Automatically archive all web images (using S3)

The problem
Copy/pasting a web image URL into a notecard automatically creates the image markdown, and links to the pasted URL. This works fine in the short-term, but my concern is that this could be creating a long-term issue for Supernotes. What happens when that website stops hosting that image, or simply changes their hosting location/setup? Then the image will be broken in the notecard, and the note author may never be able to find it again. That will likely be a frustrating user experience.

A potential solution
When any web image URL is pasted into a notecard, automatically trigger the same S3 upload that happens when a user uploads a local image. Link to that S3 URL in the image markdown.

Ta-da! Permanent images for our permanent notes! :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

This is a good point @JamesT and something we’d definitely like to address.

We would like to give users the flexibility so they could chose to use externally hosted images or have them permanently added to our S3 bucket. Auto-uploading all image urls to our S3 bucket is probably not the best solution as dynamic images which change with time (like the one below) will break:

Having said this I agree that the current image upload process to our S3 bucket can potentially be streamlined a bit as pressing / + ! opens the Image Coupler and then pasting an Image (not url) will upload it to the S3 bucket.

Solutions we’ve been toying with are either:

  1. Prompting a user if they paste a image url if they’d like to upload it to our S3 or not – but could cause unnecessary friction
  2. Having pasted images (not urls) upload and be inserted in the background without the need for the Image Coupler - leaving pasted image urls to automatically be formatted as markdown. In this way if you like an image on the web you can choose to copy the link to use that url path in SN or copy the image if you want it permanently added to the S3 bucket once pasted in SN. This would also address; however is more complex and might most sense to implement with the new editor.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m not convinced by the dynamic images counter-argument. What percentage of current Notecard images would you estimate are dynamic? If that percentage is low (let’s say less than 1%), wouldn’t it make more sense to default to auto-archiving all pasted images to S3, but to offer a menu option, such as “Add dynamic image”, for the corner-case?

Solution 1 is too high friction for my use case, because my answer will always be S3. But at least this option gives control and information to the user.

I fear that Solution 2 might be confusing for non-technical users. They’ll be happily pasting URLs and images into their Notecards, not realising that Supernotes isn’t treating those two use-cases in the same way. Then the “lost images” risk I highlighted in the OP is still very much in play. In fact, I’m quite technically savvy, but I can see myself forgetting about this difference and losing images.

I’d recommend having another a stab at this, and seeing if you can come up with a solution 3! :slightly_smiling_face:

Consistency is certainly important, and we agree that doing the most intuitive thing for non tech-saavy users is usually the right option.

However it is not just dynamic images that we need to think about. We also have users that specifically avoid having the images they use on Supernotes anywhere on the web, by using the path to the image on their hard-drive as the image URL.

However the real issue is that our current editor is not really equipped to handle such asynchronous behavior (uploading a pasted URL in the background), so any “auto-backup” solution would probably need to come alongside the new editor we are building, which will be able to support features like that.

We will of course keep iterating on ideas around this and post here as our thinking evolves! Thanks as always for helping us figure out the best way to add new functionality.

Perhaps a more generic Add linked image command could cover both the “dynamic web image” and “local file” use cases?

Makes sense, and I have no problem waiting for this feature. Now that I’m aware of the issue, I just Yoink each image and drop it into Supernote’s Insert image panel to make sure they’re all uploaded to S3. Not painless, but not awful either.