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Designing a website or app can be a daunting task. But with the right design tools, it can be a lot easier. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the best tools, apps, and resources available right now. From client management to AI-powered design tools, there’s tons here to round out the year in style. Enjoy!

WelcomeSpaces

WelcomeSpaces is a collaborative tool for professional designers. Communicate with clients, share files, discuss revisions, and stay on track with an activity feed. Client collaboration has never been so simple.

html.to.design

html.to.design is an excellent plugin for Figma to help you quickly and easily create beautiful designs from existing websites. With just a few clicks, you can import the HTML code for any website and start designing your own version of it.

Squeaky

Squeaky is a privacy-friendly analytics suite that lets you capture up to 60% more data than legacy tools. With Squeaky, you can get insights into your customers’ behavior without compromising their privacy. Use Squeaky to make better decisions for your business.

AI Canvas

AI Canvas is an online collaborative platform that allows users to create and share AI artwork with other community members. Start your artwork with text prompts and watch it grow.

Magician

Magician is an AI-powered plugin for Figma that can create icons, images, and web copy from text prompts. It’s the perfect tool for designers who want to quickly and easily create beautiful designs.

Doughnut

Doughnut is a supportive design and freelancing community designed to help you succeed as a freelance designer. From finding new clients to managing your time, Doughnut has everything you need to make the most of your freelance career.

Deckset

Deckset is a simple way to produce great-looking presentations. Just write your thoughts in your favorite text editor and watch Deckset transform them into beautiful, persuasive presentations.

Vectormaker

With Vectormaker, you can easily convert pixel-based images into colorful vector graphics. Vectormaker uses the Potrace algorithm to trace the edges of your image. You can then choose the colors for your vector path based on the colors in the original.

Wrap

Wrap is a browser extension for capturing and editing product screenshots with ease. With a selection of carefully selected styles to choose from, you can create pixel-perfect designs in seconds—even if you’re not a designer.

Illustration Builder

The Illustration Builder digital designer toolkit is a Figma plugin for creating beautiful illustrations for your business website. You can create any illustration with a wide range of objects, backgrounds, characters, abstractions, and more.

OptiMonk

With OptiMonk, you can create beautiful pop-ups for Shopify, WordPress, MailChimp, and more that will help you increase your marketing reach, increase customer engagement and boost your conversions.

Jot

Jot is a marketing tool that uses OpenAI’s GPT-3 to generate human-like ad copy based on a single product description. With Jot, you can create engaging adverts quickly and easily.

Free Mockup Generator

Pixelied’s free mockup generator allows you to create stunning designs with editable mockups in minutes. With a wide range of customizable templates to choose from, you can design the perfect mockup for your project.

Womp

Womp is a new way to create 3D images. Intuitive and easy to use. With Womp, you can create beautiful 3D designs. Everything you create in Womp is exportable for 3D printing, social media, or directly into a game. It’s a great way to produce 3D icons and illustrations for your website.

Tinkerwell

Tinkerwell is a must-have companion to your favorite IDE. Quickly iterate on PHP code within the context of your web application. There’s no need to waste time opening browsers, creating test URLs, and uploading apps to servers. Use Tinkerwell locally, via SSH, Docker, and even on Laravel Vapor.

Magical

Magical is a tool that helps you speed up the meeting scheduling process. With Magical, you can easily find time slots that work for everyone and create personalized links to those slots. With Magical’s Dynamic Availability feature, you and your attendees can always find the best meeting time.

Explain Code

Explain Code is a great way to understand complicated code. You can see how the code works line by line and learn about programming concepts. Gain in-depth knowledge of how and why code is constructed and fast-track your learning process.

Shuffle Alternatives

Shuffle Alternatives allows you to create multiple site styles with a simple drag-and-drop builder. Create your core design and then choose from different design styles for a site that best fits your brand approach.

Idea Clarity

Get help honing your ideas, perfecting your pitch, and targeting the most profitable directions. Idea Clarity is an app that gives you direct access to experts in your chosen field who will help you revise your rough idea into a concrete plan.

Graphicsly

Graphicsly is an all-in-one graphics assets plugin for WordPress that lets you import directly into your installation. There are 1000+ 3D assets, 3000+ illustrations, and 9000+ icons ready to use today.

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The post Exciting New Tools for Designers, December 2022 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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Looking to save big and make your web design job easier at the same?

This carefully picked list includes top-tier quality items that have already been used by hundreds of thousands of people like you.

From WordPress themes, plugins, web apps, website builders, and illustrations, this list has everything for everyone.

Check all these 10 excellent deals for designers below:

1. Amelia

Amelia is a WordPress booking plugin that saves businesses time and money from the beginning by replacing their manual or semi-automated appointment and event booking operations with a fully automated one.

Amelia is easy to set up and use. Fitness centers, consulting organizations, training institutions, beauty salons and spas, photographers, medical centers, and other businesses that rely heavily on client and customer appointment or event bookings will profit from using it.

  • Clients can go online to make appointments 24/7, change or cancel appointments, and make payments. They can also purchase tickets for events and add special requirements.
  • Amelia automatically sends notifications, reminders, and follow-ups by SMS, WhatsApp, and email (reducing no-shows while keeping clients aware of upcoming special sessions or events).
  • Amelia also manages group appointments, packages of appointments, employees’ schedules, special days, and days offs.
  • All the above can be managed at one or multiple locations from a single dashboard.

