Loading an image via the <img> tag using ColdFusion

· 47 Comments · in Coldfusion, More

I wrote a basic routine to accomplish this awhile back using <CFImage> and decided to revisit it.

I found out it needed major rework!

There were all types of exceptions dealing with transparent png and gif files.

After spending 2+ days on it, I believe the following is a solid solution.

Usually you just have a reference to an image source in a database. Almost all sites have their images on a CDN and the code was written with this in mind.

What if you want to create a thumbnail of that original image instead of serving the full image and using CSS to resize? Or having to create multiple thumbnail files?

This is a dynamic way to create a thumbnail or serve the full-size image without having to run ColdFusion on the calling page.

Basically, we will call a .cfm file as the source of an <img> tag, passing it parameters.

There’s info and examples out there to accomplish this but none have fully addressed the issues I was encountering.

Some transparent gif/png files would render correctly, others not. Files in jpg format would display at a lower quality than intended.

Code will work and tested with the following formats:
transparent gif
grayscale gif
transparent png
grayscale png

I wrote this as a simple CFM so you can grab and test quickly, feel free to convert to a CFC.

The biggest issue I encountered was colorSpace on transparent files. The images would display in a format that did not use the color profile intended.

Then I found a post by Raymond Camden here, describing how to access the underlying Java colorSpace – simply brilliant!

I re-purposed some of that code to apply the CS_sRGB generic colorSpace to transparent images using the W3 recommended colorSpace listed here.

The code resizes an image, if specified – and slightly sharpens the image if resized.

You can resize the image downward, upward or serve the image at it’s original dimensions.

There is no compression, all images are served in “png” format, to allow for correct colorSpace and quality.

There is a slight delay as images are processed and loaded, but it’s minimal. This is the cost for being dynamic/virtual. :) Files in jpg format load much faster than gif or png. Transparent gif files take the longest.

Code works with files in png, jpg and gif format. Animated gif files are not supported, that’s a <CFImage> limitation. Though it will show the first frame of the animated gif file.

To make this completely virtual, I took advantage of CF 9+ Virtual File System(RAM Disk). You can write files to memory and then read them back in. The code writes out files, reads them and then immediately deletes them from memory.

Files are displayed with the correct aspect ratio, calculated using the width parameter sent to the cfm.

To serve an image you pass an image parameter and a width parameter(pixels):

<img src="getImage.cfm?i=http://mycdn.com/borg_queen.png&w=100">

If you want to serve the image with original dimensions, do not send the width parameter:

<img src="getImage.cfm?i=http://mycdn.com/borg_seven.jpg">

If you want to create a transparent 1×1 tracking pixel:

<img src="getImage.cfm?w=1">

* If a requested image does not exist, a transparent image will be created with the dimensions calculated by the width parameter.

I did run into an issue with IE 8(big surprise), where the image dimensions were not recognized when the image loads. Here is the CSS fix:

img {

You can also create an image tag dynamically using jQuery:

var _iPath = "i=http://path_to_my/image.jpg";
var _w = "w=100";
var _i = $("<img/>").attr("src","getImage.cfm?" + _iPath + "&" + _w);

* If you are trying to serve an image from Amazon S3 and it does not render, the image needs to be made “public”. If you have a policy on the bucket that holds the image, it should still be protected.


<cfparam name="URL.i" default="">
<cfparam name="URL.w" default="">

<cfif Trim(URL.i) NEQ "">

	<!--- grab image --->
	<cfimage name="imgObj" source="#Trim(URL.i)#">

	<!--- if not an image - create blank image --->
	<cfif NOT IsImage("#imgObj#")>
	<!--- if image width or URL.w LTE 1, create 1x1 --->
	<cfif (Trim(URL.w) NEQ "" AND (URL.w LTE 1)) OR (ImageGetWidth(imgObj) LTE 1)>
		<cfset URL.w = 1>
	<!--- if .png or .gif - fix colorspace --->
	<cfif Right(Trim(URL.i),4) IS ".png" OR Right(Trim(URL.i),4) IS ".gif">
		<cfset imgFromBuffer = imageGetBufferedImage(imgObj)>
		<!--- apply generic colorSpace --->
		<cfset gCS = createObject("java","java.awt.color.ColorSpace").CS_sRGB>
		<cfset colorProfile = createObject("java","java.awt.color.ColorSpace").getInstance(gCS)>
		<cfset convert = createObject("java","java.awt.image.ColorConvertOp").init(colorProfile,javaCast("null",""))>
		<cfset newImage = convert.filter(imgFromBuffer, javaCast("null",""))>
		<cfset imgObj = imageNew(newImage)>
	<!--- CFCONTENT needs file ext so we have to write/read/delete file --->
	<!--- create unique filename --->
	<cfset imgPathFilename = "ram:///" & CreateUUID() & ".png">
	<!--- write image to ram --->
	<cfimage action="write" source="#imgObj#" destination="#imgPathFilename#">
	<!--- read image from ram --->
	<cfimage name="imgObj" source="#imgPathFilename#">
	<!--- delete image from ram --->
	<cffile action="delete" file="#imgPathFilename#">

	<!--- scale/sharpen only if width request --->
	<cfif Trim(URL.w) GT 1>
		<!--- scale image --->
		<!--- sharpen image --->
		<cfset ImageSharpen(imgObj,1.5)> 
	<!--- serve image --->
	<cfcontent type="image/png" variable="#imageGetBlob( imgObj )#">


	<!--- on error create a transparent image --->
	<cfif Trim(URL.w) IS "">
		<cfset URL.w = 1>
	<cfset blankImg = ImageNew("",Trim(URL.w),Trim(URL.w),"argb") />
	<!--- CFCONTENT needs file ext so we have to write/read file --->
	<!--- create unique filename --->
	<cfset imgPathFilename = "ram:///" & CreateUUID() & ".png">
	<!--- write image to ram --->
	<cfimage action="write" source="#blankImg#" destination="#imgPathFilename#">
	<!--- read image from ram --->
	<cfimage name="blankImg" source="#imgPathFilename#">
	<!--- delete image from ram --->
	<cffile action="delete" file="#imgPathFilename#">
	<cfcontent type="image/png" variable="#imageGetBlob( blankImg )#">

See the full working example here.

Great books are available on ColdFusion here.

Tested in:
ColdFusion 9+
FF 3.6+, Safari, Chrome, IE8+, iOS

This entry was posted in Coldfusion, More and tagged , .
Bookmark the permalink.

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