When I undertook an update to the look and feel of my Now Hitting web site that chronicles the history of the Arizona Diamondbacks I made a conscious decision to turn the home page into a revolving slide show of images I had collected over the first 12 years of the team’s existence.
I wanted this to give the visitor an idea of what they may have missed from the first dozen years of games played by the team. The issue I had was I needed a software application that would be graphics intensive yet allow for other content on subsequent pages.
The back-end of Now Hitting is the Joomla content management system. I chose this because of its power and ease of use. I also liked the idea that I could extend the product with new features as I deemed necessary.
It was this extensibility that was most important especially for the multimedia aspects I was planning for the home page. I perused the Joomla extension library, which has thousands of modules that can be installed to add specific functionality to a web site.
I tried several slideshow alternatives and always seemed to come away disappointed. They were either extremely slow or not robust enough to allow them to be used on a site that receives regular visitors during the baseball season.
I was about to give up and try something new when I came across an application that did exactly what I was looking for. SlideShowPro by Domney Design Inc is a Flash-based plug-in that will produce a slideshow for web-based sites.
It allows not only a rotating photo display but will also enable the use of video should I decide to expand the pictures to a more robust media type. Setting up the software was fairly straightforward.
In my case I purchased two different products. I ordered SlideShowPro for flash that allows the slideshows to be displayed using Adobe Flash. The second piece of software was the companion SlideShowPro Director that allows the slideshows to be created without having a full Flash development system.
In order to integrate SlideShowPro with Joomla I added the Joomla module EasySSP. This module provides a seamless integration of the SlideShowPro slideshows with Joomla. Once installed and configured it simply became a matter of defining the size of the slideshow component and pointing to the parameters file.
Within just a few short hours I went from a text based home page to an immersive experience that pictorially showed the progression of the Arizona Diamondbacks from expansion team to today.
I cannot recommend enough the SlideShowPro and EasySSP applications. It should be noted that SlideShowPro is licensed on a per domain basis so if you are like me and have multiple domains you will need a separate license for each one. After the success I have had with SlideShowPro I am now considering ways that will allow me to add this functionality to my other web sites.