Cloudinary Blog

Web applications and web APIs are usually programmed to perform requests in a synchronous manner. A common web-based access flow will start with a requester accessing a remote service. The remote service in turn will process the request and quickly return the result. 
 
But sometimes a web application will need to perform actions asynchronously in the background. 
 
Consider, for example, a computing intensive web request. Such a request might take a very long time to finish. UI wise, you might not want your users to actively wait so long for this command to finish. Technically, such a long running HTTP request might even time-out completely. 
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Different online services, websites and mobile applications have very different image management requirements. Despite the differences, the image management pipeline boils down to the same basic formula - upload the images, normalize them, store them and manipulate them to create derivatives (thumbnails, effects, watermarks, etc.). Afterwards, prepare them for delivery and make sure they are accessible to your users quickly and efficiently when browsing your website or using your mobile app.
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Different web applications have very different requirements when images are involved. A dating website will focus its image-related attention on normalizing and delivering his user uploaded snapshots. A pinterest style service is focused on retrieving external images from around the web and fitting them to its cool layout. An eCommerce website is focused on the effective delivery of the many product thumbnails it depicts.
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