Category Archives: General

Why Animated GIFs Suck

Not only does the ever-popular animated GIF have an extremely limited color palette (256 colors), due to its roots in the 1980s, but its primitive compression is a colossal waste of bandwidth. A modern video format produces files a fraction of the size, and with far superior image quality.

Take this clip as an example:

WebM (94KB) & H.264 (141KB) Video

Animated GIF (1741KB)

The fancy HTML video loads in a fraction of the time, and plays more smoothly. Note that, in this example, there’s no quality difference because I converted an existing GIF into a video. (This is the same process GfyCat uses.)

This is a pretty big deal in a world with slow connection speeds and puny cellular data caps. Watching about a thousand GIFs the size of this one (which is fairly modest as far as GIF file sizes ago) would easily put you over a 2GB data cap.

If you’re interested in converting GIFs to a proper image format, I made a fun command-line tool called GIFnuke. You can run it on a file, or a URL, and it will use ffmpeg to produce a tiny WebM file automatically. (No MP4 version yet, you’ll have to do that manually if you need it.)

The Lost Type Co-op

Looking for some good, high-quality fonts? In a similar vein to the League of Moveable Type, the Lost Type Co-op provides a selection of elegant typefaces using a pay-what-you-want model. Many of the available fonts feature a “@font-face” badge that signifies that the creator…

IMDB Search JSON

How IMDB’s Speedy Search Suggestions Work

If you type a few letters into the search field over at the Internet Movie Database, you might notice how fast it is. That’s because they’re not served dynamically from their primary servers. IMDB, instead, serves the JSON data for search suggestions from a…

Best of 2012

Today Webmaster-Source enters its seventh year. Historically I have done a quick roundup of some of the more interesting posts from the previous year, and I intend to continue with that tradition going into the new year. So, without further ado, let us recap.…

Mozilla Persona: Single Sign On Finally Done Right?

Mozilla Persona, the rebranded name for the foundation’s BrowserID project, just reached its public beta stage. The goal of the project is to create a distributed identity system that removes the need to register and log in to every site you visit. You’ll have…

An Apple

Commonly Misused Proverbs

It’s interesting how commonly-used aphorisms eventually become used in a context opposite to their actual meaning. One particularly egregious example is the phrase “it’s just a few bad apples,” frequently used to defend a group or organization from the actions of a few. Variations…

Prediction: Higher Resolution MacBooks Soon to Come

The addition of a 2048×1536 pixel “retina” display on the latest model of the iPad has created an interesting conundrum: many developers will no longer be able to fit the iOS Simulator on their computer screens. If you toggle it into the mode added…

What is a Kibibyte?

If there are eight bits in a byte, how many bytes are there in a kilobyte? If you’re familiar with computers, you might say 1,024, while someone who is less so may say 1,000. Who is right? Surprisingly, the person who answered 1,000 would…

Twitter’s Bootstrap CSS Redesigned to Look Like Facebook

I guess it was only a matter of time. Someone has taken Twitter’s Bootstrap CSS project and re-skinned it to look a bit more like Facebook. FBootstrap, as it is called, should be very useful for those who make Facebook applications and enhancements for…

Best of 2011

Well, it’s been another year of blogging. 2011 was a pretty busy year for me, and I got a few fun projects done. Minimus, my free Mac application for easily compressing CSS and JavaScript, is one such thing. Anyway, now’s the time when I…

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