Does Windows 8 support Gif images and Animated Gif images?

To some of us it may sound like a strange question, but developers which are used to Silverlight or Windows Phone development know why I ask this question. In both Silverlight and Windows Phone Gif images aren’t directly supported. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know why. Luckily Silverlight and Windows Phone developers are helped by an open source project called Image Tools which enables support for Gif and Animated Gif.

Windows 8 – HTML5 + JS

For a starter I just downloaded an ordinary gif-image from the internet and with no knowledge about how to add an image to a Windows 8 application I used my web-knowledge.

<img src="/images/window.gif" />

And yes it does work. What about an animated gif? So I recall an interesting animated gif on Shawn Wildermuth’s blog, his head-shot. So without do anything else than changing the source of the image tag I created it started working. A surprise? Not really I already heard that the rendering engine for Windows 8 applications that are build in HTML5 + JS is based on IE, so this is what I did expect.

Windows 8 – XAML + C#

So I used my Silverlight knowledge to do in XAML what I did in HTML5, add an image.

<Image Source="/Images/window.gif" />

A really fast surprise it started working in the design view of the xaml document even before I ran the project. And also after running the application it seems to work perfectly. And the animated gif? It appears in the designer as well, but doesn’t animate in there. Also when running the application the animation doesn’t work.

Just a quick thought: Silverlight doesn’t support gif at all, what about WPF? After some googling it seems that WPF does support gif images, but not really the animated gifs. But there are people who created solutions that should work to enable animated gifs in WPF. So let’s see how much of that is possible in Windows 8.

The solution for WPF makes use of the GifBitmapDecoder which isn’t there in Windows 8. But I found something that sounds similar the BitmapDecoder. I tried to get the a small proof-of-concept working, but failed so far. I invite you to solve this Animated Gif problem using the information I’ve given. Please share your solution with the readers of this post.

Conclusion

We all know WinRT isn’t finished, we are just looking at a developer preview. If I recall it correctly WinRT should have the same features in XAML+C# as in HTML5+JS. Will this small difference in features be tackled in the final release?

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