I manage a few blogs that use thumbnail images to spruce up the appearance of the site, and make it more enjoyable for readers. As we’ve discussed here in the past, an efficient method for adding thumbnails to your blog is with custom fields. But finding the right image, resizing it (ugh), uploading, etc., is such a pain in the neck that I often find myself not blogging because I can’t face it. On one of my blogs, I’ve just decided to post without the images, since I know it’s the only way I’ll ever publish anything.

So imagine my delight when I found the following two fantastic solutions: Justin Tadlock’s brilliant Get the Image WordPress plugin and Darren Hoyt’s TimThumb PHP Script. Both the plugin and the script take most of the annoying work out of inserting thumbnail images in your blog.

Justin Tadlock’s Get the Image plugin

This plugin works in three steps (as explained on Tadlock’s blog):

  1. It activates a script that gets an image either by custom field input or post attachment.
  2. Then it tells the script what the default image size should be. It tells the script to look for the WordPress-generated thumbnail if there are no custom field images found. You can use the values “thumbnail,” “medium,” or “full” for this (those are three image sizes WordPress generates).
  3. If there are no images found, the script displays a default image found at “/wp-content/my-image.jpg.”

As Justin says, this has a lot of potential applications – you can use to for feature images, for displaying images in your sidebar, etc. He even offers to help users implement the plugin on their blogs if they ask in his forums.

Darren Hoyt’s Tim Thumb PHP Script

Hoyt originally created this script for use in his Mimbo Pro premium WordPress theme. To use it, you need to complete two steps:

  1. Copy the source code into a new document called ‘timthumb.php’ and place it in a folder on your site (ex: /scripts/).
  2. Call the source code from the place in your theme files where you want the resized image to appear as follows:
    <img src="/scripts/timthumb.php?src=/images/whatever.jpg&h=150&w=150&zc=1" alt="" />

This script is more complicated than Tadlock’s plugin, and when I tried it I couldn’t get it to work. But many people are happily using it in their themes.

Talk about filling a need. If you want to include thumbnail images on your blog without the headache, this plugin or script is a must.

Get The Image WordPress Plugin

TimThumb PHP Script