🎁 Unsplash Release: Fuller, Toa, and the Nathans
This is everything the Unsplash team created over three 6-week product roadmaps from September to December. We hope you enjoy it.
Our last three roadmaps are named in honour of some of our favourite long-time Unsplash contributors:
- The Fuller covering July 30th to September 10th, after Joshua Fuller
- The Toa covering September 17th to October 29th, after Toa Heftiba
- The Nathans covering November 5th to December 17th, after Nathan Dumlao and Nathan Anderson
To all of these creators, thank you for inspiring us to create 🙌
🔍 A new Unsplash Search system
As we teased in previous updates, Aaron, Bruno, Roberta, and Tim have been working on a completely revised search system named Cervantes 🔥. Under the hood, everything has changed, including an entirely new metadata system, a new reindexing layer for elasticsearch, and models powered by the latest in machine learning.
In November we rolled the system out to partial production load via an experiment, and by December the system supported 100% of the traffic on unsplash.com and the API.
We still have a lot more to do including iterating on the matching algorithm, adding more machine learning models, and better exposing the metadata to contributors, which will all come in future releases.
📸 Unsplash’s new uploaders
The old Unsplash uploader served us well, powering the first 750,000 uploads to Unsplash. With the constraints of the uploader relaxed now that photos no longer require tags due to the new Cervantes search system, Kirill and Charles took the opportunity to redesign the upload flow to focus on speed and ease of submission.
Our web team, Sami and Olly, integrated these new designs into unsplash.com, adding support for multi-uploads and handling all of the edge cases around partial uploads, errors, and retries smartly under the hood. For more, check out Olly’s article on the challenges behind this simple design and the open-sourced uploader.
On iOS, Olivier added the ability to upload, enabling any contributor to upload directly from their camera roll. In the process, he also added authentication, basic user management functions, and contributor stats to round out a major release for contributors on iOS.
💅 Unsplash gets a new look
⭐️ New API tooling for developers
To help support the 50k developers building with the Unsplash API, our team rolled out a handful of updates to the API.
Most notably we open-sourced an all new SDK for easily incorporating Unsplash into any iOS application. Olivier worked with our friend Nicolas Bichon to make the SDK as simple as possible, allowing any developer to search and select Unsplash photos with as few as 7 lines of code.
We also opened up support for dynamic image URLs, allowing any developer to piggy back on Unsplash’s realtime resizing and cropping functionality with simple, query-based parameters. This is the same technology that we use to power Unsplash for iOS and unsplash.com, and we’ve now made this available to all developers on the Unsplash platform 🙌.
🏆 The 2018 Unsplash Awards
This year’s awards saw support from 31 amazing institutions and communities, including Vice, Squarespace, Square, and Pinterest (to name just a few), helping spread the reach and awareness to an all new level.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed and a big shout out to all of the finalists.
🗂 Showcasing the best on Unsplash with Topics
With the Unsplash library continuing to expand in both quantity and diversity, our team has been rethinking how we feature imagery on Unsplash. We launched a new concept called Topics which expands the number of feeds from 2 to 17.
Topics covering categories like Current Events, Wallpapers, and Experimental allow us to showcase all new types of content, helping expand the discoverability of new contributions. Over time, we hope to expand the system to add deeper personalization and allow submitting directly to a topic.
👫 More from our team
- Two new team members joined the Unsplash team: Tanya and Wyn 👋
- Aaron and Roberta drew straws on the unlucky task of upgrading Unsplash’s API from a legacy version of Rails (4.2) to 5
- Charles had a baby girl 👶
- Steph and Wyn launched new API partnerships with Squarespace, Anchor, Sketch, Unbounce, and Piktochart
- Annie and Tanya organized the final Unsplash Quarterly. In the future, we’ll be transitioning this inside the product and doing it monthly, so keep an eye out for those updates
- Chris did some accounting 🤷♂️
- Olivier open-sourced a small component for embedding Unsplash images in iOS apps, and Olly open-sourced two libraries we use on web,
- We completed 3 more pilot campaigns with Timberland, Maldives Tourism, and Dose Juice. Mikael has a write-up covering the Timberland campaign and why this matters
- Sami and Olly spent a few weeks improving the accessibility and performance of unsplash.com. With Tim’s help every image now has a description to help members who are sight-impaired or otherwise unable to visually identify an image