Thursday, May 22, 2008

Embeddable Slideshow Widget -- Simpleviewer

I needed a clean way to display a handful of photos in a new app I'm working on. In the past, I've rigged up a simple click on the thumbnail to load it into the main image area slideshow in JavaScript. And it works OK, but I thought I'd look for something a bit sexier this time.

Yesterday, I found simpleviewer, and today I dropped it in place.

I'm actually quite pleased with it. I like it, because:

  • There's a fully functioning free version available. That way, I can play with it, and if I like it, have my client buy it.
  • It's basic functionality is what I need - show a main image, allow users to pick another image from a thumbnail
  • It was easy to wire into my app. Instead of embedding as they suggest:
      fo.addVariable("xmlDataPath", "gallerydata.xml");  
    I pointed the xmlDataPath to a PHP script which dynamically generates the gallery:
      fo.addVariable("xmlDataPath", "gallery_gen.php?id=298848&xcache=1");
  • It was customizable in the ways I need it to be, including: controlling the paths where the images and thumbnails were found, the color and size of the frames around the images and other tweaks.
  • The image transitions provide the more polished look I was going for

There seem to be quite a few other options out there for components like this - but so far, this one was the most straightforward to use. It's certainly worth a look.

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