Plugin Review: cSprites for WordPress
What is cSprites for WordPress?
cSprites for WordPress plugin helps speed up your blog by reducing the number of requests made for images. When activated all images within a post will automatically be stitched up and displayed properly as compressed CSS sprites.
Before activating, all images within a post are being retrieved using separate requests.
After activating, all images are stitched together into one compressed image and retrieved using only one request.
The plugin then uses CSS magic to display these image sprites properly within the post.
- Quality and style settings let you specify the compression level for the stitched up image sprite.
- Ability to include/exclude certain types.
- Cache expiration tuning.
- SEO Options for SEO nerds.
What I Like About It
cSprites for WordPress was written to do one thing (convert all post images into compressed image sprites to speed up your blog) and it does it very well.
Installation was very easy. Just download it, activate it, and all your post images automatically turn into images sprites.
Just because you use image sprites doesn’t mean that you should lose SEO. I like that this plugin does not ignore SEO and there are SEO options for displaying any ALT or TITLE text you want.
Next, this plugin supports caching image sprites, so it automatically includes external images into image sprites for you. Because of this, you are also saving external domain DNS resolutions to help make each page load even faster.
What I like most about this plugin is that it can be used in conjunction with WP Super Cache. In that scenario WP Super Cache helps you avoid PHP execution/MySQL queries, and cSprites for WordPress helps you reduce strain on your web server and improve front end page load time.
Possible Areas of Improvement
As of version 0.508, here are some drawbacks of this plugin:
- PHP5 with GD Library is required for this plugin.
- cSprites will not distinguish between PNG8 and PNG24 and will always sprite PNG images with PNG24.
- cSprites cannot handle dynamically generated images (e.g. “…thumbnail.php?thumb=http://example.com/myimage.jpg”)
- When upgrading via SVN, “svn up” command gives “svn: Unable to lock ‘cache’”. I have to remove the cache directory, run “svn cleanup”, then “svn up” to upgrade via SVN.
- You cannot use padding when displaying images or else it will show part of another image. It would be nice to be able to generate the image sprite with configurable padding so you can use padding when displaying images.
If you can take advantage of this plugin (i.e. your host offers PHP5 with GD Library), then it is definitely worth a quick install.
Are you currently using cSprites for WordPress? Are you happy with the performance improvements? How much load time has this plugin saved you? What additions would you like to see in this plugin?