Amelia integrates with Google Calendar, Google Meet, Zoom, and Outlook Calendar. Click on the banner to learn more about what this amazing application could do for your business.

2. wpDataTables

Creating an informative table or chart for your website can be pretty labor-intensive.

  • You may have to work with and organize copious amounts of data.
  • You need to avoid compromising your website’s design at the expense of getting the tables or charts you want.
  • Your tables and charts may need to be responsive, editable, informative, and readable.

wpDataTables plugin does all the above for you and more. It is packed with powerful table and chart-building features that include –

  • 4 chart-building engines: Google Charts, Chart.js, Apex Charts, and Highcharts
  • The ability to accept data from multiple database sources and in numerous standard formats
  • The ability to highlight critical data, or color code data using Conditional Formatting
  • A wealth of powerful data filtering and sorting features
  • Live data from Google spreadsheets or JSON API

wpDataTables integrates seamlessly with Avada, Divi, Elementor, Gutenberg, and WPBakery. Click on the banner to learn even more about this popular WordPress plugin.

3. Trafft

To automate a booking operation, you might need one tool to book appointments, one to accept payments, another to manage employee schedules, and so on. Of course, if your business provides services at multiple locations, then you would multiply the number of tools times the number of locations, and you’ll be good to go.

Or, you could go with Trafft, a single tool with which you can manage all of the above, at multiple locations, all from a single platform.

  • Clients can book appointments online 24/7.
  • They can make payments online using PayPal, Stripe, Mollie, or Authorize .net.
  • Trafft sends reminders and notifications automatically via email or SMS.
  • Trafft integrates smoothly with Google Calendar, Google Meet, Outlook, and Zoom.

Click on the banner to learn about all of Trafft’s booking capabilities. You’ll be impressed.

4. WordLift

WordLift helps your website speak the language of Google. This way, your content will be discovered by users, giving you more organic traffic and helping your business website achieve excellent rankings.

  • WordLift uses AI to transform unstructured content into structured data that search engines can understand.
  • WordLift creates a knowledge graph, automates SEO tasks, and analyzes search intent.

Other features include automatic schema markup, content recommendation widgets, WooCommerce, and Image SEO, all designed to improve user engagement.

5. Total WordPress Theme

Three words summarize Total: flexible, easy, and complete. This aptly named WordPress theme is WooCommerce compatible and has everything you need to create one-of-a-kind sites.

  • Total puts excellent selections of demos, templates, and postcards at your fingertips.
  • The popular Slider Revolution plugin is included, as is Total’s flexible drag-and-drop page builder.

The 50% Black Friday discount is automatically applied when you order.

6. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose & WooCommerce Theme

TheGem – the versatile WordPress website builder – offers unlimited customizations, plenty of design & marketing focused features, an extended library of pre-built designs, and the fastest loading times: 

  • You have ready access to a rich selection of 400+ pre-built websites in outstanding design quality 
  • It enables you to build every part of your website right away in Elementor or WPBakery: headers & footers, WooCommerce pages, blogs, mega menus, popups, and much more.
  • You’ll love the 5-star user support, just as have 60,000 others.

TheGem can be yours at a 40% Black Friday discount.

7. Mobirise Website Builder Software

The best offline website builder for 2022 is free to use. That is in itself a great bargain. Mobirise’s team has sweetened the pot by offering a 33% Black Friday discount for their All-in-One Kit with its 175 premium themes and extensions.

  • Mobirise is strictly drag-and-drop and features huge selections of blocks, templates, icons, and images.
  • Your site is yours to host anywhere you want

More than 2 million sites have already been created using Mobirise.

8. Embed Instagram Feed

Instagram offers a terrific way to promote your business’s products or services. Its focus on visual communication makes it an extremely effective marketing tool.

  • It takes but three simple steps to embed Instagram into your website.
  • A variety of display options are available.
  • Your feed will be fully responsive and compatible with mobile devices.

An Instagram feed is yours at a 33% Black Friday discount.

9. Getillustrations Web and App Illustrations Bundle

 

Getillustrations is loaded with trendy illustrations you can pick and choose from, download once, and use forever.

  • Selecting one or more of the 13,000 different illustrations in over 100 categories can definitely add spice to your web designs.
  • Illustrations come in PNG, SVG, Ai, Figma, and Sketch formats and Getillustrations adds new ones every week.

Use the EliteDesigners25 code to get your 25% Black Friday discount.

10. Rey Theme

Rey is an innovative WooCommerce theme that is loaded with WooCommerce-friendly features and is easy to set up and use.

  • Key WooCommerce features include filtering, search, templating, and navigation.
  • Rey’s smart search helps site visitors find exactly what they want
  • Quickview and Ajax search is also available

Headers are customized for eCommerce, and visitors will appreciate Rey’s helpful cart, wish list, and checkout features.

Black Friday is not far off. Before you know it, many producers of WordPress themes, tools, and services will be offering tempting discounts.

Even if you come across a deal that appeals to you, it doesn’t hurt to look around to see if you can find a better one.

