Daily Archives: Thursday, 21st May 2009

We now have slideshows! (Mostly)

Now here’s a funny thing. Regular readers may have noticed that I use Gallery 2 for the somewhat neglected of late gallery section of the site. Now a feature that’s been there forever, but which I’ve generally ignored is the slideshow function. The main reason I ignored it was that it runs as a :rant: Java applet. Java’s a funny thing. It tends to take forever to load, and when it does, I generally wish it hadn’t. So I didn’t really notice the function being there, and as I hadn’t had any complaints, I left well alone.

But last night I was contacted by Slim Palmer, who wanted to link to my Newcastle Library pictures in his post about the new library, which opens next month. He pointed out that the slideshow didn’t work. Well, I had a look and it worked on my Mac. At first, I thought the problem was just that the slideshow wouldn’t do anything useful like work its way through a load of sub-albums, but no. It turns out that if you try to run the Java slideshow on a computer that doesn’t have all the bits of Gallery Remote installed, and an image library or two besides, it pops up lots of rude messages, which quite honestly makes it abso-bloody-lutely useless on a public website. It seems that the developers know this, and I vaguely recalled reading that the Java thingies were being dropped in favour of some much lighter HTML and JavaScript[1].

I decided to have a look at lunchtime. First, I removed the Java slideshow, then I updated and activated the more basic one. I needed to adjust a few lines in the text files – one to tell it to work recursively[2], and some more to change the default image size up to something sensible and the time to change images down from 15 seconds to three. And hey, it works. You can now see the slideshows working nicely. On my machine on an admittedly fast connection, it’s much quicker than the Java version, and also lacks those annoying and rude pop-up messages.  The only downside is that it doesn’t show the images full screen, but as they’re all scaled to fit the web page anyway, most of them looked a bit rubbish when enlarged by the power of Java.

So there we have it – I fixed a problem I hadn’t realised I had, so thanks to Slim for alerting me. :wave:

[1] I still wish they’d picked a different name for that. It only causes confusion
[2] Or even to go through sub-albums if you don’t like talking like a programmer