Displaying High Resolution Images on Flickring Using the Flickr API
Over the years, we’ve found that each API has its challenges. One of the biggest challenges working with the Flickr API has been displaying the right photo sizes on different devices. Up until recently, the maximum resolution that Flickr other than the full resolution was 1024 pixels. That’s fine for iPad 1 and 2, but on an iPad 3 with the Retina display, 1024 pixel photos look plain awful with all the pixelation.
A couple months back, Flickr announced a few new sizes on their website – 1600 and 2048 pixels. But those sizes weren’t available in the API and only applied to newer photos, not the ones going years back. Fortunately, we did some digging and found a way to get those sizes from the API, and now we’re are able to display the 2048 pixel images, oh so nicely, on the new iPad.
But what about those older photos that don’t have 2048 pixel images? Loading full size images for all the high resolution photos is a performance nightmare, even if the devices could handle it. So we compromised and gave each high resolution photo a “HD” button that the user can tap to display the photo in full resolution. Better yet, if the user zooms into a photo, she’ll get the full resolution photo, too. To keep performance up, we then resize those full size images to 2048 pixels for normal browsing.
By the way, the full resolution images are only available on Flickr Pro accounts. Free Flickr account users only get maximum 2048 pixel images, not full resolution. A good reason for people to upgrade to a Pro account.