I find it very satisfying to highly optimize web pages for speed, and I’m always looking for something to make my website just a little bit faster. In fact, the theme I use is called Speed. One area that was lacking on my WordPress install was image optimization. At work, we have a script that runs jpegoptim over all our images every night to make sure they are as lightweight as possible. However, I use WordPress for my personal website, and there’s one thing I always tell my web design class: if you can dream it up, someone has probably already written a wordpress plugin for it. In this case, there were two plugins, but for various reasons, they didn’t work for this site.
The two plugins were WP Smush.it and CW Image Optimizer. Since they didn’t work for me, I decided to fork CW Image Optimizer, and write a new plugin that would run on my site. That’s part of the beauty of using open source software. You can take the work that others have done, and improve upon it. There’s more details over at the plugin page, so I won’t rehash all the rationale behind writing my own plugin for image optimization. In short, I did it just for me, and my web consulting business, but I kind of hoped someone else could benefit from it, so I submitted it to the WordPress Plugin repository. I was shocked by the results. I published the plugin just over 5 days ago, and it has already seen almost 500 downloads. I’ve gotten several support requests, and since the results have been so fabulous, I’ve even added some additional functionality to it. The main reason I’m writing this is to encourage open source developers, especially those in the WordPress realm. If you’ve considered getting involved, but wondered if it was worthwhile, stop wondering, and just dig in. You may not always be able to see the results quite so transparently, but it’ll be worth it anyway.