Keep in mind that the quality of a product or service is more important than its reduced price. It’s always best to pick and choose carefully. So, we’ve put together this list of the best Black Friday deals for 2022 to help you do just that.

 

[- This is a sponsored post on behalf of BAW media -]

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The post They’Re Live! 10 Great Black Friday 2022 Deals for Designers and Agencies first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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PHP is a widely-used open-source multi-purpose scripting language, which can be embedded in HTML and is especially suitable for Web development.

This article mainly introduces how to use the php-mqtt/client client library in PHP projects to implement the functions of connection, subscription, unsubscribing, message receiving and sending between MQTT client and MQTT server.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.
The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!”

What’s New in WordPress 6?

From PHP to Next.js: What Trivago Learned

4 CSS Progress Bars You Can Use on your Website

Lesser-Known and Underused CSS Features in 2022

Responsive Forms with CSS Flexbox

20 Best New Sites, June 2022

Building a Button Component

15 Web Design Principles for a Customer-Friendly Website

How I Created a Minimal Linktree Page in Just 2 Hours

Pixelarticons

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The post Popular Design News of the Week: May 23, 2022 – May 29, 2022 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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Imagine walking into this: « About 4 million lines of PHP code, written by underpaid, sometimes not well-meaning, freelancers and students over the span of 8 years. The CEO wrote a large part, but stopped learning new techniques around 2004. »

That’s how bad tech debt can get when a startup is run without considering that all of those messy shortcuts will eventually have to get cleaned up.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Ask any seasoned web app developer about their choice of programming language, and they are sure to mention PHP. PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML. As per Builtwith, 3,090,319 live websites are still using PHP. However, when it comes to developing massive projects without lag or stability issues, developers tend to use frameworks, and PHP has two remarkable frameworks: 1) Laravel and 2) Yii. Both frameworks have a lot of followers in terms of full-grown communities globally, and there may be questions arising about which to choose.

What Are Laravel and Yii?

Laravel is a simple PHP framework frequently used for web-based or web application development initially created as a better alternative to Codeigniter. It is known for MVC Support, articulated ORM systems, reliability, modularity, and uncomplicated coding rules. Some of the key features of Laravel Framework are:

Source de l’article sur DZONE


WordPress is by far the world’s most popular CMS. Not only does it dominate the CMS market with a 64% market share, but it also powers 39.6% of all websites. It has taken the internet by storm by democratizing the web for all. Now, anyone can build, manage, and host a successful website without needing a college degree or coding expertise.

However, while WordPress is great at managing many technical aspects, it still can’t do everything for you. Built mostly on PHP, there are often concerns regarding how performant WordPress is. And, with performance impacting everything from bounce rates to SEO rankings to conversions, it’s something that should be on your radar too.

If you don’t know it yet, images are one of the main causes of slow-loading websites. In recent years, WordPress has stepped up its efforts to try and help users with image optimization out-of-the-box.

Still, as we’ll show, it’s not a total solution, and there is still plenty you can do to deliver better experiences on your WordPress website through image optimization.

What is WordPress Image Optimization? Why is it Important?

Simply put, image optimization is anything you do to make images load faster on your website pages. Almost all websites that use images can benefit from some form of image optimization, even those using WordPress.

Why?

Well, performance is a hugely significant factor when it comes to the competitiveness of your website today.

Google has also made performance an increasingly important factor when it comes to SEO rankings. In fact, performance is a direct ranking signal that carries significant weight.

Google’s Page Experience Update that went live in 2021 has been the biggest move in that direction yet. Soon, Google might even use visual indicators in SERP results to distinguish high-performing websites from the rest.

In Google’s own words, “These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”

So, Why Should We Target Images For Performance Optimization?

According to Google, images are the largest contributor to page weight. Google has also singled out image optimization specifically as the factor with the most untapped potential for performance optimization.

This problem isn’t going away soon. According to data by the HTTP Archive, there are roughly 967.5 KB bytes of image data on desktop web pages and 866.3 KB of image data on mobile pages. This is an increase of 16.1% and 38.8%, respectively, over the last five years.

Thanks to popular e-commerce tools like Woocommerce, it’s estimated that up to 28% of all online sales happen on WordPress websites.

And don’t forget, images are both a key part of conveying information to the user and integral to the design of your website. If they take significantly longer to load than your text, for example, it will negatively impact the user experience in a variety of ways.

In summary, optimized images help your WordPress website by:

  • Improving user satisfaction.
  • Improving various traffic metrics, like bounce rates, time-on-page, etc.
  • Boosting your SEO rankings.
  • Contributing to higher conversions (and sales).

How Does Image Optimization in WordPress Work?

WordPress is so popular because it’s a CMS (content management system) that allows anyone to build, design, and manage a website without any coding or advanced technical experience. Advanced features can be installed with just a few clicks, thanks to plugins, and you rarely have to touch the code behind your website unless you want to make some unique modifications.

In short, using a CMS like WordPress shields you from many of the day-to-day technicalities of running a website.

WordPress Image Optimization: What It Can Do

As we mentioned, one of the main reasons WordPress is so popular is because it takes care of many of the technical aspects of running a website. With that in mind, many think that WordPress should also automatically take care of image optimization without them having to get involved at all.

