Support » Plugin: Jetpack by WordPress.com » Holds features hostage

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  • Plugin Contributor Richard Archambault

    (@richardmtl)

    Happiness Engineer

    Hi! Let me explain a bit about how Jetpack Tiled Galleries work, and why they require the use of our Photon image CDN. Jetpack Tiled Galleries use different image sizes depending on several factors: the number of images in the gallery; the orientation of the images (landscape or portrait); the content width of the theme; the type of gallery you want (tiled, column, square, circle).

    If we were to offer an option to use Tiled Galleries without Photon, the site would have to rely on the image sizes available on the site by default: thumbnail, medium, large, and full. That’s not a lot of options, and many of those options can be too small to display a large image depending on the gallery. So what do we do then? Do we use the full size images as they were uploaded? We could, and then resize with CSS, but that would be terrible for the site performance; we would be loading several full size images only to display smaller versions of them. That’s bad for performance, and if you had a gallery with many images in it, then the page load would slow to a crawl.

    So instead, we use Photon to generate smaller images on the fly, optimized, just matching the size that needs to be used at the time. We do all the resizing and optimizing on our servers, which are hosted all over the world (which is also pretty good for performance!). If you want to read a bit more into the technical details of what we do with the images, have a look at our developer documentation.

    If you want to use Tiled Galleries without Photon, you could enable Jetpack’s Development Mode; you will have access to all features that do not require a connection to WordPress.com, and you’d still have the ability to use Tiled Galleries. With our Development mode, Tiled Galleries will load the full-sized images and resize them with CSS, since it can’t use Photon without a WordPress.com connection. As I mentioned, though, doing so will have a performance impact on your site.

    If you have any other questions about Photon and Tiled Galleries, please let me know!

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