Social Cards as a Service

I love the idea of programmatically generated images. That power is close at hand these days for us front-end developers, thanks to the concept of headless browsers. Take Puppeteer, the library for controlling headless Chrome. Generating images from URLs is their default use case:

const puppeteer = require('puppeteer'); (async () => { const browser = await puppeteer.launch(); const page = await browser.newPage(); await page.goto(''); await page.screenshot({path: 'example.png'}); await browser.close();

That ought to get the ol’ mind grape going. What if we had URLs on our site that — with the power of our HTML and CSS skills — created perfect little designs for sharing using dynamic data… then turned them into images and used them for our meta tags?

The first I saw of this idea was Drew McLellan’s Dynamic Social Sharing Images. Drew wrote a script to fire up Puppeteer and get the job done.

Since the design part is entirely an HTML/CSS adventure, I’m sure you could imagine a setup where the URL passed in parameters that did things like set copy and typography, colors, sizes, etc. Zeit built exactly that!

The URL is like this:**cool**%20la%20tee%20ding%20dong%20da..png?theme=light&md=1&fontSize=100px&

Kind of amazing that you can spin up an entire browser in a cloud function! Netlify also offers cloud functions, and when I mentioned this to Phil Hawksworth, he told me he was already doing this for his blog!

So on a blog post like this one, an image like this is automatically generated:

Which is inserted as meta:

<meta property="og:image" content="">

I dug through Phil’s repos, naturally, and found his little machine for doing it.

I’m madly envious of all this and need to get one set up for myself.

The post Social Cards as a Service appeared first on CSS-Tricks.