Unfortunately, that’s not really the case.

True, WordPress does offer some built-in image optimization. Whenever you upload an image to WordPress, it currently compresses the quality to about 82% of the original (since v4.5).

In v4.4, WordPress also introduced responsive image syntax using the srcset attribute. This creates four breakpoints for each image you upload according to the default WordPress image sizes:

  • 150px square for thumbnails
  • 300px width for medium images
  • 768px max-width for medium_large images
  • 1024px max-width for large images.

Here you can see an example of the actual responsive syntax code generated by WordPress:

<img loading="lazy" src="https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-1024x683.jpg" alt="" class="wp-image-9" width="610" height="406" srcset="https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-1024x683.jpg 1024w, https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-300x200.jpg 300w, https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-768x512.jpg 768w, https://bleedingcosmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/33-1536x1024.jpg 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px">

Depending on the screen size of the device from which a user visits your webpage, WordPress will let the browser pick the most appropriately sized image. For example, the smallest version for mobile displays or the largest for 4K Retina screens, like those of a Mac.

While this may seem impressive, it’s only a fraction of what can be achieved using a proper image optimization solution, as we’ll show later.

Lastly, WordPress implemented HTML native default lazy loading for all images starting with version 5.5.

So, in short, WordPress offers the following image optimization capabilities baked-in:

  • Quality compression (limited)
  • Responsive syntax (up to 4 breakpoints)
  • Lazy loading

WordPress Image Optimization: What it Cannot Do

There are other issues many have with both the implementation of image compression and responsive syntax as it’s used by WordPress. This leads to some users even purposefully deactivating WordPress’ built-in image optimization so they can fully take control of it themselves.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • WordPress uses a very basic form of quality compression. It does not use advanced technologies like AI and machine learning algorithms to compress images while maintaining maximum visual quality. It’s also lossy compression, so the quality is lost for good. You can clearly see the difference between an original HD image and the compressed version created by WordPress.
  • WordPress only compresses most images by up to 20%, while advanced image optimization tools can reduce all image sizes intelligently by up to 80%.
  • Responsive syntax can provide significant performance improvements over simply uploading a single HD image to be served on all devices and screens. However, it’s still only limited to a set number of breakpoints (typically 3 or 4). Since it’s not dynamic, a whole spectrum of possible image sizes is not created or used.
  • Responsive syntax code is not scalable and can quickly lead to code that’s bloated, messy, and hard to read.
  • WordPress doesn’t accelerate image delivery by automatically caching and serving them via a global CDN, although this can be done using other tools.

Another important optimization feature that WordPress does not have is auto-conversion to next-gen image file formats. Different image formats offer different performance benefits on different devices. Some formats also enable higher levels of compression while maintaining visual fidelity.

Next-gen formats like WebP, AVIF, and JPEG-2000 are considered to be the most optimal formats on compatible devices. For example, until recently, WebP would be the optimal choice on Chrome browsers, while JPEG-4000 would be optimal on Safari browsers.

However, WordPress will simply serve images in the same formats in which they were originally uploaded to all visitors.

How to Measure the Image Performance of a WordPress Website?

As the undisputed king of search engines, we’ll base most of our performance metrics on guidelines established by Google.

Along with its various performance updates, Google has released a number of guidelines for developers as well as the tools to test and improve their websites according to said guidelines.

Google introduced Core Web Vitals as the primary metrics for measuring a web page’s performance and its effect on the user experience. Thus, Core Web Vitals are referred to as “user-centric performance metrics.” They are an attempt to give developers a testable and quantifiable way to measure an elusive and abstract concept such as “user experience.”

Combined with a number of other factors, Core Web Vitals constitute a major part of the overall page experience signal:

You can find a complete introduction to Core Web Vitals here. However, they currently consist of three main metrics:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): The time it takes the largest above-the-fold element on your page to load. This is typically a full-sized image or hero section.
  • FID (First Input Delay): The delay from the moment a user first interacts with an element on the page until it becomes responsive.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): The visual stability with which the elements on a page load.

Here is an illustration of how these metrics are scored:

While these are the three most important metrics to optimize, they are not the only ones. Google still measures other metrics like the FCP (First Contentful Paint), SI (Speed Index), as well as the TTFB (Time to First Byte), TBT (Total Blocking Time), and TTI (Time to Interactive).

A number of these metrics are directly affected by the images used on your web pages. For example, LCP, FCP, and SI are direct indicators of how fast the content of your web page loads and depends on the overall byte size of the page. However, it can also indirectly affect FID by keeping the main thread busy with rendering large amounts of image content or the perceived CLS by delaying the time it takes large images to load.

These metrics apply to all websites, whether they are custom-made or built using a CMS like WordPress.

When using tools like Lighthouse or PageSpeed Insights, you’ll also get scored based on other flags Google deems important. Some of them are specific to images, such as properly sizing images and serving images in next-gen formats.

If you only use built-in WordPress image optimization, you’ll get flagged for the following opportunities for improvement:

Some of the audits it will pass, however, are deferring offscreen images (lazy loading) and efficiently coding images (due to compression):

A Better Way to Optimize WordPress Images: ImageEngine

Billions of websites are all vying for prime real estate on Google SERPs, as well as the attention of an increasingly fussy internet-using public. Every inch matters when it comes to giving your website a competitive advantage.

