Dev argues: kill ‘Save for Web’

Developer Adam Bradley has argued that ‘Save for Web’ needs to become a thing of the past. Speaking to .net, he said that, although images should always be optimised for online use, the specific option of ‘Save for Web’ should be replaced by one that automates the process of resizing, cropping and optimisation, depending on output requirements.

Suitably, Bradley’s been working on content-delivery service CDN Connect, which dynamically generates images from high-quality source files and makes it simpler to manage production assets.

.net spoke to Bradley about the system and to get further elaboration on why he thinks ‘save for web’ needs to die.

.net: What is it you have against ‘Save for Web’?
AB: Image-editing software is for editing and producing quality source files, but in today’s web design landscape, that’s where the use of such things should stop. Bear in mind ‘Save for Web’ arrived in Photoshop back in 1999 when we were also seeing ‘best viewed in 800x600’ and all sitting behind similarly-sized monitors. But of late, there’s been an explosion in displays, each with unique demands regarding image resolution and sizes. Save for Web can’t cope.

.net: So RWD’s, in your opinion, made the ‘Save for Web’ tool redundant?
AB: Right. The point is, we used to know exactly what size was needed, and Photoshop had that nifty trick that allowed us to optimise a single image for the web. But these days, if we keep optimising images manually, what about the next site redesign or device that appears? For the sake of your future selves, we need to change this line of thinking and employ a better process, with the understanding that while humans don’t scale, machines do.

We need to use a process that takes high-quality source images and automates optimisation, without individual designers having to waste time estimating best-guess exports. Additionally, we need to move away from just using massive images and having the browser resize them because we’re forcing users to download unnecessarily large files. Also, as new formats appear and become popular, such as WebP, designers shouldn’t have to go through the process of reworking all their images yet again.

.net: How does CDN Connect assist with this process? What does it do?
AB: CDN Connect automates image optimisation and resizing. Designers upload source files, including Photoshop and Illustrator documents, and let the service deal with conversion and optimisation. And by optimising images, it’s not just exporting to a web format, but also using advanced tools to reduce file sizes and maintain quality. On top of all these features, files are hosted from a content delivery network that places them closer to their visitors, thereby speeding up load times. The service also works well within team environments.

.net: What specifically do you feel CDN Connect brings to the table that other services do not?
AB: Well, we have competitors for each of our individual features, but we’re proud of how all our features complement each other and work together, rather than requiring the end-user to subscribe to many different services that they then piece together. Our process offers a large benefit with fast download speeds and lower bandwidth charges. Also, the web app is easy to use and available from an API.

.net: What’s the pricing structure going to be?
AB: Right now, we’re in beta and welcoming users to test the system. We offer a free plan with a daily quota for bandwidth and storage usage, which will be great for developers to find out first-hand whether CDN Connect is right for them. Additionally, we’ll be offering a monthly subscription, starting at $22 per month.

.net: And what are your future plans for the service?
AB: We’ll be integrating CDN Connect into content management systems, such as WordPress. Our goal is to make this as seamless as possible with minimal changes.

Ultimately, we want content owners to keep full control of their source files, but allow CDN Connect to take the burden off of image resizing, content-aware cropping, image optimisation and file format conversion, while everything is hosted from a fast worldwide content delivery network.

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