April 2012 Archives



April 5, 2012

TN3 jQuery Image Gallery: Slideshow Crossfade & Losing a Customer

I have worked with many different slideshow frameworks over the years. I have found most all of the time that the people who create them to be helpful, nice people. A coworker had mentioned to me the TN3 Gallery, which does look pretty nice. The only problem I had with their demos was not one of them displayed images with different dimensions - which is just about the most important thing to me when deciding if a new library is worth my time.

I noticed they had a Get Satisfaction site, and I quickly found that I was far from the first person to bring this issue to their attention. The problem with TN3, and in my experience Nivo, is that it stacks every frame on top of each other, but does not put a solid (say black) background behind each frame - it fades the image, not the div. At least TN3 centers the images by default, I will give them credit there.

I was not the first one to bring this up in this thread, John Meloy did. This thread was 8 months old but since the employee response was not actually a solution, but a compromise to be able to use their TN3 slider, I decided to jump in.

I honestly hoped than in 8 months that the company had figured out a way to address the problem. After doing some testing with the free/lite version of TN3, I found that not to be the case.

While I admit my first comment was a bit flippent, my response was pretty much the same as one of John Meloy's comments:

Me:

Really? That is the best answer you have? Well, no sale then.

Ben (employee):

Ken, yes image sizes need to be identical for effects to work.

If your images aren't the same size all you need to do is open them up in photoshop, increase the canvas size (not the image size) and then save them as transparent pngs. They'll look just like they do now, and continue to function with the gallery's effects.

Please let me know if you have any more queries,

Thanks

Me:

Thanks for the reply Ben, but that is just not practical. I am not making the photo galleries manually, I am building a gallery for a client in Movable Type. Nivo Slider has this same issue, I guess I will go back to my old trusty standby, AnythingSlider (which handles different sized images very well).

But you won't see that comment in the Get Satisfaction thread, because Ben deleted it. Why? Because "Unfortunately we can't use this forum to critique third party products."

WHA? Who is critiquing other products. We (John and I) are critiquing YOUR product. So while I am typing my response, I get the emails that more comments are posted.

Ben:

The TN3 Gallery will handle different sized images. You are simply restricted to the slide transition. This isn't a technical restriction, it's because the other transitions do not work visually if the images aren't the same size. Please let me know if you have any more concerns about this,

John:

I hate to say it on a TN3 support forum, but there are ways to crossfade two images of a different aspect ratio. They just haven't implemented it that way for whatever weird reason. Galleria works great. Sorry TN3.

Ben moderated that one to Oblivion, too. The reason? Because "Again, we regret that we can't allow customers to critique other products. We can only discuss the merits of the TN3 Gallery here."

In translation: Again, we regret that we can't allow customers to critique our products.

I mean god forbid that when talking about a feature of Gallery X that we also speak of the same feature that Gallery Y or Gallery Z does and how it is handled there. It is not like TN3 has the trademark on crossfading between frames using jQuery. Every gallery library does that. I could write the jQuery to do that from scratch if I really wanted to waste my time.

Ben:

John, there are ways to crossfade different sized images, but none of them are compatible with the effects in the TN3 Gallery. It's like fitting a square peg in a round hole. Please let me know if you have any other queries.

Shockingly, Ben did not delete my response to this nonsense. It is safe to say that it will be the last time I contribute anything at all to TN3. I was actually going to make a Movable Type plugin to work with TN3 that would allow people to use it just like they have created a WordPress plugin. But if the company wants to treat other developers in the mannor, I am not going to waste my time.

My final response on this mannor (as of right now is still on the Get Satisfaction thread).

You are serious? You deleted my comment for merely mentioning 2 other jQuery libraries out there for photo galleries? That is absolutely pathetic. That is not the way to build trust in the community of people who use a product.

Yes, it handles different sized images, it does not however handle them gracefully. There are a number of jQuery/HTML5 galleries that handle the issue and allow for a slide transition [Edit: I meant crossfade, obviously]. It usually involves centering the image horizontally/vertically, and JS is pretty darn good at math, and then coloring the background black/white/whatever.

John you are going to get your comment deleted to, just like mine was. I was thinking of purchasing a single site license just to be able to futz with all the features, but not after this experience.

And no Ben, it is not like fitting a square peg in a round hole. The real world does not always have exacting pixel fitting images. And yes, you can have nice crossfades with different heights or widths in a gallery.

And yes, I am disputing the removal of my comment.




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