Cloudinary is a SaaS product that provides, true to the name, a cloud-based digital asset management (DAM) system. It is intended for any size web platform that wants their content distribution to be handled more efficiently.
They offer a free starter plan for 1 site, with limits on storage and transformation features. More details can be found on the Cloudinary website.
We're writing this post because recently a client of ours selected it as their DAM system, and we wanted to share what we have learned about it. Here are some of the ways Cloudinary helps managing digital assets for web products:
Dynamically select the most efficient format
Automatically adjust the compression quality
Automatically scale and crop images to fit the page layout
Dynamically switch between multiple CDNs
Dynamically create SEO friendly Delivery URLs
Support for almost all popular development frameworks
Easily copy images on the fly from other sources
In particular, we're going to focus on a specific time-saving feature we think you may find very useful.
Copy images on the fly from other sources.
Copying images from one cloud storage to another cloud storage is normally a tedious task. But with Cloudinary it is super easy.
Before the migration, you first need to give rights to Cloudinary to copy images from the source cloud. It can be Google Cloud Storage, S3 etc.
You can get your cloud name from your Cloudinary account.
By adding this file to your source cloud, you give authority for Cloudinary to copy images from the cloud.
Cloudinary has an auto upload feature which specifies the source URL from where to copy images into Cloudinary. Check the References link to see how you can specify the URL.
The good thing is that it will not copy all the images in one go. Whenever someone renders the page for first time, it will copy the image from source and paste it into your Cloudinary account.
One thing to keep in mind: if you are copying already transformed images then it might affect image quality, because Cloudinary is again transforming images based on browser and device size.
You can also specify the folder into which you want to copy all the images.
When should you not use Cloudinary?
If you only need to store raw files such as .xls, .pdf, .txt, you don't really need Cloudinary. For every file you upload, Cloudinary creates a transformation of it. For example, if you upload 1 pdf file with 11 pages; it will then create 11 new transformations plus the original one. So if you want to display your pdf pages in image format then Cloudinary is useful, otherwise it wastes space against your transformation and space limit.
In the next post, I will be showing how image handling using Rails + ActiveStorage + Cloudinary works. Stay tuned!
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