Windows Live Spaces had one module that really stood above the rest: Photos. In this module it was possible to select one or more of the albums in Photos in SkyDrive. A slide show of the photos in those albums was presented in the module window. Spaces allowed multiple instances of the Photos module and thus it was possible to have several slide shows rolling at the same time. When a picture was clicked it would take you to a full window slide show of the album being shown at the time. Really, really neat. There is still nothing like it out there. And that means that in moving to WordPress, Spaces users must find some less fancy work-arounds.
WordPress.com does not have a slide show Widget. There is a nice “Image” Widget. There is also a “Flickr” Widget that brings in the latest photos from you Flickr photostream. The “Text” Widget can also be used to display photos, although this is a more complicated process. Widgets, of course, can only reside in Widget areas, normally a sidebar. On some themes Widgets can also reside in footer areas.
One or more additional “page” can be used to provide a more gallery style display of photos. The page option I will hold for my next post.
I have several Image Widgets in the right sidebar (you may need to scroll to see them). They are set to connect to slide shows. One of the Image Widgets is illustrated at right to show the hover message.
Here is how to specify the details. When an Image Widget is dragged to Widget location the Widget menu opens. There are text entry boxes to specify the title, and other parameters. for the illustrated Widget this is “Winged Subjects”. Next is the Image URL:. For this one I got the address of an image from my SkyDrive. I entered “click to view slide show” in Image title: – this is seen when the pointer moves over the picture (see illustration above). The text entered in the Caption: box shows under the picture.
I selected Center for Image Alignment:. The size specification is a bit tricky. For width you want to specify a size appropriate for the sidebar width – this will be the same for all your Image widgets. For height a value tis needed that maintains the picture proportions – this you may need to calculate for each photo. In Link URL: I specified the address of the slide show of a Shutterfly album.
The “…Parks and Gardens…” Image Widget connects to a SkyDrive slide show. Some browser may not display the slide show and just show the album with thumbnail images (this is temporary as SkyDrive is undergoing many changes [October 2010]).
Also in the sidebar of this blog page there is a Flickr Widget. This displays the latest few photos uploaded to a Flickr account. The options are, beside the RSS feed URL, the number of images to show and image size (either Thumbnail or Small). I specified Small which is actually just a little too big for the sidebar, but it works. When the images are clicked, the photo on the Flickr page is shown. This does not provide for slide shows.
A Text Widget can also be used to do fairly fancy stuff. I use, and recommend to all, Windows Live Writer to set up the text, images, and hyperlinks. The only precaution is that the images must reside somewhere on the web. The source code is then copied from the Source window and pasted into the Text Widget.
You can see the actual result in the sidebar.
I used small pictures from a Windows Live Spaces blog. These reside in a SkyDrive folder that remains on my SkyDrive even after the contents of the blog module is moved to WordPress (the process makes copies of images and loads them into the WordPress Media Library).
The photos, of course, remain on SkyDrive. So the slide show links are to SkyDrive Photos slide shows.
As you can see, using Widgets can accomplish quite a bit. These are attractive work-arounds for Windows Live Spaces Photos modules. In my next post I will go into more detail on using “pages” for even nicer ways to show off photos and slide shows. For a peek ahead just click on Photo Gallery in the menu bar at the top of this page.
Please also visit my blog on “things photographic”: Café Ludwig