Simple Viewer, FlickrViewer, and Flickr

Posted: February 18, 2009

Recently, I was asked to work on a project where the client wanted to have their photos on Flickr load on their website. I was given the following requirements for finding a solution:

  1. The client wanted to show multiple photos divided into a few different galleries, all of which would pull from Flickr.
  2. The client would occasionally add new photos and would decide whether they should go at the start of a gallery or at the end, so sorting the photos was an issue.
  3. The server hosting the site has PHP.

I started researching the many different options and found that one of the best and most suited for my needs was  SimpleViewer by Airtight Interactive. Just as the name implies, SimpleViewer was easy to implement by just adding a bit of Javascript to where you want the gallery to appear and also including a link in that JS to reference FlickrViewer, a separate PHP file that pulls the photos from Flickr.

Bright Photo uses Flickr

Some reasons why I found SimpleViewer to be a good solution for including Flickr photos on a website are:

  1. You can specify in the FlickrViewer options which Set in Flickr you would like to display the photos from. The viewer then loads all the photos that have been organized into your Flickr set. You can then create another page with similar code and change the Set so that your second page loads a different gallery. I found the integration with the Flickr Sets  made it easy to add a new gallery page.
  2. The photos from each Set were displayed in the same order as they appeared in the Set. This made it easy for a user adding new photos to their Flickr account to re-order the photos, thus changing the order they appear on their website.
  3. You could change some basic parameters in the free version (the Pro version ofSimpleViewer provides the source files) which would allow you to set how many thumbnails appeared within the window. Arrows appeared to scroll to the next group if the number of photos exceeded how many thumbnails were set as a max. I found this very intuitive and it suited the needs of having a cool function design (although it’s in Flash).
  4. The Title of the Flickr image is used as the description for the photo.
  5. SimpleViewer also has some options for setting the cache time so that it would not always have to connect to Flickr, thus increasing how quickly the photos would load.
  6. You do not have to use Flickr to host your images with SimpleViewer. You can also host the photos on your site and then into the XML file that SimpleViewer uses. This creates a whole range of options, including connecting SimpleViewer to a custom CMS.

Some of the limitations I found with SimpleViewer are:

  1. There seems to only be an option for displaying the Flickr Title and not the photo Description.
  2. SimpleViewer uses Flash.

Overall, I found SimpleViewer a great option to link to Flickr as it met all the require for the project.

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