This is pretty damned useful! I'm the Product Manager of PostageApp (http://www.postageapp.com), we deal with outbound transactional email, and I have to say, this is probably a godsend for our clients.
The only problem I can see is the significant size increase in emails - transactional emails need to get to the recipient as soon as possible. Saving the Firefox icon as HTML/CSS was about 647KB in TextEdit as a plain text file!
That would be my only reservation for using it.
REALLY love the idea though. Great work!
Thanks! That's really nice to read.
The only problem I can see is the significant size increase in emails
One of the big contributors to the size is the inline CSS, which is required if the images are going to be included in emails. That said, there is alot of work that can be done on optimization.
Right now I use a list with ~pixel-high items and paragraphs. It makes it easy to represent the image in html, but I'm not so sure that it's the most efficient way. Tables or divs might have a smaller footprint, but I haven't had a chance to investigate.
It's potentially a very interesting problem. My analysis professor told me that he likes image processing because it's one of the rare fields where you can apply the more abstract concepts.
Unfortunately, the prospect for making money off of this thing is pretty bleak. Newsletter publishers could be my biggest customers, but they like external images for tracking purposes. Right now, I'm waiting to see if it gets traction before I do any more work on it
Definitely something that I would love to keep tabs on if you do continue to develop it, do you have a github repo I can watch?
My github repo is pretty barren. I probably won't put any updates there.
However, I have your email from your profile. If I make a decent improvement to the output size, I'll send you an email. I won't forget. I put a reminder in my gmail drafts folder and my calender prompts me to check it once a month.
You have me more excited about this then I was when I released the app, but I'm still not certain that a market exists. My hypothesis is that the people who make the email newsletters include extra external images on purpose so that the recipient will think he's missing something. Then he'll be motivated to click the "display all images from this sender" link, enabling the tracking image in the process.
The tracking image is wildly inaccurate anyway, but whatever, that's just my opinion.
It can't handle large images because the css is inline, but that's the trade-off for being able to email them.
Can you think of anyone who would pay for this? Is there a feature I could add that would make this worth paying for?
They have no problem with inlined images, whether that is css or data: url. Thunderbird (for sure), and Gmail (I think) will display data: image urls inline; not sure about other clients.
The css images, on the other hand, continue to display even when I put the emails into the spam folder.
Edit: All of the web-clients knew how to display the data:uri image.
The web client knows how to display the images, but it blocks them if it doesn't trust the sender.
Basically, they work exactly the same as regular old external images.