

Safari catching up here makes it that much less appealing to continue supporting IE.

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Sharad Raj (He/Him)

Add animation to comment likes as well 🤣.

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Ben Halpern Author

@pp will have some comment updates coming soon enough 😊

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Andy Piper

I'm impressed you're still doing that. Isn't MS pushing Chromium-based Edge to basically everyone, now - capable of running it, that is...

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Tim Downey

We save terabytes of expensive bandwidth this way, but the complexity required to render different formats is something we'd be happy to do away with.

On one hand I'm sure that practically everyone who uses this site is using a modern browser that will support webp images and in practice no one (or very few people) will be impacted. But on the other hand it feels like only providing webp images may leave some folks behind. From a digital preservation standpoint providing jpegs just feels good cause it's like so unlikely to ever go obsolete as a format. Ancient computers support it and you can pretty much guarantee future ones will continue to support it.

Like I think there's a reason archives still default to JPEG.

Like I said, probably doesn't matter for Dev and it's user base, but it's interesting to think about from a digital preservation standpoint IMO. 😅

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Ben Halpern Author

That's a very good point! Thanks for bringing this to the discussion.

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Paulius Varna

Using lossy image format for preservation?

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Tim Downey

It's less about perfectly preserving the quality of the original and more about ensuring that the data remains decipherable.

Like if you're archiving something that contains charts, a pixel perfect image of the chart is no good if your device can't read the file format. But if it's a JPEG chances are you can still render and understand what it has despite any lossiness.

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Dan Fockler

This one kind of depends on how the tooling for handling images changes. I haven't used many of them, but they will need to work seamlessly with webp files so that users can create, view, and export them easily. Until then I think PNG will stick around.

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Ali Sherief

It really depends on the image quality of WebP.

JPG is much more compressed than PNG so artifacts and blurriness in pictures is much bigger on JPG than on PNG, when you view the pictures at full size. If WebP has the same quality as PNG then I think it will be very beneficial for everyone to at least offer WebP as a fallback image option, because let's face it, you can't really extinguish PNG. Just look at how enduring the GIF format is for proof.

Similar to how Youtube offers WebM/VP9 videos for browsers along with MP4 in case a browser doesn't support one of them, although in this case we will see more of "Offer WebP first, if that fails, then fall back to PNG".

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saint4eva

Are there people who still use safari?

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Ben Halpern Author

iPhone is still the most popular smartphone. Safari desktop isn't getting you very far but iPhone is still big.

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saint4eva

I thought Samsung & Huawei and Android are the most popular? Notwithstanding, iPhone is still big. Thanks

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saint4eva

I thought Samsung & Huawei and Android are the most popular? Notwithstanding, iPhone is still big.

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Tommy Williams

Web stats on the sites we run show that mobile Safari is the biggest browser in use, well ahead of all versions of Chrome combined (desktop + Android) which is the second most popular.

So regardless of market share, we see a lot more traffic and users on mobile Safari.

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Daniel Ziltener

Seriously? WebP support now, just as we see AVIF on the horizon? WebP is pretty crappy...

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Ankit Beniwal 🙂

i was wondering why WebP is crappy? Can you please elaborate about it?

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Ben Halpern Author

Yeah, this is only great news because expectations for Apple are so low. If they'd introduced this years ago along with the other browsers, we'd already be talking about the next formats.

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Rémy 🤖

I would definitely not target PNG as the first victim, JPEG is outdated and needs to die. Give it another 10 years :)

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Paulius Varna

I don't know about you. But webp images on my Safari 14 doesn't work yet.

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Adam Crockett

🎉🥳

What was apples format called again?

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Mubar Dauda

Thank you sir

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Alan Dávalos

For me this was amazing news, especially on animations, animated webp are remarkably smaller than apng

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Anjanesh Lekshminarayanan

How do I get Safari 14 on macOS Mojave ?