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Monday, October 01, 2012

Integrate Java and GraphicsMagick – Conception


Working on building a new Java application that will use GraphicsMagick (hereafter GM) to perform the image transformation when both preparing the master image and dynamically resizing the image on the fly for web serving of a large ecommerce website.

Technical Challenge

GM is a C/C++ application. It doesn’t come with native Java implementation. GM has two types of the integration solution currently available for Java.

One type of integration is to use JNI (Java Native Interface). JMagick is the most matured one in this kind. But the stability issue of the application server is the main concern using JNI integration. If you search the Google or the GM support forum, it is not uncommon to see discussions about GM crashing on certain malformed image files, and/or leaking memory in one way or another. This make it a poor choice for a large website needs 24/7 uptime.

Another type of integration is to use command line wrapper represented by im4Java. im4java is a very nicely implemented command line wrapper for both ImageMagick and GM. The only concern to this approach is the performance. When every command line operation requires starting of a new process, it introduces significant overhead.

How to integrate GM with Java in most reliable and scalable way is the challenge.

Proposed Solution

Due to the reliability issue of the JNI approach, we decided to focus on solutions that run GM out of JVM process. If we can run GM in some sort of batch or interactive mode, then Java application can continuously send GM commands without starting a new GM process every time and then shutting it down.

Further, multiple GM processes can be started and pooled, and recycled when necessary for concurrency, performance and reliability.

This solution requires changes to GM command line utility and development of new Java integration library. We set out to start the work and will contribute back to the community when it’s done.

Other Posts in the “Integrate Java and GraphicsMagick” Series

  1. Conception
  2. im4java Performance
  3. Interactive or Batch Mode
  4. gm4java
  5. gm4java Performance

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