Flash on The Cheap

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This may come as a shock, but we don’t necessarily hand-code every piece of every website that we build. Oftentimes we can save our clients money by using pre-existing pieces of web software. Our favorites are open-source projects like WordPress and Joomla, but occasionally we come across a piece of software that’s well worth paying for. SlideShowPro is one of those.

If you know a bit of flash (or don’t mind learning) you won’t find a better, more flexible or easier to use flash slideshow platform. We most recently implemented it as a product catalog for Amber Pollard’s Lunch à la Mode handbags. You’ll notice that our implementation doesn’t look much like the examples on the SlideShowPro website, which speaks to the platform’s customizability.

But the most beautiful part of the software is its economy. The programming costs of a custom flash product catalog would probably start around $5K, but using SlideShowPro we were able to implement the Lunch à la Mode catalog for $60 in licensing costs and around 8 hours of customization and implementation on our end. About a 5th of the cost of building it from the ground up.

Before this starts to sound like an infomercial, I should say that the software isn’t perfect. There’s some simple customization things that feel like they should be included that aren’t. For example, just try to put a navigation bar on the side of your gallery. Also, you won’t get very far without a copy of Adobe Flash – a $700 piece of software. I think a web-based config interface could eliminate that requirement, but for now it’s your best bet. Those complaints aside, I don’t think there’s a better option out there.

Disagree? Let us know in the comments.

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