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A Brief History of TimThumb

When we were building Mimbo Pro – Darren came up with the idea of automating the image thumbnail resizing – and this was the idea that sparked the development of TimThumb.

This was all part of making the theme site as easy as possible to maintain. Initially it was based loosely on phpThumb stripping out all the fluff and making it nice and streamlined.

Mimbo Pro screenshot including the use of TimThumb

Development was started by Tim (hence the name) one of the programmers at Category4 where Darren worked. Shortly after the release of Mimbo Pro, with Tims blessing, we decided to open source the code releasing TimThumb on Google code, and that’s when everyone else started using it.

Nowadays 95% of the premium themes teams are offering TimThumb support – and it’s a great feeling, knowing so many are making use of code I worked on.

I have now taken over development of TimThumb entirely which means that most new features and bug fixes come out of my requirements and findings. Of course I do check the issues list at Google code, but I probably don’t do that as often as I should.

As well as simply resizing and cropping images some of the new features I have introduced since the release of TimThumb last year include:

  • Alpha image resizing for gif and png images
  • Improved image browser caching
  • Automated cache clearing, reducing the size of the cache files on the server

The future of TimThumb

Currently I am working on a handful of new features for TimThumb. The two main ones are reintroducing jpg image compression (I removed it to simplify code and to introduce alpha image scaling ie transparent gifs – turns out to be less good an idea than I thought), and adding remote image resizing (resizing images from external domains eg

These two features should help make TimThumb even more widely used, and will also answer some of the support requests I’ve been receiving recently. It doesn’t end there though – as I am sure there are many new features people want, including some of my own.

Now I need people to help beta test the new version of TimThumb, in particular the remote image resizing so if anyone is interested let me know in the comments and I will send you an email with the link. This is technically quite a big update so I want to make sure it is all working before committing to Google Code.


TimThumb, Web Design

Ben View All

Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who also likes to build websites, and develop games. He also buys way too much Lego.

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