PhotoHTML

NOTE: PhotoHTML is no longer maintained or supported.

PhotoHTML is a very simple free Macintosh plugin for Photoshop that converts any image to an HTML table. Each pixel in the image becomes a 1 x 1 pixel colored cell in the table. There is not any interface beyond a put file dialog to name and place the generated output HTML file.

PhotoHTML was used while creating the main banner on the BoxTop Web site. The center portion of the banner that appears to be a resizing image is a table created by PhotoHTML.

There are few truly valuable uses for PhotoHTML, however. It is more novel than useful, and did begin life at the suggestion of TidBITS for their annual April Fool's issue. The original punch line was the ultimate in Web image compression because an image tabled with PhotoHTML only uses 43 bytes of image data regardless of the original image size. Cleverly written about as TidBITS does, it sounded very impressive, but is a deal with the mathematical Devil himself.

Each pixel in a tabled image uses 43 bytes of text data, 40 more bytes than an uncompressed RGB image requires. We do not recomend you think about converting your images to tables unless you have a very good reason.

There are a couple of interesting things you can do with PhotoHTML that keeps it on our site now after the punch line is over.

  • It makes a great color code generator. Take a swatch of colors, run PhotoHTML and you've got ready to paste in table cell attributes. It is really useful for this, and worth having for the occasional need.

  • If you are absolutely serious about no one downloading images off your Web page and don't care if it loads like a sedated slug, PhotoHTML is the answer. Short of writing a custom app, which would reassemble an actual image from table cells and background colors, no one will find a use for your images. (They can still take a screen shot, though, so it's just not worth in our opinion.)

  • If you must have true 24 bit lossless color images that will display in any browser back to Netscape 2.0, PhotoHTML is the way to go. The only other way to do that is use a PNG image in very new browsers, which has little backwards compatibility. You don't likely need lossless images enough to do either one of the above, though. JPEGs are your friend.

  • If you want the smallest transparent spacer gif possible, just run PhotoHTML once and you will have it. It auto-generates a 43 byte GIF file named "x.gif", which is the smallest you can get. It is not possible to make a transparent GIF any smaller with anything.

Have fun with it. The clever individual can likely think of a few more uses for this, and should you, please let us know. We're not clever enough to have thought of more than those four.

Download PhotoHTML now. It's free. Grab some other great Web design tools from BoxTop while you're at it.

Got a question? Ask us at info@boxtopsoft.com