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WebP Images in RapidWeaver

In 2012 an average webpage was over 1200 kB in size and 60% of that was in images. It's unlikely that RapidWeaver pages have become any smaller in the meantime. With all the focus on performance and speed across the web performance industry, you would think that innovating on better image formats would be a top agenda item. WebP was developed in 2010, but the .png saga (not to mention SVG) will remind us that 'new' image formats aren't readily accepted by the browser developers. It has taken until now for developers to begin to come to terms with WebP.

WebP is a method of lossy and lossless compression that can be used on a large variety of photographic, translucent and graphical images found on the web. The degree of lossy compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality. WebP typically achieves an average of 30% more compression than JPEG and JPEG 2000, without loss of image quality.

Will Woodgate/Stacks4Stacks has just released the WebPStack that makes it easy to add WebP images as resources or warehoused images in Stacks. Within the stack settings, you can provide an image ALT attribute, an optional tooltip title and an optional link. Then for older web browsers that do not currently support WebP, you can specify a traditional JPG, PNG or GIF image to use instead.

It's a well-known fact that images speak louder than words, so here's a comparison:

WebPStack – Will Woodgate
Test One: The image on the left is a compressed .jpg (ImageOptim) it weighs 385 kB. I took this compressed image and ran it through the WebPonise app which reduced it by a further 87.5% (default app settings) resulting in an image weighing 48 kB. After examining the image closely, I'm unable to detect any artefacts or a loss in quality.

WebPStack – Will Woodgate
Test Two: This 'jpg was dowloaded from Pixabay. After running it through ImageOptim it was reduced by 5.9% and weighed 193 kB (left). The WebPonise app (default app settings) reduced the same downloaded image by 41.5%. Result: 120 kB. Once again, I'm unable to discern any artefacts (although there's plenty of scope for them in the sky) and no difference in the image quality.

Did you notice the 'for older web browsers that do not currently support WebP' part? It's a fact that not all web browsers support WebP images. Safari, sadly, is one of those browsers and there's as yet no way to preview a WebP image on the Mac. Will's WebPStack ensures that your warehoused .jpeg is displayed on older browsers and will load the much lighter image for browsers that already support the WebP format.

And I know you're going to ask, so here's a list of the browsers that currently support the WebP format:

WebP lossy support
  • Google Chrome (desktop) 17+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 11.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.0+ (ICS)
WebP lossy, lossless & alpha support
  • Google Chrome (desktop) 23+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 12.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.2+ (JB-MR1)
  • Pale Moon 26+
WebP Animation support
  • Google Chrome (desktop and Android) 32+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 19+

Resources:
The WebPonise app can be dowloaded here.
The WebP Wiki page is here.
The WebPStack from Stacks4Stacks

Comments

Srcerer for RapidWeaver

The buzzword for a few years now has been Mobile First, but how much do you really care about your mobile visitors – those that pay for their internet experience by the kilobyte?
Previously, we've seen stacks that automatically produce an image of reduced size for mobile devices. Even today we have stacks that allow the manual addition of a second image that is loaded for mobile devices, but none of the solutions to date have been truly optimal.

I have two websites online that display a full page mobile optimised image on desktop devices for a couple of seconds until the browser recognises the fact that I'm on a desktop computer and replaces the image with the higher resolution version. Not really optimal.
I previously had a stack that produced two versions of an image and loaded the low-res image on mobile devices, but, more often than not, the low-res would display on a tablet in portrait mode. Not really optimal.

What if there were a solution to load and display an image that has been optimised for each breakpoint? Well, actually there is now a stack that can do that – Srcerer from Shaking The Habitual!

Srcerer queries the browser width when a page is loaded and can deliver up to eight different images at various sizes with each image optimised for each screen width it is being viewed on. Srcerer even takes Retina displays into consideration and will deliver an optimised 2x image.
Using Srcerer means that your site's visitor only downloads (and pays for) the image that has been optimised for her/his device.

This does, of course mean that you are saddled with extra work for your site. You will need to produce, optimise and link the eight separate images manually, but there's workarounds for that too. Srcerer will automatically generate the code for linking to a folder of optimised images and an app called Retrobatch (a super efficient node-based batch image processor from Flying Meat Software) will allow you to program a workflow to automate the process (Stuart will even supply a pre defined workflow), However a Photoshop Droplet can do the same and it's even possible to resize the images via Preview.

Now personally, I'd be happy if this were the limit of Srcerer's abilities. But Stuart wasn't ready to stop programming there and has added properties to the stack that other image stacks simply don't have; Srcerer can produce cards with seven different shadow effects, Srcerer can add image captions, hover effects and blends and it can even add parallax effects. What more would you want from an image stack?

