Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who likes to build websites, and make video games. He buys way too much Lego.
When I was building WPVote I wanted to have screenshots of the webpages that were submitted. Clearly I didn’t want to take the screenshots myself so I spent some time searching for an automated method to do the work for me. There are a few websites that do this but they cost money, or watermark the images, or limit the amount of requests, so I wanted to find something better.
A quick look at the image info showed me an interesting thing:
The url was dynamic. Awesome! This means any site can just link to a special url and it will generate an image of the website.
I thought this was fantastic but I didn’t want to get in trouble with Automattic or the WordPress foundation (or whoever owns this tech) so I emailed Matt suggesting he charge for the service (I’d happily pay a small amount for this). This was Matts reply:
You can use it and link to it, but it’s not official. It’s not worth the effort to try to make it into a business – we have to support it anyway for our own apps.
A little abrupt but I suspect Matt gets more emails a day than most people get in a year, so I’ll let him off 🙂
So I then went and wrote a really quick plugin that I could use – and I tested it here on Binary Moon on my post about art direction in web design. The plugin code is below.
<?php /* Plugin Name: BM_Shots Plugin URI: http://wordpress.org/# Description: A plugin to take advantage of the mshots functionality on WordPress.com Author: Ben Gillbanks Version: 0.8 Author URI: http://www.binarymoon.co.uk/ */ //
To use this yourself all you have to do is download the BM Shots plugin, and upload it to your plugins directory. You can either call the plugin via a function in your theme or use the built-in shortcode inside your posts themselves. For full details check out the BM Shots plugin page.