Image resizing outside the 'box'

The question: At what size do we serve our images? This is the first in a series of two, maybe three posts on answering this question.

Over the last years it has become harder and harder to give an easy answer to this simple question. Smartphones have introduced small screens becoming ubiquitous, and at the same time desktop screens have grown larger and larger in size. And if not larger, they simply double the amount of pixels. So the range of pixel based surfaces to serve your images to is enormous.

Let’s start with ‘the big picture’. In the upcoming post I’ll continue, with smaller to tiny! When it comes to pixels, one of the biggest screens are the retina equipped displays; the Macbook pro, and the iPad; with more than 2000 pixels in width! Remember the days when we used to resize our images to 640px?

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Engineering at Viewbook

At Viewbook we want to produce high quality code, have a great work environment and above all make a product that we and our users love. Viewbook stands for an open environment where autonomy, self-responsibility and continuous learning are important. Here’s an overview of what we do and how we do it.

How we work

We distribute work over teams & projects in which designers and developers work (remotely) together in a multidisciplinary team of about 3-5 people. Each team delivers (and maintains) a complete, or part of a product together. Everyone in the team plays a role in defining and improving the product. We following Agile principles for software development and Lean UX for product development.

Co-founders Rudin and Paul, Viewbook HQ.

Development areas

Javascript
Viewbook's core application is a complex single-page Javascript application that’s powered by Backbone.js, React, Iodash, jQuery, jQuery++, Handlebars, List, Jasmine, AMD

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Ruby user group at Viewbook

Viewbook supports the Ruby user group Rotterdam.rb. The meetup at Viewbook HQ was a great success. There was a presentation about 'Rails and Complex Single Page Javascript Apps'. A double talk by Joachim Nolten (@stiller) from the server perspective and Bas Ben Zineb (@basbenzineb) from the client perspective. Both are developers at Viewbook, working on a new web based Website Builder. The keynotes are available here.

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The new iPad with retina display

Screen detail of iPad retina (left) vs. iPad 1 (right)

Here it is, the new iPad! As you all know, this iPad features a retina display, a display of which you cannot distinguish individual pixels. And it's true, this screen displays its content in print quality, it's absolutely stunning. In our opinion, it is somewhat close to a revival of the first photographic technology: the daguerreotype. In short, not just a new specification, but a completely new experience of photographic viewing.

There are some downsides to this though. Since the resolution is so incredibly high, as much as 2048 by 1536 pixels, whenever you want to get the most out of this, you'll have to serve it huge images. As a result the file size and load time from the web will of course grow along with it. To give you an example: On

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Goodbye CMS, welcome static HTML

We just removed the CMS behind our product site completely and replaced it with a static site. We used to have a static site before, using PHP includes for shared templates like layouts and navigation. However in our latest redesign we added so much content that it helped to have a CMS behind it, for non technical people to update the site. But at the same time it became less fun to update the site for our techies that were not involved in the project before. That's why we decided to go back to basics. Looking for something simple in Ruby, our beloved language, I stumbled across Middleman. Middleman is a static site generator based on Sinatra. It supports different template languages (Haml, Sass, Compass, Slim, CoffeeScript, and more) and it makes minification, compression, cache busting, Yaml data an easy part of your development cycle.

So now we

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