Travel posts

Sometime in the next couple of days I’m going to publish a bunch of back dated posts about travel I’ve done recently (or in some cases not so recently). A lot of these posts are taken straight from emails I sent to family and friends at the time I did the actual travel, I decided to post them here as email is where keystrokes go to die.

This is a bit of a departure from what has been the norm on this blog so far, and for those following via RSS I’ve introduced categories and separate feeds for the Software/Tech category and the Travel category in addition to the existing feed containing all posts. If you’d rather not hear about travel posts, please update your subscription :)

Technically, the only interesting part of this is handling the images I wanted to include in the posts. I’ve included a few images in the past, but never in a large quantity.

I use Google Photos/Drive for all my photos, and originally tried hotlinking the photos from there. If this was supported it would have been the best solution, as I wouldn’t have to duplicate the photos and it would be easy to include them (though some of them are quite large). Unfortunately (though unsurprisingly) Google Photos/Drive doesn’t support hotlinking, and any direct links to images expire after a while.

The next option was using the Google Drive ‘embed’ functionality, which involves inserting some HTML into the post which will load an IFrame. This worked, but:

  • it looked a little clunky on desktop and didn’t scale well on mobile
  • a Google IFrame means Google tracking cookies
  • performance was poor - loading all the images on one of the travel posts using this method resulted in a whole load of extra requests:

I ended up committing them into the Git repository that backs this static site, but that does mean the repo size is going to grow a lot more than it should. As it’s just me working on this repo though, I can always use git filter-branch as a last resort if I do want to move the images elsewhere. To avoid bloating the repo too much and to keep loading times low I did fairly aggressively reduce the file size with ImageMagick:

mogrify -sampling-factor 4:2:0 \
  -strip \
  -quality 85 \
  -interlace JPEG \
  -colorspace sRGB \
  -resize 50% \

The final change was adding lazy loading using Lozad.js. Thankfully I include almost all the images on my site using a custom Jekyll include so I just had to include the library and change one file to get lazy loading across the board.