ClickMechanic, a London-based, online marketplace for automobile mechanics, has chosen Cloudinary as its media-asset manager for over five years. James Wozniak, ClickMechanic’s full-stack software developer, recently talked with us about the company’s experience with Cloudinary.
“A high priority for us as an online business is to ensure that images load fast on our website”, recalled James, “We wanted to fully optimize and serve them as quickly as possible through a content delivery network (CDN) but dreaded the hassle of setup and integration.”
After some research, Cloudinary impressed ClickMechanic as a creditable service, which offered features that not only met the company’s needs at that time, but could also grow alongside the business. They decided to give Cloudinary a whirl.
One major benefit of Cloudinary is storage. ClickMechanic can upload photos of their customers’ vehicles being serviced. Their customers can then visit the ClickMechanic site to view the progress of the service being undertaken.
At times, a large number of photos are displayed, some several megabytes in size. Using Cloudinary's resizing-capability saves 25-30 GB of monthly data bandwidth. Also, by adding just a few lines of code, ClickMechanic can display thumbnails of those photos, drastically reducing load times with only minimal effort from its IT staff.
In addition, ClickMechanic’s customers appreciate seeing pictures of the mechanics online before placing an order. A most helpful feature is face detection. Even though the mechanics’ profile pictures often vary in orientation and style, ClickMechanic can display them clearly on its site after setting a single parameter on Cloudinary. “That might sound simple,” said James, “but it’s not something we would have been able to pull off ourselves.”
Given that ClickMechanic’s tech stack is coded in Rails, James sought a tool that worked with Ruby. Cloudinary fitted the bill perfectly with its well-documented and easy-to-use Ruby gem, which proved to be a cinch to integrate into the ClickMechanic app.
James emphasized that integrating Cloudinary was an exceptionally smooth process, which required only minimal engineering effort. ClickMechanic already had the Ruby gem CarrierWave in its system; the Cloudinary gem worked with CarrierWave without a glitch.
“Cloudinary is a superior product that’s fast to set up and and then it just works—and works well,” James concluded. “We’re constantly updating our system and, even with major upgrades of Rails, we’ve never run into any trouble with the Cloudinary gem. That’s a lot of peace of mind.”
In addition to photos, ClickMechanic plans to post videos on its site down the road. “I understand that Cloudinary’s capabilities for images also apply to videos, which would be a big boon for us. We look forward to it,” James added.