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JQuery Galleries and Slideshows

One of the great things about the web is that it gives artists an inexpensive way to display their artwork Ė the web gallery or slideshow. In the past, it used to be a lot of work to create a gallery or slideshow, even with software such as PhotoshopR. But now, thanks to Ajax and JQuery, we have new tools for creating image galleries and slideshows.

JQuery is a JavaScript library that is basically cross-browser compliant. That is to say, you can use it on your website and be reasonably sure that it will work in most browsers that your site visitors are using. We arenít going to talk about how JQuery works but how to use these plugins for your own web gallery or slideshow.

Basically, you put the images that you wish to be in your gallery in a folder on your site and add a few lines of code to your webpage. The JQuery plugin grabs the images and displays them in a professional-looking layout.

You can find many JQuery plugins on the web by doing a GoogleTM search. Some of the common features that you might need are discussed below.

  1. You will want a plugin that will preload your images before starting. You donít want your slideshow to have missing images.

  2. In the past, if you were using thumbnails in your gallery, you needed to create each thumbnail manually. Most of these plugins will create the thumbnails for you.

  3. If you arenít a programmer or have any experience with XHTML/CSS, you will want a plugin that requires the least amount of scripting.

    Some plugins only require a folder full of your images and will create the gallery from anything in that folder. This is great if all you want is to display the images without any descriptions. On the other hand, if you want special features such as descriptions or web links displayed along with the images, you will probably need to do a little coding.

  4. Digital art comes in many forms. You will need to find a plugin that can display all the formats that you need including jpg, gif, Flash, video and etc.

  5. If you have many images in your portfolio, you will have more than one page of thumbnails. You will need a plugin that automatically creates the pagination for your gallery pages.

  6. One feature that gives the JQuery plugins that professional appearance is the transition between images. Most plugins offer several FlashR-like transitions.

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