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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
WebThumb contest ends on the 15th
January 10, 2007 @ 07:13:00

Joshua Eichorn has a reminder about the WebThumb (a PHP-based website thumbnailing service) contest that he's having.

The WebThumb contest ends on the 15th. I know there are couple projects out there that haven't officially entered. If you want to have a chance to win an upgraded Webthumb account make sure to get your entries in, the contest website has all the details.

The WebThumb service is a web service that allows remote users to request a thumbnail of a site and, when it's ready, automatically fetch it to be used however they want. You can even defined custom heights and widths for the browser to use.

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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
New Webthumb feature, Easythumb
November 30, 2006 @ 13:09:59

Joshua Eichorn has posted an update on his blog today about a change to the PHP-powered WebThumb API service - the addition of "EasyThumb".

Like the rest of webthumb its still in beta but it makes adding thumbnails too a site much easier. Easythumb gives you a simple interface to WebThumb letting people with minimal PHP skills integrate WebThumb into there site.

He includes a basic example script to get you started with the new feature as well as a bare-bones code example for the same kind of thing.

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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
Official WebThumb Contest rules published
October 23, 2006 @ 13:56:00

Joshua Eichorn has posted the official contest rules for the WebThumb Contest announced a short while back.

The contest runs until November 30th, and the top 5 submitters will all win upgraded WebThumb accounts. The top submitter will also win a copy of my book, Understanding AJAX.

Since previously, all that was required was a comment on this blog entry, people who've posted there need to listen up - an official submission needs to be made. Check out this page for the complete rules and all of the information you need to include in the submission email.

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Zend Developer Zone:
Consuming WebThumb's API in PHP
October 17, 2006 @ 13:57:19

On the Zend Developer Zone today, there's a tutorial put together by Cal Evans showing how to use the WebThumb API via a PHP 5 script.

It's a simple service on the surface. You hand it a URL, it gives you back a thumbnail of that web site. At first glance you may think..."ok, why?" The answer to that is of course, "it depends".

He gives examples of reasons it would be needed (designers wanting to show off screenshots of a site or a replacement for Alexa's thumbnailing service) and the code that is needed to make things work. The script asks for the three properties the API needs - a URL for the target site, the height of the browser "window" taking the shot, and the width of this same "window".

Cal show examples of the messages sent back and forth and includes the code for the PHP 5 class to make the request along with some sample usage code. The class makes a basic HTTP request to the API with the XML payload and waits for the response - an estimate of the time for the job and the URL that the results can be found at.

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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
Webthumb API additions
October 02, 2006 @ 16:13:01

In light of the popularity of his WebThumb site thumbnailing service, Joshua Eichorn is implementing a new feature to help reduce the number of requests to the server. The most popular request is made to see if a thumbnail is ready, and the new feature - a GET callback to the server making the request - will help to reduce them.

If you wondered an API that requires polling isn't a very good thing for scalability. On my current setup I can pretty easily handle about 20 status requests per second on top of my normal traffic, the problem is its not hard for a bad polling implmentation being run by one user to make that many requests.

To solve this problem im adding an addition to the Webthumb API that will allow you to skip polling all together. The basic idea is that your make an API request and when your thumbnail is complete i'll make a GET request back too your server telling you that the request is complete.

It's a simple matter of including a new "notify" tag in the XML message to the server with a URL to make the callback to. He even includes some sample PHP code to get you started with the new feature. The script handles the automatic download of the thumbnails when called from the WebThumb service.

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Hasin Hayder's Blog:
Creating Thumbnail of WebPages using WebThumb API
September 06, 2006 @ 06:15:15

From Hasin Hayder's blog, there's a new tutorial demonstrating how to use the newly released WebThumb API from Joshua Eichorn to create thumbnails of websites dynamically.

Using WebThumb API, you can generate a thumbnail in three steps. First you have to place a request containing the URL. As soon as your request is successful, WebThumb store your request in queue. That means you are not getting the thumbnail instantly (well, there are other factors also. to fetch an url requires time, so it is not possible to generate the thumbnail in real time).

In second step you have to check whether your thumbnail has been generated or it is still in the queue. If you get a green signal, you will proceed to the third step where you have to request a download URL of your thumbnails.

He shows how to make a request to the API, check how your request is doing (status), and grabbing the thumbnail it's generated. Then, it's on to the code, and a complete PHP script (using cURL) to make the complete request to the API, including waiting for the image to be finished to grab it.

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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
Adding AJAX to a website step by step
August 08, 2006 @ 11:59:44

Joshua Eichorn has posted this new tutorial to his site today, a detailed look at how to add Ajax to just about any site out there with the help of the HTML_AJAX PEAR package.

When looking at a adding AJAX you have a couple decisions you'll want to make up front. One is what tools your going to use. In the webthumb case thats pretty easy. Webthumb is a simple PHP app and doesn't use a framework, so I need a nice general PHP/AJAX framework that is easy to use, HTML_AJAX fits that need.

After picking my tools I need to decide what my goals are. My main focus will be to improve usability, but I also want to use AJAX to make the site seem a bit flashier, so its a bit of a technology demo too.

He uses his own current project, Webthumb as an illustration of his points including looks at remoting, a RequestStatus class, exporting a class with the HTML_AJAX package, and finally, making the Ajax calls.

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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
Webthumb updates
July 20, 2006 @ 05:42:42

Joshua Eichorn has a new update on his Webthumb application he's mentioned before, noting some of the issues/updates that he's worked through so far.

Webthumb got off the ground yesterday without too many problems. It ran into problems right out of the gate since a large number of sites don't seem to want to finish loading correctly. I also updated the server config, Webthumb now supports flash (version 7), and has a lot more fonts installed so sites that need non-latin characters should be working correctly.

He's also laid out some "feature goals" that he'd like ot add in eventually, including better URLs, a searching method for thumbnails, and user accounts.

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Joshua Eichorn's Blog:
Webthumb
July 19, 2006 @ 05:52:04

As an offshoot from a previous project, Joshua Eichorn has extended his code and created Webthumb, an automatic way to create thumbnails of any website out there.

So about 11 months (wow that long time ago, feels like last month) I used some code I had lying around to make some thumbnails of all the planet php blogs. Work priorities has finally allowed me to work on that code base again, and I was able to get things up to a usable state.

The result of this, is a new project. A website that lets you grab snapshots of any website at any time. The result is 3 different images, one at 800600, one at 160120 and one at 8060.

He includes an example shot of his website to give you an idea of the results. You can also go to the project's page and enter in a URL of your choice to test it out. He also tries to answer a few questions about the script such as "How does it work?" and "Is there a webservice API?".

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