A quagmire of slideshows

video_projectorThis morning we continued work on ELSEAPPS by adding a slideshow to the site. We needed a responsive one that would display captions and either titles or attributions, as well as background photographs. We’ve written several slideshows in the past myself but, because the new site’s on WordPress, we were sure there’d be a suitable plugin.

And indeed there might be. There are, after all, hundreds of WordPress slideshow plugins available. And there’s the problem. It’s seldom easy to determine a plugin’s suitability from the WordPress documentation. Even enlarged, most screenshots are small and fuzzy, and few plugin developers provide comprehensive documentation. After perusing the comments and support forums it’s often necessary to install a plugin to determine its fitness for the task at hand.

That’s exactly what we did. We spent the day installing, provisioning, editing and uninstalling one slideshow plugin after another. Each failed in a different way. The most promising candidate – and one of the newest kids on the block – seemed perfect until we tested it in the Firefox browser and on an Android phone. Some plugins suggested they may support captions only not to actually do so once installed. One we were able to style perfectly, but only until Javascript loaded the next frame. Several turned out to be useless without purchasing the Pro version.

Ultimately, and rather ungraciously, we’re using a slideshow which has a back end written in Flash. We’d really rather have nothing to do with Flash but, while this plugin isn’t perfect, it does most of what we need it to do and Flash is only used in the editor, not in the slideshow itself.

So there’s Thursday for you. Progress has been made, but it’s been like wading through tepid gruel with a dead ferret between our teeth.

Updates

  • Wednesday 9 January 2013 We’ve abandoned the Flash-based slideshow in favour of Cyclone Slider 2. It’s fully responsive and more flexible. No regrets about saying farewell to Flash.
  • Wednesday 16 January 2013 Another week and we’ve given away Cyclone Slider 2 as well, preferring the greater flexibility offered by our own slider. You can read all about it here.