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GIF's are back

14th March, 2016 by Steve F

Animated GIF's were loved in the early days of the internet... the ability to have an eye catching animation on your web page rather than just boring static text and graphics, was to many just amazing. Invented in 1987 by Steve Wilhite at CompuServe the GIF gave us a file format for short sequences that could be looped to continuously play.... one of the biggest debates was how to pronounce it - do you say it like 'gift' with a hard G or like 'jif' with a soft G.
After not too long the GIF fell out of favour - they became "so 1980's", and were replaced with more sophisticated sequences created using Flash.

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However recently the GIF has been making a comeback. Those Flash files have now tended to become tarred and associated with pop-up cookie laden adverts on web pages, sometimes rudely playing audio when you don't want them to. The GIF would never do that - they don't force a pre-roll advertisement on you before you can watch it, it won't plant a tracking cookie on your machine so companies can flog ads at you. As user experiences go, the GIF is a nice clean simple file.
Social media has also played a part in this re-birth. The likes of Giphy and Boomerang (Instagram) encouraging you to create that short burst of animation for the world to see.
On an artistic level the subtle effects of some of the GIF's on this page have a certain quirkiness and create a fascinating glimpse of tiny moving elements in a frozen world. You should note that some of the GIF's here originate from videos... but do you really care, so long as the end result looks 'cool'!

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And by the way, pronunciation of GIF is with a soft G so it should be jif.
(In the CompuServe documentation for version 8.33 in the FAQ section, it states:
The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), pronounced "JIF"...)

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