Create an Interactive Photo Gallery with jQuery and Dreamweaver

with Chris Converse
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Create an Interactive Photo Gallery with jQuery and Dreamweaver
Video duration: 0s 1h 55m Intermediate


In Create an Interactive Photo Gallery with jQuery and Dreamweaver, author Chris Converse develops an interactive photo gallery for a web site using HTML, CSS, and the open-source JavaScript library jQuery. The course begins with tutorials on extracting different-sized images sets from an original photo collection, designing the site layout, and constructing the HTML and CSS. Then, following the progressive enhancement strategy, Chris utilizes JavaScript plug-ins to include lightboxes and other types of interactivity while maintaining backwards compatibility with older browsers and devices. Exercise files accompany the course.

Download a copy of the finished web site here.

Topics include:
  • Preparing gallery photos using Adobe Bridge
  • Adding and linking thumbnail images
  • Creating the layout in HTML and CSS
  • Downloading and adding jQuery to the project
  • Creating preview images from anchor links
  • Implementing the preload functionality
  • Building a customized lightbox with the Fancybox plug-in
  • Styling the zoom and contact links
Developer Photography Web
Dreamweaver jQuery

Previewing the project across browsers and devices

Hi! I am Chris Converse, and this is a course about creating your own photo gallery. I want to start by taking a look at the final project that we're going to be creating. When you download the assets, there's going to be a Final Project folder where you can open these files in your web browser and take a look at what the user experience is going to look like once we're done programming this. I am going to start by taking the index.html file and opening it up in a web browser. So in here I have a series of thumbnails. When the gallery loads automatically, the very first image actually fades up over on the right-hand side.

As I move my cursor around the thumbnails, I get a little highlight. Clicking on a thumbnail will fade down the particular thumbnail I clicked on, show me a preview image slightly larger version of the thumbnail, show me a caption, give me links at the bottom. If I click on the preview, we actually load this up in a lightbox and this is the higher-resolution file, so there's three versions of each photograph that we're going to be working with. The caption will close up, the picture will load, and then change. We also have a preload set in here, so as we click on the items, the preview image over on the right-hand side has a jQuery plug-in attached to it that will automatically preload the image and then fade it up, so we don't have that case where the image just pops on because it started to animate before it preloaded.

The text areas underneath are going to be dynamically created on the right-hand side, so the VIEW LARGER link will also initiate a lightbox which will overlay the high-resolution file over the top. And this will also give us dynamic captions in the lower left-hand corner as well. On the left-hand side, we have an email link that we can click and initiate an email. And the technologies we're using here: we're using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. To help us with the JavaScript, we're going to be using an open-source framework called jQuery.

And in addition we're going to be plugging in two open-source frameworks in the jQuery: one called Fancybox to do the Lightbox overlays and one called far IN space to do the preload images. Now, one of the advantages of using a framework like this is that we can go across multiple platforms and multiple devices and get the same user experience. Here I am going to hop over to Windows and we're going to come down to load the same project in Windows XP, all the way back to Internet Explorer 7, and we're going to get the same user experience this far back.

I can click on the different thumbnails. I can click on VIEW IMAGE. Now, this experience will also work in IE 6, although we won't get some of the transparent effect. So we've got this sort of light drop shadow that we get from Fancybox and this overlay here. Some of that's won't show up in IE; they'll just be solid pictures. So this will work in IE, but it won't be the optimal user experience. And in addition to platforms--let's close out of Mac and Windows here-- we can also load this up in mobile devices.

So here we're looking at a version of Android. So in Android here, I am going to come in to the web browser. I'm going to come up to my Favorites. I am going to load the same files in the Android environment. I am going to hit Ctrl+F11 to rotate the device. I can tap on an image; I get the fade-in and then fade-out. Tap on the full picture, I get the lightbox that comes up.

And then lastly, we get the same sort of user experience with the iPad and other tablets, so Android tablets, iPad tablets. I'll rotate this device, holding Command+Right Arrow, click on these items and again activate the lightbox as well. The other development technique that we're going to use in building this particular project is a technique called progressive enhancement. And so what that means is we're going to build the HTML in such a way that even if somebody doesn't have full CSS support, or they don't have JavaScript at all, the way the HTML is going to be built, they can still go through our photo gallery.

So in the exercise files, I have two additional files. One's called index_no_js. So I am going to take this file and load it in a browser. So if somebody visits your site and they don't have JavaScript--so maybe they're using an earlier phone that has a web browser, but it doesn't have JavaScript support-- they can still visit your site. They can click on individual images. These will link over to the high-res files and they can simply use their browser's Back button or their phone's Back button to go back to the main menu. So they can still participate in the gallery and look at all the photography, and they just have the slightly different user experience.

In a case where they might be on a much older mobile device that doesn't have any CSS or JavaScript support, this particular code base would look like this. They would just see a series of thumbnails, no styling, no background graphics, but again, each one of these images has linked to its high-res file. So they can simply just tap or move their control wheel over to the item, click the OK button, and activate each one of these links. So using this progressive enhancement technique, we can create a single HTML file with base functionality and then enhance the user experience if they have JavaScript, if they have CSS, and we only build one file.

And then the individual browsers that people visit our gallery with will then dictate what the full user experience can be based on those particular browser's capabilities. So I hope this sounds interesting to you, and if so, let's get started with the first chapter.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Create an Interactive Photo Gallery with jQuery and Dreamweaver .

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Q: The finished state of the interactive photo gallery in this course shows a clickable preview. When you click on the preview image, or on the view larger icon, a larger lightbox image appears. Chris's example has a close button and border surronding the large image, but mine doesn't. Did I miss a step?
A: The functionality you describe is part of FancyBox plug-in we use in this course. It's a custom lightbox tool, which I've included in the exercise files and also available for download at It's free and highly customizable.
By default, FancyBox adds a border to images (at least in the version of FancyBox we're using), but there are many options that can be turned on when you set up your fancybox initialization script, including the close button, which is invoked using the showCloseButton property. This is all covered in the "Creating a custom function for lightbox properties" movie.
If you want to customize your gallery further, look at the list of the customizable properties at
Q: This course was updated in April, 2013. What changed?
A: Since the release of this course, Internet Explorer 9 and 10 have been released, and sometimes these browsers do not activate interactive HTML content. To remedy this problem, the author has added a movie to Chapter 10 that will show you how to:
- Update the HTML to HTML5
- Update the version of jQuery
- Use the Google html5shiv to keep compatibility with Internet Explorer 7 & 8
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