FIT 14.6: Web Accelerator with next-generation Image Compression

This year’s last release is a big one. FIT 14.6 introduces our next-generation Image Compression engine.

To find the optimal representation for an image, the Image Compression engine performs a number of optimizations suitable for the input image. For example, lossy compression techniques (WebP/JPEG) may be applied to a photograph for substantial size improvements. Transparent PNGs may benefit from ZorroSVG mapping, or graphics from WebP lossless coding or quantization. The experiments are traffic-aware, so that frequently requested images are taken care of with higher priority.

<image-compression> can be used if Image Scaling is disabled. As a bonus, the handling of Image Compression URLs in HTML (and CSS) documents is much faster, which reduces the footprint of HTML processing in the critical path.

As a BETA feature, we have added an automatic image quality assessment tool. Lossy compression usually achieves the highest byte savings. However, it is impossible to find a compression level (ironically often called “quality”) that balances compression and quality for all images. Different images show different patterns of degradation if the compression level is increased. While some images still look good with JPEG “quality” 30, other images may start showing visible artifacts already at high levels like 90. The common solution is to raise the quality for all images. You can now define the compression level by means of quality: “Compress an image as much as possible, as long it looks like the original”. This can be a real byte-saver! It allows us to apply lossy compression to input images in lossless formats without the risk of quality degradation. As this is beta, we would love to hear your feedback about this!

Another interesting beta feature is the HTML5 compliant parser. It parses HTML documents exactly like your browser, and you can still use all FIT development features like XSLT and XPath.

As this is a major release, the various bug fixes, 3rd party updates and smaller improvements are accompanied by a couple of removals of previously deprecated features. So please pay close attention to the changelog.

The SDK for 14.6 is available from Github.

Refer to the full changelog for a more detailed list of changes.