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Make a Slideshow

 
I needed to create slide shows for training purposes. I formed an early dislike of Microsoft's PowerPoint because of the way it blanked the screen while loading. So I looked into other methods. Here I'll share what I found and what I've created.

Web Slideshows

Web Slide Show Creator  If you have pictures, sounds, text, or any combination (just pictures, just text, sounds and text, or any combination), you have what it takes to make a presentation on the web. Rather than trying to automate the whole process and ending up with something that's either too complicated or too inflexible, this is a collection of a few simple scripts you can use in different ways to create several different types of presentations. You can renumber your files to get them in the right order, automatically rotate your camera photos so they're right-side-up, resize your pictures so they'll fit on a web page, automatically merge text, pictures, and sounds together into a single web page, create small thumbnail images, and create thumbnail indexes that can be used separately or be built in to your presentation. If you already have favorite ways of doing some of these things, you can just pick out the scripts that do what you want. 
Things to Check:  If your presentation uses sound, the plugin used on non-IE browsers will be the MediaPlayer plugin. FireFox requires scripting to be turned on in order to run the Microsoft MediaPlayer plugin. You'll need the free GflAx.dll ActiveX component (regular or light version) from http://www.xnview.com/ to let the scripts edit graphics. If you don't have GflaX, the script will ask permission to download it for you.

ASP Slideshow If you're using a Windows server, it probably supports ASP. This ASP script will deliver a slide show built from your raw text, audio, and picture files. Give all related files the same name (like P10056.JPG and P10056.TXT) and put them all in the same folder on your server as the ASP script. Poof -- you're done. 
Things to check
:   If you use pictures and text together, make sure there's room for them on your clients' browsers. The audio plugin used on non-IE browsers is the MediaPlayer plugin. This will only work as long as Microsoft continues to make their plugin compatible with other browsers. Some versions of FireFox require scripting to be turned on in order to run the Microsoft MediaPlayer plugin. For non-Microsoft operating systems, a plugin is called with the specific mime type of  the selected audio file.  Because this script reads all files in it's directory every time a page is displayed, it slows down if more than around 100 pages are in a presentation.  You should consider breaking large presentations into several smaller ones.
Note:  Some web hosts (like 1and1) don't like scripts that repeatedly read files. This might result in an "unavailable" message during heavy script use times.  

PHP Slideshow  If you have a Linux or Unix web server, it probably has PHP installed. If so, this PHP script will deliver a self-advancing slide show built from your raw text, audio, and picture files.
Things to checkYou need to have PHP installed on your server (see http://www.php.net/). Features, limitations, usage, and user experience is exactly the same as the above "ASP Slideshow".

Self-Advancing Slideshow with Audio  If you can't use ASP or PHP scripting on your web server, you'll need to create the presentation on your PC and upload it. This script will incorporate your existing sound, picture, and/or web pages into a framed, self-advancing JavaScript-driven presentation. You concentrate on creating the pictures and the sounds and let this script create the presentation for you! Technically, the MediaPlayer "PlayStateChange" event is used to tell when the audio clip has finished playing. When that happens, the next sound and picture are automatically loaded. The auto-advance feature only works when Internet Explorer is used, but other browsers automatically fall back to a manually advanced presentation.
This script is a modified version of one that is included in the above "Web Slide Show Creator" script collection. The difference is that this script adds IE-only code to automatically go to the next slide. It also allows your source files to be spread across different folders.
Things to check
You must have a sound for every "slide" in the slide show. The plugin used on non-IE browsers is the MediaPlayer plugin. FireFox requires scripting to be turned on in order to run the Microsoft MediaPlayer plugin.

Basic Slideshow   This script will take any combination of pictures, sounds, and/or text files and create a presentation that doesn't rely on frames or JavaScript. All the HTML, audio integration, and page-to-page navigation code is built by the script. You don't need to do anything more than create plain-text files, edit your pictures, and maybe record some narration. All the web pages are built for you. Just save your related files with identical base names (like "flower.jpg", "flower.txt", and "flower.wav") and the script will match them up. What if you don't have a picture or a sound? No problem. As long as you have at least one of the three types of files, a web page will be created to support what you have and will be sorted into the presentation.
This script is a modified version of one that is included in the above "Web Slide Show Creator" script collection. The difference is that this script allows your source files to be spread across different folders.
Things to check:  This script creates web pages, so it is not able to use web pages as source material. If your presentation uses sound, the plugin used on non-IE browsers is the MediaPlayer plugin. FireFox requires scripting to be turned on in order to run the Microsoft MediaPlayer plugin.

MediaPlayer Picture SlideShow  This script will take an entire folder's collection of photos and generate an ASX file that displays the photos as a slide show. The ASX file plays in Windows Media Player, so it can be distributed over the web or on a CDROM. You don't need to know anything about creating ASX files -- the script does it all for you.
Things to check:  Be sure to distribute the pictures with the ASX file!  The ASX file is only a pointer to the pictures. Other operating systems (Linux, Apple, etc.) may not know how to handle ASX files.

Microsoft ASF  Rather than having JavaScript control everything, you can create ASF files which can automatically direct your browser to load images or web pages in time with your narration. The ASF format allows you to embed everything in frames or run them as separate (but still linked) browser and MediaPlayer. This is not an automatic creation utility! Instead, it is a presentation showing you how to create scripted ASF files. Naturally, the presentation was created as an ASF presentation, so it serves as a good example of what can be done.
Things to check:  Some installations of MediaPlayer may disable embedded scripts. You may need to include separate directions telling end-users how to enable MediaPlayer scripting.  Browsers other than IE may not work! They used to (honest), but Microsoft keeps doing things to break other browsers.


CDROM Slideshows

Microsoft XP Power Toy Slideshow  If you have XP or newer, you can use Microsoft's powertoys to create CD or HTML slideshows. If you don't have XP, find someone who does, have them make you a CD, then "steal" the two binaries from the CD and make your own. The resulting CD plays even on old Win95 computers. 

CDROM SlideShow  If all you want to do is make a slideshow of jpg pictures (and optionally play a wav file for each picture), this will do it. Although it was written to show off photo collections on CDROMs, you can use it on a floppy, your flash drive, or your hard drive too. It shows all jpg files in the same directory. Pictures are automatically resized to fit the full screen. You can't get much simpler. If you want to get a bit more complex (and you don't!), it can handle pictures in a parallel (sibling) directory, can support one sound file per picture or one sound file for the entire presentation, and can have separate display timing for each picture. With no separate configuration file, it's all handled by playing with file names.
Things to check:  The program was written with Visual Basic 5. You may need to include a copy of  MSVBVM50.DLL (directions on where to get it are included in the readme file).

Visual Basic With Sound  Written back in 1995, this was my first slide show effort. It needs only a list of pictures and sounds. It automatically advances to the next picture after the sound finishes. Separate versions are included (with source code) for 16-bit and 32-bit Windows. Great for kiosk-type presentations. Compatible with the Microsoft "PC Speaker Driver" for computers without a sound card.
Things to check:  Honestly, it is the stupidest, most complex, least intuitive program I've done. But that PC Speaker compatibility stops me from throwing it away. Laziness stops me from re-writing it. 

Other

Viewer  If you don't want automatic image advancing but do want automatic EXIF image rotation, give this a try. If you pass it a folder name as an argument, it will display all the images in that folder.

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