On Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:21 AM, Jon Robson <jdlrobson(a)gmail.com> wrote:
1. We could generate and keep only certain sizes, tossing the rest.
Heck yes. Generate some standard sizes at upload time and let the browser
scale if a funny size is demanded. Modern browsers scale photos nicely,
like the nearest-neighbor ugliness from 2002.
+1 I was very surprised to learn any thumbnail sizes could be generated. We
should standardise on a tiny, small,medium high and original resolutions. 5
sizes seems more than enough.
Don't forget that Mediawiki is also more than just Wikipedia. I've
worked with Mediawiki sites that were more graphics-focused and more
detailed on there layout demands than Wikipedia, and seen far more
than five sizes in play. The diversity of sizes can be surprising,
but isn't necessarily illogical, for example, one might specify sizes
so that 2 or 3 or 4 images neatly span a 670px main column on a site
formatted for 800px displays.
Such things happen in the larger universe of Mediawiki sites, even
though they might be frowned upon on Wikipedia, etc. Personally, I've
found Mediawiki's flexibility to generate any size on demand to be
very useful. And I would agree with Isarra that even though browsers
are much better than they were at scaling, it still results in a loss
of detail if both the server and browser are asked to do scaling.
So, my strong preference would be for solutions that don't assume a
few sizes are good enough for everyone. At the very least, Mediawiki
should be configurable to preserve the current behavior as an option
(i.e. allowing any requested size to be produced by the server).
I would also note that the standard image description page currently
provides direct links to images scaled to "Other resolutions". This
means that typical large image will come in at least 5 sizes (320px,
640px, 800px, 1024px, 1280px) plus the typical "thumb" size (220px on
most Wikipedias, I believe), as well as the full-size resolution.
That said, I agree that finding a way to expire old thumbs, or rarely
accessed thumbs, is definitely a good idea.