Recently I was doing some CSS for a client but there was a bit of a problem with putting stuff into source control, basically there was a release coming up from one section of the source tree that I needed to put some images into for the CSS, but because they weren’t approved for this release I couldn’t commit them.
The new CSS wasn’t going to be included in this release either, but I wanted to get at least some stuff source controlled (it’s in a different part of the tree so I could commit it) and to achieve this with the images I decided to use base64 encoding.
If you’re not aware something that modern browsers (like IE8+, FF, Chrome, etc) are starting to support is RFC 2397 which is also known as the “data” URI scheme. The basic premise behind this (if you’re not interested in reading the whole spec yourself :P) is to allow you to embed an encoded version of a URI response in place of the URI itself. This allows you to do funky stuff like this:
<IMG SRC="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODdhMAAwAPAAAAAAAP///ywAAAAAMAAw AAC8IyPqcvt3wCcDkiLc7C0qwyGHhSWpjQu5yqmCYsapyuvUUlvONmOZtfzgFz ByTB10QgxOR0TqBQejhRNzOfkVJ+5YiUqrXF5Y5lKh/DeuNcP5yLWGsEbtLiOSp a/TPg7JpJHxyendzWTBfX0cxOnKPjgBzi4diinWGdkF8kjdfnycQZXZeYGejmJl ZeGl9i2icVqaNVailT6F5iJ90m6mvuTS4OK05M0vDk0Q4XUtwvKOzrcd3iq9uis F81M1OIcR7lEewwcLp7tuNNkM3uNna3F2JQFo97Vriy/Xl4/f1cf5VWzXyym7PH hhx4dbgYKAAA7" ALT="Larry">
This technique can also be used with CSS, in background images, and it’s what I decided to go with. But how do you convert an image to a base64 string? There’s plenty of helper sites on the web, or maybe you can write a C# console application to do it.
I decided to go a bit different with it, since it was something I’d be doing a few times I wanted it to be quite to write and easy to run, so Powershell was what I decided to go with.
So I hit up Jason Stangroome for some Powershell wizardry (read: he told me what to code) and came up with a nifty 2-line Powershell file:
Param([String]$path) [convert]::ToBase64String((get-content $path -encoding byte))
You then use it like so:
PS> .\ImageToBase64.ps1 C:\Path\To\Image.png >> base64.txt
Jason thinks you can do it with only a single line script by putting the
Param declaration on the same line of
convert statement, but I think that having it on 2 lines should be fine :P.