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Posts Tagged ‘rant’

WordPress Image Handling Sucks (WP Wednesday)

Monday, December 21st, 2009

WARNING: Today’s WordPress Wednesday post is a selfish rant – and two days early. So much for Christmas spirit. ;)

Yes, I said it. The words “WordPress” and “sucks” in the same breath. It’s a rare thing for a WP fanboy like me to do, but today, the Automattic folks deserve it.

This week’s release of WP 2.9 brought some awesome image editing tools to WordPress users – but the entire image handling system is still broken. It’s a kludge.

When you upload an image to WP, it “crunches” it – creating up to 4 versions of the image at various sizes (thumbnail, medium, large and original) on the server. These are now the ONLY sizes available to you in your posts. In addition, with the exception of gallery-generated pages, references to these images inserted into posts are specific to the pixel size (150, 300, etc.) rather than the relative size (thumbnail, medium, large, etc). Yes, you can change the pixel sizes of the relative sizes – but once an image is uploaded, you’re stuck with the settings of the day.

This wouldn’t bother me so much if I didn’t know that there was an alternative. Why can’t WP resize images on-the-fly at the server?

Example:
William Bundled Up
This image is located at http://colincarmichael.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/SDC11443-300×199.jpg. See those pixel references in there? This image physically exists on the server. Very limiting.

In contrast, look at these: (from a Drupal site I run, the tech isn’t Drupal-specific)

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/600

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/300

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/150

URL: http://www.presbyterian.ca/photoresize/4398/news

See those pixel references in the URLs? There are no images on the server in those specific sizes – the server resizes the original image on the fly as required. See that last one with a relative size of “news”? The server resizes that to a size specified in the settings, in this case 250px.

There’s no reason that WordPress’ image handling could work the same way. You’d only need to store the original of the image on the server, and you could insert images of any size in your posts. Additionally, if you had “virtual” sizes defined such as full=600px, half=300px, thumb=150, etc, you could have images that would resize gracefully if your theme changes and you now need full to be 400px and half to be 200px.

So, Automattic, how ’bout it? Now that you’ve given us image-editing tools in 2.9, can you address the broken image-handling problem?

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