So, how can you eliminate those remaining performance flags and deliver highly optimized images that will keep both your visitors and Google happy?

Sure, you could manually optimize images using software like PhotoShop or GIMP. However, that will take you hours for each new batch of images. Plus, you still won’t benefit from any automated adaptive optimization.

A more reasonable solution in today’s fast-paced climate is to use a tool developed specifically for maximum image optimization: an image CDN like ImageEngine.

ImageEngine is an automated, cloud-based image optimization service using device detection as well as intelligent image compression using the power of AI and machine learning. It can reduce image payloads by up to 80% while maintaining visual quality and accelerating delivery around the world thanks to its CDN with geographically dispersed PoPs.

Why is ImageEngine Image Optimization Better Than WordPress?

When making a head-to-head comparison, here are the reasons why ImageEngine can deliver better performance:

  • Device Detection: ImageEngine features built-in device detection. This means it picks up what device a visitor to your website is using and tailors its optimization strategy to what’s best for that specific device.
  • Client hints: By supporting client hints, ImageEngine has access to even more information regarding the device and browser to make better optimization decisions.
  • Next-gen formats: Based on optimal settings, ImageEngine automatically converts and serves images in next-gen formats like WebP, AVIF, JPEG2000, and MP4 (for GIFs).
  • Save data header: When a Chrome user has save-data mode enabled, ImageEngine will automatically compress images more aggressively to save on data transfer.
  • CDN with dedicated edge servers: ImageEngine will automatically cache and serve your optimized image assets using its global CDN. Each edge server has device awareness built-in to bring down latency and accelerate delivery. You can also choose to prioritize specific regions.

So, the key differentiator is that ImageEngine can tailor optimizing images for what’s optimal for each of your visitors. ImageEngine is particularly good at serving mobile visitors thanks to WURFL device detection, which can dynamically resize images according to most devices and screen sizes in use today. As of now, this is a completely unique capability that none of its competitors offer.

It allows for far better and more fine-tuned optimization than WordPress’ across-the-board approach to compression and responsive syntax.

If you want, you could turn off WordPress responsive syntax and compression, and you would still experience a performance increase using ImageEngine. However, ImageEngine also plays nice with responsive syntax, so it’s not completely necessary unless you want to serve the highest-fidelity/low-byte-size images possible.

How Does ImageEngine Work with WordPress?

The process ImageEngine uses to integrate with WordPress can be broken down into a few easy steps:

  • Sign up for an ImageEngine account: ImageEngine offers three pricing plans depending on the scale and features you need as well as a no-commitment 30-day free trial.
  • Specify your image origin: This tells ImageEngine where to find the original versions of your images. For a WordPress website, you can just use your domain, e.g., https://mywordpresswebsite.com. ImageEngine will then automatically pull the images you’ve uploaded to your WordPress website.

  • Copy the Delivery Address: After you create an account and specify your image origin, ImageEngine will provide you with a Delivery Address. A Delivery Address is your own unique address that will be used in your <img> tags to point back to the ImageEngine service. Delivery Addresses may be on a shared domain (imgeng.in) or customized using a domain that you own. A Delivery Address typically looks something like {random_string}.cdn.imgeng.in. If your images are uploaded to the default WordPress folder /wp-content/uploads/, you can access your optimized images from ImageEngine simply by changing your website domain. For example, by typing {imageengine_domain}.cdn.imgeng.in/wp-content/uploads/myimage.jpg into your browser, you’ll see the optimized version of that image. Just press the copy button next to the Delivery Address and use it in the next step configuring the plugin.

  • Install the ImageEngine Optimizer CDN plugin: The plugin is completely free and can be installed just like any other plugin from the WordPress repository.
  • Configure and enable ImageEngine Plugin in WordPress: Just go to the plugin under “ImageEngine” in the main navigation menu. Then, copy and paste in your ImageEngine “Delivery Address,” tick the “Enabled” checkbox, and click “Save Changes” to enable ImageEngine:

Now, all ImageEngine basically does is replace your WordPress website domain in image URLs with your new ImageEngine Delivery Address. This makes it a simple, lightweight, and non-interfering plugin that works great with most other plugins and themes. It also doesn’t add unnecessary complexity or weight to your WordPress website pages.

ImageEngine vs Built-in WordPress Image Optimization

So, now let’s get down to business by testing the performance improvement you can expect from using ImageEngine to optimize your image assets.

To do this test, we set up a basic WordPress page containing a number of high-quality images. I then used PageSpeed Insights and the Lighthouse Performance Calculator to get the performance scores before and after using ImageEngine.

Importantly, we conducted this test from a mobile-first perspective. Not only has mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic globally, but Google themselves have committed to mobile-first indexing as a result.

Here is a PageSpeed score using the Lighthouse calculator for WordPress with no image optimization:

As we can see, both Core Web Vitals and other important metrics were flagged as “needs improvement.” Specifically, the LCP, FCP, and TBT. In this case, both the LCP and FCP were a high-res featured image at the top of the page.

