New Capture Generators Coming Soon (v5-0-2)

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puravida
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We just finished a major overhaul to our web page screenshot technology, launched on 05/18/2016. It has only been 45 days since then, and while it has been running fairly well, we have seen that the underlying foundations have some issues that will become bigger issues in the next few years. I was already in the process of testing and coding a brand-new version of screenshot code, so I just put more of a priority on it. Now, this completely new version is nearly ready to begin mixing in with existing capture generators, for LIVE testing.

We will begin a small phase-in, monitor closely and test. Then, we will analyze the results and fix the inevitable bugs and issues and repeat the process until we are confident that everything is running better than ever. I am also planning to run a limited BETA, where a few users will be able to target these new generators, and have them process requests, specifically. This way, we will get valuable user feedback on using only these generators. After 30-60 days of running flawlessly, we will convert the system to the new version.

Here's an overview of the benefits of the new screenshot technology:

  • captures 100%-200% faster in all cases (up to 700% in some cases),
  • overcomes numerous limitations of Adobe Flash (which is unsupported by Adobe on Linux*),
  • adds better support for Full-Length captures (slow-loading images, video, "lazy loaded" & hidden elements, etc),
  • significantly reduces the need to micromanage custom delay on slow-loading sites, to avoid partial captures, while still remaining extremely fast on average sites**,
  • fixes issues with large viewports failing on certain complex sites,
  • adds support for sites with SSL certificate errors,
  • adds support for "Custom User Agent",
  • adds support for "true" Mobile screenshots,
  • adds support for "Custom Locale" (language-specific captures),
  • greatly improves "BLANK_DETECTED" support to become 100% accurate***
  • significantly improves FONT rendering support (for MAC OS quality font rendering!)
  • adds support to segregate capture generators into classes (i.e. free vs paid)****
  • and paves the way for more great, new features that are planned.

*Adobe ceased support for Flash on Linux in 2012 (stuck at v11.2) and will cease security patches on May 4th, 2017. PCWorld Article on Adobe abandonment of Flash on Linux

**There is no perfect way to detect when a page is completely loaded, which has been a hotly debated topic over the years, but our capture platform has done a very good job over that time. Our captures have taken a bit longer than some of the newcomers on the scene, in recent years, but we preferred to show accuracy over speed. This new code, though, allows us to more accurately detect page loading and monitor each individual resource and analyze what the page is actually doing. So, we have a sort of "fuzzy intelligence" that now allows us to increase the delay, on-the-fly, for slow-loading or problematic pages. Before, with any service, the user would have to notice the incomplete capture and retry it with a delay. The new code will all but eliminate the need to specify a custom delay, except for rare cases and special needs.

***Our BLANK_DETECTED support has always been just "adequate" and would yield a false positive when there was a small amount of text on a page OR with images that were larger than the default sizes. Now, this detection works flawlessly, with zero false positives out of 10,000s of tests thus far, across many image sizes. Extremely long, full-length pages that yield images exceeding 10,000px in height may not detect correctly but those would be rare cases to actually be blank.

****In an effort to greatly cut costs, we have decided to take the intuitive step of defining capture generators into classes. I have always wanted to provide THE BEST speed and support, across the board, for ALL users. However, it has become necessary to cut costs, although the new screenshot engine is so much faster that the "slower" class capture generators, currently running in BETA testing, are capturing as fast, and faster in some cases, than the primary service we have been running on. So, the higher, paying classes will be even faster to capture and dedicated capture generators (planned for later this year or early next) will be even faster than those!

puravida's picture
puravida
Jedi Warrior
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2007
Visit puravida's Website

I added a couple of items to the list, along with footnotes.

- greatly improves "BLANK_DETECTED" support to become 100% accurate***
- significantly improves FONT rendering support (for MAC OS quality font rendering!)
- adds support to segregate capture generators into classes (i.e. free vs paid)****

Please note that a few, new capture generators have been launched, LIVE, for BETA testing.

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