If I have a set of images that were taken with a digital camera, what resolution should they be resized for if they are to be put on the web? Should they be resized at all? Should this job be really up to the web browser software to decide? I think I’ll go with ‘yes’ to the final question, because I don’t like the idea of having to degrade the quality of my pictures for online viewing only to have people ask me for higher quality versions later.

I also don’t like the idea of having to upload the same pictures to my web space more than once for different resolutions.

There are some PHP scripts that can do automatic server side image resizing but I think this job would be much better (and probably faster) done client side, so the viewer has ultimate control of what they see. Ideally the web browser should also allow the user to rotate images so that in the case of the images not being oriented correctly before they were uploaded the user can do this later as they view them.

Browser developers take note:

As of writing, Mozilla Firefox 1.0 seems to do the most satisfactory job of viewing large images on the web, by rescaling them to fit into the viewable area. The images have to be viewed standalone though, ie. not embedded on a web page. The URL in the address bar would normally end in .jpg when viewing an image standalone. If an image is embedded in a web page then you can right-click on the image then click on View Image, and then it is viewed standalone. You can then click the Back button to get back to where you were.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 works similarly, in that it also requires images to be viewed standalone for them to be rescaled to fit into the viewable area, however it does not make it easy at all to view images standalone, as there is no View Image option on the context menu of an image. You have to go into the image Properties, then copy the URL of the image and paste it into the address bar then press Enter. Poor UI design.

Opera 7.60 works differently here, and not terribly well. You can right-click on an image then choose Open image, but the image isn’t auto-rescaled. You have to scale it manually using the page zoom control (eg. setting it from 100% to 50%), but the problem with this is that when you click on the Back button, the zoom setting remains at wherever you left it, and you probably need to increase the zoom level again back to 100% so you can navigate the web page you were at. Naturally the whole process of changing the zoom level all the time gets a bit tedious.

I don’t really like that images have to be viewed standalone for them to be auto-rescaled, but I guess it’s a start.

 

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