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Native PNG support in Notes rich text - shhh

Wed 5 Oct 2011, 04:40 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
A lot of people over the years have asked why Notes doesn't support PNG graphics. After all, PNG as a format has been used more and more in web applications, and it would be cool to support alpha-transparency and such in the Notes client. Unfortunately, it appeared that IBM was not listening.

Maybe they were listening after all. They simply weren't talking. After all, why not support PNG graphics, but make it very difficult for anybody to use them or import them? That way... actually, I have no idea why they would do it, but it appears they have. You can use PNG graphics as image resources if you manually force them to pretend to be something else. You can also use them natively if the rich text starts as MIME and is converted to rich text. Neither is easy or convenient. I am adding this to Midas to make it easy and convenient for people using that toolkit, but I may write it as an import filter as well, just to make it accessible to users. Why can't IBM do that? (No, it's not in 8.5.3 either.)

Let me give a simple example of how much difference it makes to use a PNG graphic natively versus imported and converted to JPEG. Over on OpenNTF, there are a series of company logos. I tried this on several, and all showed some degradation on importing, sometimes severe. Here is one obvious example:

Inline JPEG image

Obviously, the native format (which is what Midas imports into) is more appealing, but it goes further than that. Let me take the same document and change the background to a patterned image:

Inline JPEG image

That transparency is key. But don't tell anybody, or they might realize how powerful rich text is. We can't have that!

Copyright 2011 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

999.1. Jesper Kiaer
(10/05/2011 10:35 PM)

My experience is that you can, as you say, fake PNG in image resources, but if you have older pre version 8 clients that will always crash the clients.

Yes it is very annoying the Notes client 8.5.x does not support properly, IBM fix it!

999.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(10/05/2011 10:46 PM)

From what I hear, it sounds likely that they will make it easier to add PNG image resources. No guarantees, but likely. It sounds a bit less likely, or farther out on the horizon, that they will enable proper import of PNG graphics. So, for now, I'll finish adding the support to our Midas Rich Text LSX and post a couple posts on how to do it without Midas going through the correct hoops.