In the Journal section of the Weekly Thing I include any blog posts that I’ve made for that week. To keep things easy, I’ve always just linked to the same image files that are used on my blog. That has never been ideal since those images are much larger than what you would ideally include in an email.

I decided to try and solve this problem in Shortcuts and the amazing S3 Files. The basic approach I take to getting blog posts into the Weekly Thing is:

  1. Retrieve the RSS feed for
  2. Find items in feed that are within the time period of this issue
  3. Convert each post to markdown and do some post processing to make it work in the newsletter better

To do this I would add another step after 3 to detect my own images in the posts, and do the following:

  1. Detect any URL’s that are uploads into my blog, and make sure to not grab any others.
  2. Retrieve the image file at that URL
  3. Resize it to 1,200 pixels on the “long edge”
  4. Add to S3 bucket for in the right directory for this issue
  5. Replace the original image URL with the new URL

It wasn’t too hard to make all this work. After tweaking the regular expressions, and making sure that the replacement worked right it was working great.

Here is a snippet from my logs.

When I ran this to the Journal images in Weekly Thing 262 it was able to resize 28 images from an original size of 43 MB to 12 MB, saving 21 MB of download data!

This is a big win in two ways. First, when you open the Weekly Thing from 263 on your device will download way less data and need to use way less memory. Also, some email services apparently dislike it if emails reference images that are longer than 1,200 pixels on the longest side. Hopefully this little efficiency will also get finicky mail servers to be nicer to my emails.

This was only possible with the revamp I’ve been doing to my automation, and the ability to add this step in was a great result of those changes.

This post is part of the Shortcuts Collection.