ASP.Net Sprite and Image Optimization Framework
Check this out…
This is an awesome release, giving developers the ability to use sprites in web pages, without all the hassle which (let’s be honest) puts most people off at the moment.
For those who are unaware of sprites, they are a technique which became popular in the games programming arena in the 80′s where you combine all (or some of) your images into a single file and display just a portion of it at a time, usually using a top-left coordinate starting point, combined with a width and height to specify the part to be displayed. In games programming in the early days this was used extensively (and still is in a vast percentage of 2D games) as multiple cells of an animation could be combined in one sprite and loaded into memory once. This gave much smoother animation as you were simply displaying a different portion of the same image for each cell in an animation, rather that loading a new image in for each frame.
Why is this good for web developers? Well, each image you load into a web browser requires a separate HTTP request. By combining all the images into a single (or couple of) HTTP requests you can significantly reduce page load times. Plus, remember the reason that sprites were invented in the first place…. Just think of all the cool and crazy things you could do with a sprite and a bit of jQuery to make rollovers, animations, etc.
This framework enables the .Net developer to use sprites in a very straightforward way. It literally creates a combined image from the all images in a folder and allows you to use them as sprite images in the page, doing all the combining and css chopping up automatically for you. Plus you can seperate things out into subfolders and set maximum file sizes etc. You get all the benefit with virtually no cost in time or effort.