Manage Web Images with ImageMagick

ImageMagick is a powerful software suite that gives users the ability to create, manipulate, and process images in a variety of formats, including JPEG, TIFF, and PNG. It comes with a collection of command line tools for batch image conversion and many other tasks. It also serves as a frontend for a plethora of image manipulation programs.

Moreover, ImageMagick allows you to edit images on the fly from within your web applications. Because of this, it is a good idea for a dedicated server with multiple users or clients to have ImageMagick installed. Many PHP and Perl Web scripts require ImageMagick in order for their galleries, avatar resizing, and other features to work.

On Redhat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and other Red Hat-based Linux distributions, you can install ImageMagick from the distribution’s online repository:

# yum install ImageMagick

On Debian-based systems, use:

# apt-get install ImageMagick

The version that comes with the distribution is usually older than the latest release, so if you need the very latest, you may need to build it from source.

Once you have ImageMagick installed, most web scripts will ask where it is installed. In such a case, you should provide the path to the script executables, rather than the ImageMagick libraries themselves. The most common path is: /usr/bin

If you are not sure, you can search for one of the scripts, such as “convert”. Just type the following from the command line:

$ which convert

After you have the correct path set, most web scripts will function properly. If you are writing your own web application in a particular language (i.e. .Net, C++, PHP, Python, or Ruby), consult the ImageMagick website for links to language-specific interfaces.