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Yahoo tool helps Web programmers shrink images

Smush It analyzes the images on a Web site and finds where the fat can be trimmed without sacrificing visual quality. The reward is faster-loading pages.

Yahoo Smush It finds Web site images that can be put on a diet.
Yahoo Smush It finds Web site images that can be put on a diet. CNET News

Yahoo, which has considerable expertise in maximizing Web site performance, has long offered advice on how to speed up sites up by minimizing photo size. Now it's released a tool to help Web programmers automate the process.

The Web-based tool, called Smush It, can perform multiple operations to shrink graphics file sizes without impairing visual appeal, Chris Heilmann of the Yahoo Developer Network said in a blog post after tool creators Nicole Sullivan and Stoyan Stefanov announced the tool at this week's Ajax Experience conference.

Among the things Smush It can do: convert GIF images to the PNG format; reduce the range of colors used in PNG files; strip out textual metadata from JPEG images.

Web developers can upload images to the site, send it a Web site address, or install a Firefox extension that submits a particular Web site with the click of a button. The tool presents users with a downloadable package of the smaller images that can be substituted.

Perhaps Yahoo should try its own medicine. I ran the tool on the Smush It announcement page and found that Yahoo could be trimmed away 23.6 percent of its graphics heft, saving 20KB of data. The Yahoo Developer Network page could be pared down 9.2 percent, saving 19.5KB.