I’m one of those “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I’ve got so many different projects going on in different areas all at the same time. Over the past few. years, I’ve developed a habit involving a lethal dose of coffee and a couple of apps just to keep my head screwed on. I’m sure I would be better off dropping the number of things I have going on and laser focusing on just a couple… but that’s boring. I’d much rather run around like my hair is on fire in an urgent burst of heroics to get everything done on time and with quality. It makes me sleep sound at night.
That said, I have come across several tips, tricks, tools, and websites that have helped me to pull it all together and cross the finish line every time. There are too many to list in a single post so I’m going to focus on just a couple. Theses are specific to images.
I often develop simple pages for my domains. But in this case I was actually just working on a website development project for a client and was performing some QA review when I stopped to write this post. I just used these two tools that I have come to take for granted but they ultimately save me a ton of time. I decided to take a quick break and share them with you here.
The first is pixabay.com which always reminds me of the pirate bay when I type the url. Is that intentional? Don’t know. Don’t really care. Pixabay.com is, as defined by the site itself as, “… a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.”
Yes, free royalty-free images. The best part about it is that they don’t suck. I almost always find an image of high quality that fits the need I have at the moment. In this case, I am testing the backend CMS of a website and I want to ensure images upload and display properly. Because the customer will see these images, I want them to be decent in case they actually want to use them on the site. I also want them to be free because I don’t want to invest in stock images that are not included in our agreement.
There are dozens of free image sites that I have used in the past but none of them compare to pixabay.com. The photography and quality are almost on par with the high end stock image sites. Almost. I’ve used some of the other free sites in the past and struggled to find something I was looking for. In one case, I was contacted by an organization saying I was using one of the images without permission. Uh, I downloaded it from this “free” site.
Sometimes I don’t really give a crap about what the image looks like, it’s more important to get an image with the proper dimensions. Sure, I could pretty quickly spit something out of Photoshop in the size I need, upload it, then link to it in the site to see what it looks like. But if it’s not the right size, then I have to change the size in Photoshop and repeat the process. Depending on how many pages and images I’m dealing with, this could take some time.
Instead, wouldn’t just be easier to type a dummy link with an image size? Why, yes Mike, that would be much easier. Thankfully, the sources behind placeholder.com agree and have made it so. You can quickly create an image placeholder by typing a simple url in your html. Here’s an example. By typing the following:
<a href=”https://placeholder.com”><img src=”http://via.placeholder.com/350×150″></a>
you’ll insert this image placeholder on your page:
There are many free services like this, such as dummyimage.com, but I prefer placeholder.com just because it’s easy for me to remember, which makes it more efficient in my mind. There are a couple additional features and options, but this is the primary purpose of the tool and it does it’s job.
I think you’ll get a great deal of use out of these tools if you haven’t been using them already. If you have any tools you’d like to share, post a comment and let us all know.