Website Thumbnail Generator Web App – thummer

Over Christmas I began learning django and python. I always find it better to learn new languages when you are applying what you read to a project that you are actually interested in, and think might come in useful. Well, after finding this great article on website thumbnail generation using cutycapt and django I decided to make a small web service / web app which would generate and serve website thumbnail screenshots of varying sizes.

I’ve always had difficulty with the “free” web thumbnail services out there – they usually limit the number of requests and/or thumbnail sizes as well as using watermarks or requiring link backs. And this is understandable – running this kind of service en-mass is resource hungry, and those servers aren’t going to pay for themselves.

The idea of thummer is to allow people to set up their own thumbnail service on their own server, allowing them to generate snapshots of websites at any size with no restrictions.

Unfortunately because of some dependencies (CutyCapt requires qt4 and an X server) setting it up isn’t quite as easy as I’d hoped, but isn’t very difficult (lots of steps – but not tricky). I’ll post some instructions in the near future for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server. I have now posted the (rather lengthy) installation instructions for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.

I have set up a project page on Launchpad for thummer, so any bugs and questions can be tracked. The current release can be downloaded from Launchpad here.

A demo I set up is available here (but may disappear in the future if it starts getting hammered!).

This is my first django/python project, so any feedback is more than welcome!