If we go to the opportunities for improvement highlighted by PageSpeed, we see where the issues come from. We could still save as much as 4.2s of loading time by properly resizing images and a further 2.7s by serving them in next-gen formats:

So, now let’s see how much ImageEngine can improve on that.

The same test run on my WordPress website using ImageEngine got the following results:

As you can see, we now have a 100 PageSpeed score. I saved roughly 2.5s on the SI (~86%) as well as roughly 1.7s on the LCP (~60%). There was also a slight improvement in the FCP.

Not only will you enjoy a stronger page experience signal from Google, but this represents a tangible difference to visitors regarding the speed with which your website loads. That difference will lead to lower bounce rates, increased user satisfaction, and more conversions.

There was also a 53% overall reduction in the total image payload. This is impressive, considering that it’s on top of WordPress’ built-in compression and responsive syntax.

Conclusion

So, as someone with a WordPress website, what can you take away from this?

Well, first of all, WordPress does feature some basic image optimization. And while not perfect, it should help you offer reasonable levels of performance, even if you use a lot of image content.

However, the caveat is that WordPress applies aggressive, across-the-board compression, which will lead to a noticeable reduction in visual quality. If you use WordPress for any type of website where premium quality images are important, this is a concern — for example, as a photography portfolio, exhibition, or image marketplace like Shutterstock.

By using ImageEngine, you can reduce image payloads and accelerate delivery even further without compromising too harshly on visual quality. What’s more, ImageEngine’s adaptive image optimization technology will provide greater improvements to more of your visitors, regardless of what device(s) they use to browse the web.

Whether or not you still want to use WordPress’ built-in optimizations, ImageEngine will deliver significant improvements to your user experience, traffic metrics, and even conversions.

Plus, true to the spirit of WordPress, it’s extremely simple to set up without any advanced configuration. Just sign up for ImageEngine in 3 easy steps, install the plugin, integrate ImageEngine by copy/pasting your image domain, and you’re good to go.

 

[ This is a sponsored post on behalf of ImageEngine ]

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Article Image Life was normal until 2020’s monstrously bad news – Covid – came around. Developers got out of bed, then marched to the office to crunch code as they always do. While inside of the office, they reviewed their goals, played with Git, interacted with their colleagues over a cup (or two) of coffee, and built products relevant to the functionality of the company. Many developers also had side-projects that they would go home and work on during their free time as their hobby.

While in the office, developers would be busy regurgitating code – web developers, for example, would work with PHP, SQL, CSS, Javascript, and its libraries (say, jQuery). Meanwhile, database administrators would think deeply about the performance of their database instances (they would take care of indexing and normalizing their data, or work with big data sets, etc.). Once the code was complete, they’d document it and push it over to GitHub.

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In computer science, there is nothing more fundamental and intuitive than control structures. Every student learned about them in the first few weeks of any computer science program. We could not code without them, period. But they are not set in stone: we did get rid of the infamous GOTO in the 80s!

At the pre-ALGOL meeting held in 1959 Heinz Zemanek explicitly threw doubt on the necessity for GOTO statements; at the time no one paid attention to his remark, including Edsger W. Dijkstra, who later became the iconic opponent of GOTO.[3] The 1970s and 1980s saw a decline in the use of GOTO statements in favor of the « structured programming » paradigm, with goto criticized as leading to « unmaintainable spaghetti code« 

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Jamstack (JAMstack), is one of the most popular (and rapidly growing) tools for app and website creation. A unique ecosystem of functionality, Jamstack promises developers the support they need to create powerful websites and progressive applications. 

For a while, Jamstack was mostly written off as just another buzzword in the developer space. However, today, it’s growing to become a powerful investment for many business leaders. Even big companies are getting involved, like Cloudflare, with Cloudflare pages, and Microsoft with Azure Static Web Apps. Elsewhere, we’ve seen brands like Shopify, PayPal, and Nike getting involved too.

So, what exactly is Jamstack, and is it time you transitioned over? Let’s find out…

What is Jamstack?

Jamstack, otherwise known as “JAMstack,” is the name of a developer ecosystem made up of JavaScript, APIs, and Markup (hence: JAM). The solution is a web development architecture allowing developers to access static website benefits, such as higher security and better performance, while still unlocking dynamic database-oriented CMS.

The Jamstack solution allows companies and developers to build a dynamic website where real assets are pre-rendered static files in a CDN. The dynamic environment runs on JavaScript client-side, through serverless functions. 

For a better insight, let’s compare Jamstack to the LAMP stack development strategy, which originated from the four open-source components many developers used to build sites: Linux, Apache HTTP, MySQL, and PHP.

With LAMP, each user request for a page forces the server to query a database — unless the page is cached — and combine the result with page markup data and plugins. Jamstack websites serve pre-built optimized assets and markup solutions quickly because the files are already compiled on a CDN. There’s no need to query the database. 

Jamstack workflows dramatically reduce cumbersome issues with development and excess maintenance, making them highly appealing to developers. 

What Are the Benefits of Jamstack?

Jamstack won’t be the ideal development tool for everyone, but it has a lot of benefits to offer. By fetching HTML from a CDN, the system doesn’t have to wait for HTML to be combined and returned to clients. The solution also provides an improved developer experience with static methods. 

