Catching up on some blog reading today I picked up on a thread Dave Winer's been writing about. He's using ImageMagick to resize images and produce thumbnails. Throughout the thread I kept thinking this sounds a lot like a standalone version of the Drupal imagecache module. Perhaps, I thought, the answer could be setting up a Drupal site to do the conversion. Nah that's too much I said to myself.
However, the more I thought about it the more sense it made. Then I got to today's post where Winer mentions a small web server for doing the work. "I'm still bugged that: 1. It seems slower than it should be. 2. A window flashes every time it creates a thumbnail," Winer says in the post. OK this is the prefect situation for building a one-off clone of imagecache. The next paragraph says, however, that he doesn't want to build it in PHP as it's another language to pick up.
While heating up some naan for my lunch the plan came together. Build a small website using Acquia Drupal and have imagecache do the work for you. The beauty of the solution is that it doesn't take learning PHP. It is a PHP-based solution of course, but one with no coding necessary. So why use Acquia Drupal specifically? It has a couple of advantages in having the necessary modules already bundled with it. The modules are all available on Drupal.org but for somebody who hasn't setup a Drupal site before having them all together is handy. There's also a good Getting Started guide that makes it easy for users to get a site setup.