3 Jul 2010 8 am eastern

SlideShowPro adds HTML5

Todd Dominey at Happy Cog.

Most of us web folk are hybrids of one sort or another, but Todd Dominey was one of the first web designers to combine exceptional graphic design talent with serious mastery of code.

Being so good at both design and development that you could easily earn a fine living doing just one of them is still rare, although it looks like the future of our profession. One of the first serious designers to embrace web standards, Todd was also one of the few who did so while continuing to achieve recognition for his work in Flash. (Daniel Mall, who came later, is another.)

Finally, Todd was one of the first—along with 37signals and Coudal Partners—to abandon an enviably successful client services career in favor of full-time product development, inspiring a generation to do likewise, and helping bring us to our current world of web apps and startups.

A personal project that became an empire

In Todd’s case, the product was SlideShowPro, a project he designed for himself, which has grown to become the web’s most popular photo and video slideshow and gallery viewer. When you visit a photographer’s portfolio website, there’s an excellent chance that SlideShowPro powers its dynamic photo viewing experience. The same is true for the photo and video gallery features of many major newspaper and magazine sites, quite possibly including your favorites.

SlideShowPro

But deliberate lack of Flash support in the iPad and iPhone, while lauded here on February 1, 2010 as a win for accessible, standards-based design (“Not because Flash is bad, but because the increasing popularity of devices that don’t support Flash is going to force recalcitrant web developers to build the semantic HTML layer first”), presented a serious problem for developers who use SlideShowPro and readers who enjoy browsing dynamic photo and video galleries.

Mr Dominey has now solved that problem:

SlideShowPro Mobile is an entirely new media player built using HTML5 that doesn’t require the Flash Player plugin and can serve as a fallback for users accessing your web sites using these devices. But it’s not just any fallback — it’s specially designed for touch interfaces and smaller screen sizes. So it looks nothing like the SlideShowPro player and more like a native application that’s intuitive, easy to use, and just feels right.

The best part though is that because SlideShowPro Director (which will be required) publishes the mobile content, you’ll be able to provide the mobile alternative by simply updating the Flash Player embed code in your HTML documents. And just like when using the SlideShowPro player, because Director is behind the scenes, all your photos will be published for the target dimensions of these devices — which gives your users top quality, first generation images. The mobile player will automatically load whatever content is assigned to the Flash version, so the same content will be accessible to any browser accessing your web site.

A public beta will be released in the next weeks. Meanwhile, there is a video demo. There’s also an excellent Question and Answer page that answers questions you may have, whether you’re a SlideShow Pro customer or not. For instance:

Why mobile? Why not desktop?

We believe that (on the desktop) Flash is still the best delivery method for photo/video galleries and slideshows for it provides the most consistent user experience across all browsers and the broadest range of playback and customization options. As HTML5 support matures across all desktop browsers, we’ll continue to look into alternate presentation options.

Into the future!

Filed under: Acclaim, Applications, apps, architecture, art direction, Authoring, Best practices, Browsers, business, Career, Code, creativity, CSS, Design, development, HTML, HTML5, Ideas, industry, interface, ipad, iphone, javascript, links, maturity, Photoshop, Platforms, Publishing, Standards, State of the Web, Stories, The Profession, Web Design, Web Design History, Web Standards

6 Responses to “SlideShowPro adds HTML5”

  1. David Zemens said on

    Good stuff. As usual. SlideShow Pro is and has been an excellent product.

  2. Dave Birch said on

    As much as I’ve loved using SlideShow Pro, the increased availability of robust libraries like jQuery GalleryView, jQueryTools (scrollable) etc… have diminished my need for the tool in my personal and commercial projects (lack of iPhone/iPad support for flash was definitely a factor as well). However, for general ease of use, video playback, installation etc…it’s hard to beat SSP.

  3. Brady J. Frey said on

    I think it’s a step in the right direction, but as a customer, I think it’s little more then a half step at best.

    I don’t want Flash anymore, not on my corporate sites or on my personal. When I removed SSP from bentlyreserve.com and our 12 sister sites, it became considerably more convenient to manager and more consistent an experience for my visitors. I want a full replacement, and as Dave mentioned, we just moved to a jquery library with my own cms.

    I love ssp and have love his work, but if it would have kept up with the industry, I would have never looked for an alternative, and I don’t think an interactive, weakened, player is the end all replacement. Just my two cents, but it’s a reason we didn’t renew our license, and Id be happy to if updated someday!

  4. Todd Dominey said on

    Goodness me – I’m blushing like a tween at the school dance. Thanks Jeffrey for the thoughtful words and support.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that while SlideShowPro was founded by me, today it’s a team of people; including most notably co-developer Brad Daily who was instrumental in bringing the mobile player to life.

    Additionally, I’d like to point out that the mobile player is an immediate solution for the thousands of people currently using the Flash player on their web sites who want (and should want) their content to be accessible beyond the desktop. I certainly understand why some people don’t want any Flash content on their sites, and for that matter our Flash player may be overkill for their needs (where a Flash alternative may provide everything they need). At the end of the day, that’s the kind of decision every developer should make when choosing which software best serves their needs.

    As a business, I can absolutely say that our mobile alternative is only the beginning for where SlideShowPro is going. Expect more good things. :)

  5. Daniel Sofer said on

    Nice post Jeffrey, I know something was up when you posted Todd’s photo on Flickr last week!
    I should compliment Todd on a product and website that epitomizes the spirit of Apple’s attention to detail and experience, even as it has grown and grown. Always classy.

    For any of you that have not used Director, its php/CSS awesomeness is such that I just built a site around it – even though iPad compatibility was part of the original spec. Director’s back-end power and ease of use for the only-somewhat-web-savvy photographer client made it worth the trouble to custom build a non-flash alternate front end. (glad I won’t have to do that next time :-)

  6. jeffgtr said on

    Director is a great program and very well designed. I’ve used both on a few projects. Currently I’m working on redoing my sons photography portfolio and we have been grappling with what to do with Flash. We’ve done quite a bit of customization for slideshow pro and it works fantastic IF you have flash. It’s great to see this come along at just the right time. The next time you have a project for a photographer do check out Director. As was mentioned previously, you can build a custom front end while taking advantage of the well thought out Director on the back end.

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