Srcerer – Shaking the habitual

Stack settings
Stuart has given detailed descriptions of each of Srcerer's settings on the homepage, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel, but instead would recommend that you take a look at the Srcerer product page.

Srcerer is not only the most advanced stack to date for delivering optimised images for each viewport, but it is also an otherwise extremely versatile image stack that I can highly recommend!
Until 9th November 2018 you can get a 25% discount with the code: sth-ninja-srcerer

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Panoramas with RapidWeaver

In May 2014, I reviewed YuzoolThemes' 40th stack. It was a panorama stack. As a panorama photographer, I was excited about the stack, because it allowed me to display 180º panorama photographs – the type that most mobile phones will take today. However, as a panorama photographer, I was also a little disappointed. Panorama was limited to 'just' 180º.

Serious panorama photographers make 360º panoramas, or even 360x360º shots. A single panorama with medium resolution can consist of 64 or more single images that require specialised equipment to shoot and are stitched together with professional software.
However, an iPhone is all you really need to take panorama shots of your client's offices or studio.

Last week, Yuzool released Panorama 360, a stack that can display 360x360º shots. Michael is obviously a fan of panorama photography too and Panorama 360 answers my requirements fully. Not only that, but the original stack has been updated too and can now display a complete 360x180º images. Perfect.

Both stacks are very simple to use; just drop your image into RW's resources, link it to the stack and publish. That's just about all there is to it.

Sankt Gallen Grüningerpaltz 180º panorama

Panorama2 is now a free addition when you purchase Panorama 360 and all three of the stacks that were published last week are available at a 30% discount with the code HOTSUMMER. The offer expires on 31st July!

Here are two examples that I've put together. The 360x360 view has not yet been retouched: I quickly spliced the images today, as all of my other '3d' images were prepared for QTVR.

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Ultimate Images in RapidWeaver

The client said that the website must be finished by evening – yesterday evening.
But guess who didn't yet supply the copy or the images.
Somehow, we need to get a layout design up and ready for the content – when it finally arrives. Not a problem – we have placeholder stacks that will automatically generate dummy text and load dummy images and if the final content ever arrives, we can just swap out the stacks and fill them with the client's content.

Only one thing troubles me with this scenario – I'm in a hurry and now I have to waste time swapping out stacks instead of simply adding the text and copy that was just supplied?

The copy is the simplest problem to solve – instead of using placeholder stacks that generate dummy text, use the original Header and Paragraph stacks that you intend to use and paste in your own dummy text. But what about the images? We want to show the client a layout, but cropping dummy images to fit??

Wait!! Marathia just released UltimateImage – a stack that will allow you to generate dummy images of any size and then – when the client finally condescends to supply the content – replace the dummies with the original images.
The dummy images are loaded via one of five servers – the first two place a coloured background with a text displaying the pixel size of the image, the remaining three load random images from their servers.
When the final content is ready for publishing, you set UltimateImage to Local Image, or Warehoused Image and add in your images saving yourself a couple of minutes with each image when compared to other placeholder stacks!

UltimateImage – Marathia
Stack settings
Image Source – Default: Local Image. Options: Warehoused Image, *Ipsum Image, Placeholder.com, **LoremPicsum, LoremFlickr, PlaceIMG
Force Fluid Image
Depending on the chosen placeholder server…
*Image Size – Width, Height
*Custom Text
*Font Size
*Colours – Background, Text
**Specific Image – number – "-1"=Random

11 further settings to Flip, Rotate and add filter effects to the images.

I've used dummy content stacks to knock up a quick layout before, or to build a style template for suggested fonts and colours etc. UltimateImage helps save production time by reducing unnecessary actions.

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SVG Stack For RapidWeaver

I recently read a plaidoyer on one of the forums that argued that warehoused images are unnecessary – most RapidWeavers don't take advantage of the function. Well here's proof that the statement just can't be true. The new SVG stack from Doobox is targeted specifically at warehoused SVGs, now giving us a choice of three stacks that can display an SVG.

The name SVG stack is slightly misleading. The stack will also load warehoused jpg, png and gif files and can display an alternate image on hover. The latter function is interesting especially as it allows you to mix formats.

SVG – Doobox


Stack settings
SVG Image – Set Link
Alternate Text – Default 'Missing Image'
On Click – Do Nothing, Link To URL
On Hover – Do nothing, Show Alternate Image
Max Width – Desk, Tablet, Mobile
Position – Left, Centre, Right – Desk, Tablet, Mobile
Breakpoints – Standard, Custom

The fact that SVG has an option to display an alternate image on hover is a neat trick, which many will find useful.

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