of LZW and CRLI

okay i believe all of us have seen pictures using the CRLI (Consecutive Run Length Insertion) compression, but might not have known it was called that. Zeldman in his book Taking Your Talent to the Web mentions the following…

In 1995, when 14.4 modems prevailed, some clever web designers began masking every other horizontal line in an image to maximize LZW compression and minimize bandwidth. This technique of masking images with evenly spaced horizontal lines is know as CRLI compression (www.inforhiway.com/faster/crli.html).

What started out as a bandwidth-oriented tool had become a stylish design fetish by the late 1990s, as newcomers to the field fell in love with the CRLI “look” without understanding its utilitarian purpose as a tool of bandwidth compression. To designers, stripes were “webby”, and “webby” was cool. As the Web exploded into public consciousness, consumers and ad agencies seemed to agree with this link between “Web” and “cool”. The ever-popular striped effect was soon seen not only all over the Web, but also in print and television.

~ excerpt from Jeffrey Zeldman‘s Taking Your Talent to the Web

I strongly recommend this book.

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