A couple of years ago, image and video management did not constitute a major challenge for a development team. Also, clients did not usually demanded the highest speed of the product, and there was not any trouble impacting our services’ performance (among other issues we face today). Thus, everything related to multimedia was stored directly in the same infraestructure.
Image oriented services such as “tinypc” or “yfrog” (later ImageShack), among others, were the first to consider the issues related to multimedia. Those services were used and recommended by users in forums where they exchanged information on how to upload images to share them later with the community.
Now, which are the challenges today, when multimedia is such a vital part of our projects’ functionalities?
- When a user uploads an image or video, he is not worrying about its size but its quality. One way to control what users upload is delimiting the files’ format and size.
- When you obtain a significant amount of files, they generate costs on infraestructure (or disk space, to give it a muggler term), so it has to be considered a way of backing up, which also generates expense. There are techniques in the cloud that allow us to lower the expense, like S3 from Amazon, but you need a little more experience because you will be responsible for making all the settings that enable to generate copies or backups.
- If the speed in which our app is downloaded on our clients’ devices is affected, so is the bandwidth we use for a server to serve the content completely.
- If processing, change in formats, filter application, properties modification (among other tasks) are necessary, a no minor effort is required from the device.
- Given the case we have to display videos in different types of devices and formats, we will have to make copies or conversions in our servers, possibly using our own library or others’.
In the XXI century, when information technologies solve so many of people’s needs, we can delegate the responsability to a provider.
Cloudinary is an image/video-oriented service. There are different benefits which solve several issues and we find quite appealing.
- It allows us to use its infraestructure to reduce latency, improving the client’s experience.
- It serves different video/images formats and can manipulate them in a simple way through an URL and in real time.
- There are libraries available to users with MIT licence, which allow us to adapt them if necessary, and ensures that they are in constant development.
- Cloudinary and its community provide support to many marketplaces from different products, which proves that the integration of these type of products is really simple.
- It manages version control of files and integrates machine learning. So we know we can search through metatags of the files we have uploaded.
- It can be integrated with other services, like Addons, wich makes it even more powerful.
- Documentation is good enough to solve the majority of the problems we face.
- It has a quite potent free version. We can use Cloudinary from the beginning of the project without expense and start paying when the app requires so.
In short, Cloudinary proves to be a very complete tool to solve issues related to image and video manipulation. Besides, the service offers some interesting characteristics that may add add value to the service, without further effort.