Thursday, February 28, 2008

RLE versus ALE - A tale of two woes.... HTML embedding of images and support possibilities review


ALE: AJAX Linking and Embedding - Zimbra
RLE: Run-Length Encoding

I took some time out to look at both of these concept technologies and have to discount each.

Why? Engaging in a series of searches for a decent cross browser platform technology that allows image compaction and bundling for web browsers leads to a lot of dead ends. I have looked at IE MHT format, FireFox CDF's and cross support is not there. In 1998 IETF RFC 2397 defined the data: URI scheme that has not been adopted by Internet Explorer so that is out as well.

ALE is highly proprietary and platform based even with the Open Source Edition so in essence and IMHO I do not like it.

RLE Demo by Ben Herrera use pix by pix decoded RLE which is cross browser compatible but highly inefficient the larger the image becomes.

RLE is about the closest one could come to sending down a single package of images that comprise all the images for an entire website and it would not be that hard to extend Ben's work into a JSON JavaScript object but again the performance is lacking so it would not be worth the effort.

End Game: Tie - Both lost and there are no performance gains to be found by reducing the number of downloadable page elements. Your best bet is to use GZip/Deflate on your web server side for browsers that will support it and AJAX to deliver the images after the page has downloaded but even this approach means that you must define your image height and width attributes to prevent page element bounce.

Kevin Pirkl

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