Using Jamstack, developers can build fantastic static files ready to serve by request, hosted on a global CDN. Some of the biggest benefits of Jamstack include:

  • Performance: Because you’re serving pre-built static files from a CDN directly, you’ll achieve much faster loading times, unmatched by typical server-side rendering options. Because you’re serving static files, you’re also better equipped to handle any traffic spikes you might encounter, with minimal slowdown.
  • User experience: Better website performance significantly improves user experience and website traffic, as well as SEO efforts. User experience has always been a critical factor in ensuring the success of a website, and it’s essential to keeping your customers around for as long as possible. Websites optimized for performance will always delight users. 
  • Security: With Jamstack, there are no servers or databases to worry about. You use third-party solutions to handle these issues for you. The architecture of Jamstack means the back and front end of your development processes are decoupled, and you can rely on APIs to run server-side processes easily. Jamstack also comes with security benefits other approaches can lack. Clear separation of services is essential here. 
  • Hosting and scaling: Scaling and hosting can often be problematic in the development world, but because you’re serving files from a CDN, you’re less likely to encounter issues. CDNs are almost infinitely scalable, so you get excellent extensibility built into your development environment. CDN hosting for static files is also cheaper than traditional hosting, so you can keep costs low. 
  • Maintenance: Jamstack makes it easy to push your front end to the edge rather than managing infrastructure directly. Ditching plugins, databases, and other hosting services can help you to save more time and money on a significant scale. 
  • Developer experience: From a developer perspective, there are tons of benefits from Jamstack. You get the ease of a Github, CI/CD, CDN flow, and auto previews with simple rollback to reduce the need for backups. Local developer environments and the ability to run and debug cloud functions locally are all fantastic.

Does Jamstack Have any Limitations?

In a lot of ways, Jamstack is an innovative and revolutionary solution for development. It can help you to create a far more engaging website and present your company in an incredible way. Of course, that doesn’t mean there are no limitations to be aware of. 

Jamstack is developer-friendly, for instance, but it’s not beginner-friendly. You will need at least some knowledge of web development to start unlocking the benefits. You’ll need to understand things like Vue or React, but you should develop a tool anyone can use with a bit of work.

There’s also a handful of things you can’t pre-generate, like user-specific and real-time data. So, this means you may not be able to use Jamstack effectively on projects requiring these kinds of data. Building an analytics dashboard, for instance, probably isn’t a good idea with Jamstack. Other issues for some developers may include:

  • API complexity: It can be overwhelming to try and find the right solution for your needs among so many different options. Of course, this could also be something you’d say about the WordPress ecosystem and its huge variety of plugins. An API usually won’t break your production website, at least. 
  • Long building processes: If you have a large number of pages, there’s more likely to be an extensive building process to think about. Whenever you make a change to a single page, even a little one, you’ll need to rebuild your entire website. This is a problem if you run into a website with thousands of pages. There are solutions to this problem available, however.
  • Handling dynamics: Going with Jamstack doesn’t mean abandoning your backend. An important part of the approach is accessing serverless functions, which are becoming more effective over time. These serverless functions can also be executed on the edge. The backend parts of your website will require regular maintenance as they scale.

Best Jamstack Tools to Check Out

Now you know the basics of Jamstack, let’s look at some of the tools you can use to design an incredible website or application within the Jamstack environment. 

The Git Tool Landscape

There are tons of tools within the Git ecosystem common among Jamstack developers. Starting with Git itself. Git represents a powerful free, and open-sourced distributed version control system. With this solution, companies can handle everything from small to enterprise-level projects with efficiency and speed. The solution is extremely easy to use and learn, and outclasses a range of tools like Perforce, ClearCase and Subversion. 

GitHub Pages and GitLab pages are two hosting services for Git repositories with built-in services to host static pages from out of your codebase. This makes the two solutions fantastic for when you’re building a Jamstack website. You can access the functionality for free too. 

GitLab gives you a comprehensive DevOps platform to work with, where you can enjoy a comprehensive CI/CD toolchain out of the box. The comprehensive solution, delivered as a single application, changes the way security, development, and Ops teams integrate and collaborate. Gitlab helps to accelerate software delivery on a massive scale.

AWS Amplify

AWS Amplify, created by Amazon Web Services, is a development platform packed full of useful features for people in the Jamstack environment. The Amplify offering aims to reduce the complexities associated with Amazon Web Services for mobile and web deployment. You get 12 months of hosting for free with new accounts, and you get Storage with Amplify too. 

The Amazon Amplify solution dramatically improves the regular AWS workflow, especially if you’re just a novice user. There’s a huge documentation hub to help you too, which is way more convenient than Amazon’s usual documentation solutions. Amplify is still accessed from a somewhat bloated console, however. 

With AWS Amplify, companies can access features like a comprehensive data store to sync data between the cloud and websites. There’s also easy-to-use interface access across all different categories of cloud operations. The service works well with a range of JavaScript central tools. 

Netlify

Netlify is a pioneering solution in the Jamstack environment, allowing users to go dynamic with their websites and applications on their own terms. You can access a range of add-ons and integration, access your favorite tools, and make your own. The flexible environment enables developers to run websites on a multi-cloud infrastructure designed for speed and scale automation. 

