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Animated GIFs in listings are not longer possible


tarant75
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Until now it was possible to insert images from external websites. This was even the most used possibility to add images to listings of geocaches and trackables. But since a few days this is consequently prevented and you have to upload images to geocaching.com. I would actually have no problem with this, however it is not implemented cleanly. I have created hundreds of listings with animated images. And now I have a problem.


During the upload all animated GIFs are broken. The upload process destroys the animation and it is quite obviously a bug. The previous embedded animated images via the imgproxy are displayed (See as an example here: https://imgproxy.geocaching.com/4c975e3ac329c1fb7438a40b4afd35406d9efa56?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftarant.ch%2FGC%2Fcart.gif ). So it's just about the upload process, which quite obviously changes something about GIFs.


I wrote twice to the support. Twice I got a standard reply (in the spirit: Thanks for the feedback, but we've received so many suggestions about our website and app that we're not really thinking of doing it anytime soon). And this is completely without taking into account that actually a feature that existed for several years before without any problems was simply destroyed by a supposedly better update, thus worsening the service.

 

This is a bug, which is probably relatively easy to fix, if a programmer would take care of it. During development, the upload process was most likely never properly tested with animated GIFs. But for that it should not be simply filed under "it's nice, but nobody is interested" until it is completly forgotten.

 

Thank you for taking care of this and not just putting it aside. Geocaching lives from the fact that creative ideas can be implemented. Not only outdoors at the physical caches, but also in the listings. That's why it's important.

 

Edited by tarant75
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Thank you for that information. Now I have found out that it still goes via Dropbox. But why Dropbox of all things remains accepted is a mystery to me. Actually, they should just program a clean upload that does not break animated GIFs. Would already eliminate most concerns and actual problems.

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The website transcodes all uploads; reportedly to reduce the file size. This leads to faster load times on slow networks.

 

GIFs, unfortunately, use lossess compression, which usually leads to large files. This doesn't bode well with the objective described above.

 

I think that this was a well intentioned change, but could have been executed better (communicated better, too.)

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4 minutes ago, Hügh said:

The website transcodes all uploads; reportedly to reduce the file size. This leads to faster load times on slow networks.

 

The explanation eventually given by a lackey in this thread was that all images are internally transcoded to progressive jpeg so it will look prettier for people with slow connections. Progressive jpeg goes from blurry to sharp instead of building the image line by line, but it doesn't load any faster than non-progressive jpeg. For some images that consist of large areas of the same colour (for example graphics rather than photos), a PNG or GIF might be smaller than the equivalent jpeg, but they still get transcoded and will load slower than the original.

 

The other annoying thing with their transcoding is they don't change the suffix of the file to .jpg even though that's now what's inside it.

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30 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

The explanation eventually given by a lackey in this thread was that all images are internally transcoded to progressive jpeg so it will look prettier for people with slow connections. Progressive jpeg goes from blurry to sharp instead of building the image line by line, but it doesn't load any faster than non-progressive jpeg. For some images that consist of large areas of the same colour (for example graphics rather than photos), a PNG or GIF might be smaller than the equivalent jpeg, but they still get transcoded and will load slower than the original.

 

The other annoying thing with their transcoding is they don't change the suffix of the file to .jpg even though that's now what's inside it.

 

Ah; didn't see that thread. Makes sense.

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The file extension thing irks me the most.  But, also the fact that while the reasoning given is to favour slow connections, and the issues listed by jeff are still outstanding, they still allow approved 3rd party hosts to serve those "bulky" images raw as intended anyway. Seems like it makes the transcoding of such images on gc.com pointless.

 

However, there's perhaps the fact that of the research they've done (assuming they have), they've concluded that there are more errantly provided GIFs or PNGs that are bulky and intended to be standard images than special GIFs (animated) or PNGs (transparent) that are desired to be kept in their original form, so felt it worth the trade-off to have the latter - assumed to be owned by users who are more tech savvy - do the extra work of hosting off-site, so that those unintentional large images are 'fixed' by default.

 

And that may address my main irk as well - in the former case where the image format doesn't matter (just serve'em all as jpg), then as long as a viewer isn't using an old browser which prioritizes file extension over content type (or image spec analysis), then file extension won't matter anyway...  and in the latter case the owner will move the image off-site to serve properly where the file extension is either in sync or non-existent.

 

It's an annoyance that's effectively resolved by the minor irritation of the likely more tech savvy users to find a workaround themselves, with the goal that the 'default' benefits will outweigh that extra work they do.  Kind of a chinsey way around it, but perhaps effective? 

...except now that strategy just irks me as one working in IT. :P

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