Shopp Image Tools is a utility plugin for users of the Shopp e-commerce plugin. By default, Shopp is configured so that product images are stored in the database, this means additional database use every time one of these images is fetched.
While this mode can be turned off there is no built-in mechanism to pull the images back out of the database and store them as regular files – that is what this plugin is designed to help with. It now also includes tools to clean-up the database that you can optionally enable.
Additionally, it includes an experimental feature called Direct Image Mode. The aim of this mode is to speed things up even further – by eliminating unnecessary use of the Shopp Image Server. If a cached copy of an image in the appropriate size is already saved on the file system then Direct Image Mode tries to make it directly accessible.
Of course, if the cached file does not exist then the direct image code stands down and lets the Shopp Image Server do its job. It’s the best of both worlds, increased performance – particularly on shared hosting packages – with all of Shopp’s flexibility.
This plugin was written by Barry Hughes (Freshly Baked Websites) – feel free to use the donate link to buy him a beer if this plugin saves you some time or even brings you in more sales by offering your customers a slicker shopping experience!
This plugin should be installed as per any other plugin. Upload the .zip archive via the plugin admin page or upload the uncompressed shopp-image-tools directory via FTP, then activate via the plugin admin page.
Very often, especially when Shopp is being used in a shared hosting environment, this allows for far faster delivery of images and reduces the burden on server resources considerably.
Set up a directory to store your disk based images, something like
wp-content/uploads/shopp is fine. You will need to adjust the Shopp System settings to reflect this … if in doubt, seek advice from the Shopp documentation.
As soon as you’re done, get back to Shopp Image Tools and run the conversion tool. No need to worry – if you haven’t set something up properly, it will very likely tell you the problem!
As always, you should back-up before making any major adjustments to your system and remember: a back-up is useless if you do not know how to restore it.
First and foremost, it is experimental and may not work in all conditions, but the basic idea is that it removes the need for image requests to pass through the Shopp Image Server. By removing this (sometimes unecessary) layer images can be served to customers more efficiently – so this in some cases is a good step on the road to faster page views.
Once images have successfully been migrated to the file system the old copy, by default, remains in the database. This is intentional as the plugin aims to be as non-destructive as possible. However, some people may wish to remove unused copies of images from the database completely for performance reasons or simply as a matter of good housekeeping.
Version 1.1 introduces a toolset to do just this. You can instruct the Conversion Tool to clean up after successfully migrating images and if you forget to do this you can also use the Orphan Cleanup Tool to locate disused images within the database and purge them. I strongly recommend that you back-up before using these tools.
© Ingenesis Limited. Shopp is a registered trademark of Ingenesis Limited.