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Browser Limitations
maximum dimensions, file size, etc.

 8:06 pm on Apr 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

I recently needed to create a very long page, almost exclusively text. It was only a bunch of reference material for the client and they wanted it all on one page.

I decided to maintain a color bar down the left hand side by stretching a one color gif. Lo and behold, Netscape chokes at 6,000 pixels! I had to create two bars with a <br> tag.

This got me thinking -- what other kinds of inherent limits are built into browsers -- maximum file sizes, dimensions, etc. Clearly they must be there.

I haven't turned up any info yet, and would welcome all input.



 12:48 pm on Apr 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

I dont think that what you experienced is a browser limitation as such.

I read an article which was saying something along the lines that an image stretched to a bigger file size will still take the same resources even though the actual file may be quite small.

It was a while ago and I can't remeber exactly the reasons for it but i think that the browser still needs X amount of RAM to display an image depending on its size in the page NOT its origional size.

anway i could be wrong but at the time it made a lot of sense.

I'll see if I can dig it up


 12:59 pm on Apr 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

Found it!

"to actually display an image, the browser must decode it into a bitmap, so the compression makes no difference at this point. Any image of a given pixel size, no matter how simple or complex, requires the same amount of computer memory to display."

"A 42-byte, one-pixel GIF expanded to 640 by 480 pixels would require just as much memory to display as an 800K photographic JPEG of the same dimensions. Think of that before you fill a Web page with one-pixel GIFs expanded to huge sizes. They'll download quickly, but they'll wolf down memory getting onto the screen. "

ref : [builder.com...]


 2:27 pm on Apr 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Any image of a given pixel size, no matter how simple or complex, requires the same amount of computer memory to display

Whoa! Nice find, knighty.

Tedster, did IE5 choke at 6000p ?


 5:15 pm on Apr 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> did IE5 choke at 6000p ? <<

No, it didn't. Not sure why, now, but maybe it's just better at memory use on other elements of the page.

Great article, knighty. I have a few visitor complaints about various pages here and there that I could never figure out -- Now I'm thinking I should ask them about memory, not just browser version and OS.


 9:59 am on Apr 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

More experiments.

First, it seems that my own head had a faulty memory. Netscape choked at 8001 pixels high, not 6000 as I first reported. It renders fine at 8000px and then at 8001px it chokes by showing the broken image link icon.

But Explorer just keeps on wailing until I pushed it to 100,000 pixels high. Then it chokes by just spazzing out and randomly repeating images from the top of the page.

So, memory may be part of the story, but there seem to be limits built into the browser code as well, at least on Netscape

This is Explorer 5.0 and Netscape Communicator 4.7. Soon as I can I'm going to try this on another box with lots more memory (this little baby only has 64MB), Netscape 6 and Explorer 6. Maybe check out Opera as well.


 1:44 pm on Apr 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

Even More Experiments

Just made a page with a 1 pixel wide gif streched to ONE Million pixels (said in Austin Powers voice) and it worked fine in both explorer 5 (mac) and netscape 4.7 (mac)

pushed it to 2 million and still the same but acted wierd when scrolling.

I have a G4 with 128MB

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