Pausing GIF animations in Extension Warehouse


It is a bit frustrating not being able to pause GIF animations in the Extension Warehouse. This function is implemented in Facebook so I think it is called for that we also get this function in EW.

Just sayin’

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GIF is an image file format and the GIF format specification does not specify it can be paused. GIF images are rendered by the browser engines and the Ecma Script Standard does not specify a Javascript method to pause the animation, and thus browsers don’t implement it.

There are however workarounds that split GIF files into individual images (requires some server infrastructure) or implement their own GIF parser in Javascript. Considering the intrusive occurence of GIFs in social networks, it is understandable to encounter such solutions there.

How would you use such a function if it was there? How is GIF usage on Extension Warehouse a problem? Can you point to an extension site that has an intrusive or oversized GIF animation? Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll find the link “Report abuse”.

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If there are images that aren’t GIFs you can switch to one of those to get rid of the animation, however I completely agree that the website would benefit from a pause button.

The same goes for the instructor in the SketchUp application. A flickering GIF is not only annoying but an actual accessibility issue. Many users hide the instructor first thing they do simply to be able to use SketchUp at all and then forget it exists and don’t get any help from it when learning SketchUp.


I am happy you understood what I meant, Eneroth. The GIF animations are just way to fast to be of any practical use for me. I also support your idea of implementing such a function in the Instructor panel as well.

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I’ve worked on creating a gif player to run inside SU, but it isn’t trivial…

Facebook, etc… mostly use server side conversion to optimised mp4 and then use html5 video tags to use the player…

atm gifs still cover a larger browser base, but are quite big for more advanced usage, like tutorials…


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For the instructor of my own plugins I’ve been thinking about having two separate images, one animated GIF and one still. Then the src attribute could be swapped when the document gains and loses focus. Haven’t implemented it yet though.

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Julia, have a look at optimising animated gifs which is very easy to implement for your own stuff…

even converting existing gifs gave me higher quality mp4’s…

<video> tags main advantage is ‘pause’ when following an tutorial or demo example…

gif players I’ve found always jump back to the first frame…



I have to agree with John, the pragmatic solution are videos where browser engines provide playback/speed control as part of the specification.

The late rise of GIFs not only for memes but also tutorials is kind of weird, considering that it is a “zombie” older than the web that doesn’t die despite of its heavy bandwidth impact (videos could lazy-load and stream), posterization effects and low framerate that make me dizzy.

Should Extension Warehouse maybe better promote video formats? Anything to improve for adding videos in instructor content? Of course it does not help for some potentially annoying GIFs if those developers don’t update them.


The thing I like about GIFs in EW is that the animation restarts when it ends instead of showing YouTube’s lists of recommended videos. For short examples where the user won’t need to pause and replay certain parts (as you would in a tutorial) I think the GIF appears much cleaner and light weight (even if it they are not). I don’t know if the EW could host its own videos and so we can get rid of the YouTube stuff in them.

I may have to try this out on my own:


I just thought of an issue of Affinity Review that I downloaded some time ago. I am no tech expert, but looking at some of the pages inside this (286 MB) pdf-magazine there are also embedded some short (GIF?) tutorials that can be paused.

Have a look at this link:

*(Look up page 58-60)

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