Jraphics Interchange Format

Why are gifs still a thing? If I want to watch a full-screen video with sound on YouTube, i just click it and it starts playing. No buffering, no loading time, no pauses or skipping, it just goes. If we can do that, why the fuck do I still have to wait so long for a low-res, silent animation?

How is there not a better format for embedding looping animations? Why has no one invented that?


  1. You mean something like:

    <video controls="false" loop="true">
    <source src="a_video_file.mp4">
    (Text to show if a browser doesn't support the video tag.)

    1. Possibly. So here's the question: Why are people still using gifs?

    2. Because you can post them in places where you're allowed to use the <img> tag but not the <video> tag, or because people don't know how to embed video, or because it's the one animated format you can almost guarantee any graphical browser can and will play.

    3. Oh, and as a follow-up to this: the GIF format is slow and widely available because it's pretty much the second-dumbest animation format you could think of: a list of included images with how long to display each one for.

      Modern video formats include things like only encoding the differences between frames, separating the visible region into blocks to make compression faster and more efficient, and sophisticated compression algorithms to make the resulting data as small as possible. They use more processing power, but you have lots of that anyway.

      Or to put it another way: by analogy, h264 is to GIF what an MP3 is to a WAV file compressed with something like 7zip.