Announcing PNGGauntlet 2.0

It’s been about three years since I last released an update to PNGGauntlet. This PNG image optimizing tool has been very popular, but has been sorely in need of a refresh. Today I’m excited to announce a major update, PNGGauntlet 2.0.

The most important new feature of PNGGauntlet 2.0 is that it runs on .NET 2.0 (and 3.0, and 3.5). This means that Windows Vista users can just install it without having to download anything else. This has also allowed me to use some more modern .NET features in order to smooth out the program’s internals. I’ve also done a few more things to make PNGGauntlet explicitly compatible with Vista, including the new, high resolution gauntlet icon.

PNGGauntlet Screenshot

The UI is pretty different, making better use of space and finally making every single PNGOUT option accessible. Check out the old 1.1 interface to compare. You’ll see that most of the controls have been moved over to an “Advanced Options” window where you can tweak PNGOUT to your heart’s content. The main window has been greatly simplified and gives much better feedback on the compression job, with individual progress bars for each file, highlighting of the currently compressing file, and a status bar that keeps track of the total kilobytes you’ve saved.

The program itself has had a lot of bugs fixes and inefficiencies stomped out, and some less obvious features have been added. One of those is that dropping a directory onto PNGGauntlet will recursively add all the files in the directory (and its subdirectories) to the current optimization job. Also, you can copy (Ctrl-C) files in Windows Explorer and paste (Ctrl-V) them into PNGGauntlet. This should make it much easier to get the files you want into the app. If you want to see everything that’s changed, take a look at the full changelog.

I wrote PNGGauntlet nearly 5 years ago as my very first C# program (and my first Windows app!). At the time, I wanted to be able to run PNGOUT (a commandline tool for optimizing PNGs) and pngrewrite (another commandline tool that could mess with PNG palettes to make PNGOUT more effective) together on large sets of PNG images easily. Then PNGOUT added the features of pngrewrite and I no longer needed that, so I modified PNGGauntlet to run PNGOUT multiple times in order to search for the smallest file size. Since then, PNGOUT has added that feature too. So now PNGGauntlet is really just a fancy GUI for running PNGOUT.

I never really intended for PNGGauntlet to be anything more than a learning exercise for me, but it’s become moderately popular, so I felt obliged to update it (and make it easy for me to install on my own Vista systems). However, in the intervening time Ken Silverman (creator of PNGOUT) has released his own commercial PNGOUT GUI, called PNGOUTWin. I haven’t looked at it too closely, but the program runs PNGOUT in a much more elegant way, and can even compress multiple files at once to take advantage of modern multicore processors. It’s only $15, so I suggest you pick it up if you use PNGOUT or PNGGauntlet a lot. It’s also nice to see that Ken has released Linux and Mac OS X versions of PNGOUT, so I can use it at work too!

Thanks to everyone who’s been emailing me asking about PNGGauntlet and giving me suggestions. I hope this is what you were wanting.

I'm Benjamin Hollis, a software developer in Seattle. Check out my website.