Open Source Website Screenshot Instant Previews

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puravida's picture
Jedi Warrior
Joined: 09/01/2007
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Note: Originally posted in the STW Blog (deprecated and removed) on 12/28/2010


Since ShrinkTheWeb began providing its website screenshot service a couple of years back, we have seen an exciting amount of free code being shared (some on our site but mostly on individual sites). After some discussion, we have been kicking around ideas on how to better promote free and open source code among our users.

We are inviting suggestions on how to facilitate an open source community based on our service. This can range from using a popular third-party open source collaboration site to becoming more active in our own "developer's corner" area of the forum. All suggestions are welcome and encouraged. We would really like to see a lot more development using our basic framework and sample source codes as guides. In fact, many users would really love to see some vast improvements to our existing sample code.

The capturing of website screenshots happens automatically (behind-the-scenes) and the "instant previews" can be accessed using our API. Therefore, it's really the software component that accesses the API that is important to get users up-and-running quickly.

Our goal is to eliminate the need for purchasing stand-alone "website screenshot" software and to enable users with ready-made code across multiple languages (PHP, .NET, C, ASP, etc) with add-on support (such as AJAX, Javascript, etc).

Since the process of capturing and updating website screenshots is an on-going task that requires servers and storage, a dedicated infrastructure is required and must be maintained. Our core service is paid for by users who exceed certain bandwidth allowances. However, more than 95% of our users are free and never need to pay. So by assisting with open source development, riding on our API, you will be empowering a fast growing niche targeting web developers and designers. You will be helping them get started with no up-front costs or software to purchase, with the possibility of them contacting you for upgrades/mods/enhancements. Additionally, for those projects that are very well done and gain traction, we typically sponsor further development and integration. We have already sponsored a good many, related projects.

Be sure to get the credit you deserve! If you have a related project, post it here. Add your credits to the source code and attach it. Once reviewed, we will verify the author and approve it. The open source code may be added to the "developer's corner" area of the forum and may also get a spot on our "plugins" page. Some extremely noteworthy open source code may receive mention in a special announcement to our members (along with proper credit, of course!). So please pitch in and let us know what you think!

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