I am porting an old eCommerce site to MVC 3 and would like to take advantage of design improvements. The site currently has product images stored in 3 sizes: thumbnail, medium (for display in a list) and expanded for a zoomed look. Right now we are having to upload 3 separate images that are sized exactly right, provide 3 different names that match what the site expects, etc., it is a pain.
I'd like to upload just 1 file, the large one, then let the site reduce it to needed sizes, and I'd like the flexibility to change the thumbnail and list sizes depending on user preferences, form factor (e.g. mobile, iPad, desktop), etc. so might need many copies of the same image. My question is should the image be reduced then saved several times upon upload and if so what is a good storage/naming convention?
The other idea is to store just the single image but resize it programmatically before serving it to the client. Has anybody done this and what are the tradeoffs besides a few more machine cycles? How do you pass a temporary image in memory to the client (there is no URL)?