Built to be entirely secure from the ground up, Netlify makes it easy to build a site that’s custom-made for performance and deployed directly. You don’t need to worry about managing, scaling and patching web services, which means you can more quickly implement your Jamstack architecture. 

Unlike other large legacy apps, Jamstack projects are neatly separate from your front-end pages and UI from the backend databases and apps with Netlify. Using this service, the entire front-end can be pre-built with highly optimized static assets and pages, and developers can deliver new web projects faster than ever before.

Next.JS

Inspired by the functionality of PHP, Next.JS is a solution for pre-rendered JavaScript modules. The solution allows developers to easily export the components of their apps and perform individual tests to determine how each element works. You can also access a wide range of components and modules from NPM. The Next offering allows developers to save time, removing the need to use webpack bundles and transform with compilers. 

The full solution is extremely intuitive, ensuring developers can create solutions quickly. What’s more, the technology you build will allow you to load only the bundle needed from your JavaScript workflow, rather than all the JavaScript at once. Pre-fetching, one of the features of Next.JS, also picks up where standard code-splitting leaves off, allowing for optimized bundles of code to load seamlessly. 

Next.JS also supports hot-module replacement. This means instead of reloading an entire application when you change the code, you only recreate the modules you’ve altered.

Angular

Probably the most widely-recognized of all the JavaScript frameworks, Angular, designed by Google engineers, appeared first in 2012, offering developers a new way to create dynamic pages. Before this technology, there were other opportunities for creating dynamic pages, but they were nowhere near as convenient or speedy. 

Angular is probably one of the most essential tools companies can use when building a Jamstack website or environment. The front-end web development tool attracts developers from all over the world. Every version is packed with features and constantly upgraded to ensure you can generate the best results. 

Angular extends HTML file functionality with powerful directives, and it requires very little effort to enable these directives too. All you do is add the ng- prefix to your HTML attributes and you’re ready to go. Angular also allows developers to create widgets leveraging editable data with two-way binding. This means developers don’t have to write code that syncs constantly between the model and view. 

With Angular, developers also get access to things like virtual scrolling, which can help with displaying large lists of elements performantly, rendering on the items that fit on the screen to reduce loading times. 

React

Another must-have tool in the JavaScript world for Jamstack, the React solution was launched first in 2013, and has won thousands of customers across the globe thanks to fantastic functionality. Today, the full landscape is maintained by Facebook, along with all the members of the standard developer community. The solution is used by some of the biggest giants in the tech industry, like Netflix, PayPal, and Apple. 

React is a true pioneer in the Jamstack ecosystem, with its sensational approach to simple and straightforward solutions for JavaScript management. You’ll be able to access batched and virtual DOM updates, which makes it easier to unlock components quickly, and write your components the way you see them. There’s also the added benefit that React is compatible with a lot of tools. 

You can build a comprehensive app or website with the help of React, and you’ll have no trouble accessing some of the top features, particularly with plenty of support available from the React community. 

Gatsby

Created from the ground up to improve user experience on a comprehensive level, Gatsby is a static site generator with heavy focus on things like SEO, performance, and accessibility. The solution offers plenty of out-of-the-box features to help developers deliver the most immersive solution for their users, without unnecessary complexity. 

Gatsby users pre-configuration to develop static websites giving developers faster loading pages, stronger code splitting, and server-side rendering. You can also access features like data prefetching, asset optimization, and quick image loading. Gatsby boasts excellent documentation and starter packs to help you get your site up and running more quickly.

The GraphQL data layer of Gatsby also means the system can collect your data from anywhere, including your CMS, JSON, Markdown, and APIs. More than just your standard site generator, this is a tool built specifically with performance in mind. 

Agility CMS

Developing an effective Jamstack website means having access to the right CMS technology. Agility CMS wasn’t the first CMS solution to support Jamstack, but it is one of the better-known options. As one of the first headless CMS solutions to hit the market, the company has quickly captured the attention of a huge range of developers worldwide.

Agility CMS is a Jamstack pioneer, capable of helping developers to build a foundation for any online ecosystem. The technology is an API-first CMS with support for REST APIs, so developers can connect all the third-party apps and front-end frameworks they like.

The technology also gives developers the freedom to code their solutions their way. You don’t have to follow a specific set of guidelines for how content is created, but templates are available to fast-track development. Agility CMS also hosts and abstracts your database, so you don’t have to worry about connection strings, backups, and maintenance. 

With a strong content architecture to help companies manage digital content and a partnership with Gatsby, Agility is ideal for Jamstack development strategies. 

Building Your Jamstack Website

The Jamstack solution is more than just a buzzword in today’s development world. This unique approach to building incredible development experiences delivers an excellent advantage to both developers and their end-users. Fast, scalable, and full of solutions for customization, Jamstack is a powerful way to bring websites to life with simplicity and speed. 

Every day, more companies take advantage of the Jamstack environment, and we’re constantly seeing a wide selection of new tools, APIs and offerings emerging to help enhance the Jamstack landscape too. This environment is definitely worth consideration for any developer looking to significantly speed up their development strategy.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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