About Ipsum Image

Ipsum Image was created by Dan Moore. It is hosted entirely by Google using Google App Engine and the (now deprecated) Google Chart Image API.

Just like most of the copycats, I got the idea for this from Russell Heimlich's DummyImage.com. It is his idea, I just thought I could do it in a way to make Google pay for the hosting.

Ipsum Image is open source and licensed under Apache 2.0. You'll find the source code for Ipsum Image at my GitHub account. Contributions are encouraged and welcome!

Find a bug or have a feature request? Submit it over on Ipsum Image's GitHub Issue Tracker.

Ipsum Image vs. DummyImage

Ipsum Image has all the features of DummyImage.com, including standard image sizes, with these exceptions/differences:

  1. Doesn't support GIF, because Google App Engine doesn't support GIF. Also, GIF is dumb - there, I said it.
  2. Uses a different URL scheme.
  3. I haven't done anything to support Flash as DummyImage does, because I have no way to test. Also, Flash is dumb - there, I said that too.

Technical Details

Google App Engine seemed like a logical choice to host a simple application like this, but I was stunned to find that there's no easy way to render text into an image with it. However, another Google service came to the rescue: Google Chart API. Luckily, it allows you to specify a chart that contains only the chart title, and so Ipsum Image uses that to create the label text which it then composites onto the full placeholder image background using the GAE Images service. Full images are cached via GAE's memcached support.

NOTE: The first version of Ipsum Image actually just redirected to the Google Chart API's rendered output directly. It worked fairly well because you can specify a size for the chart (up to 300000 pixels) and a background color, but centering the text well was impossible to do. At some point I intend to add this functionality back in by taking advantage of Chart's GraphViz support.