Originally, web images could only be in GIF format. The GIF image format was created by CompuServe in 1987 to make it possible for images to be viewed while online, so it was well suited to the Internet. GIF images can have only up to 256 colors each. This limitation caused the major browser vendors to add support for JPEG images in 1995. The JPEG format was created by a group of photographic experts to store full-color-spectrum, continuous-tone images. These images, when properly created, can be of much higher fidelity as well as more highly compressed than a GIF encoding of the same source image. Another file format is PNG. It too is an alternative to GIF. In almost all cases, you will never care or notice which format is being used in your programs. The Java image classes abstract the differences behind a clean interface.
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