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Flash-Based Galleries For Your Images

In many situations web designers should avoid Flash and prefer usual text-based presentation. For instance, in most tasks related to simple text presentation, Flash is neither necessary nor user-friendly, and it also has some serious accessibility problems: in fact, plain text is easier to maintain and easier to copy and paste.

However, if you’d like to present some multimedia content, particularly images, Flash can often be a feasible solution, with flexible image management for web designers and impressive visual presentation for users. Flash-based galleries can give the presentation a fresh spark and create a rich visual experience you might want to offer your visitors.

In this post, we present some of the free, attractive and flexible Flash-based galleries you can use to present your images more efficiently. You might find some useful references to further galleries in our article 30 Best Solutions For Image Galleries, Slideshows and Lightboxes1.

Flash-based Galleries: An Overview Link

Polaroid Gallery2 offers a quite unusual way of presenting a bunch of photos online. The script loads images and image titles dynamically from an external XML file. Then the script processes the data and creates an interactive Flash gallery in which all images are presented as Polaroid-photos.

The images are kind of thrown on the table randomly and create a beautiful mess — the idea resembles BumpTop3, physics-driven 3D-desktop with draggable folders and files. You can move the polaroids around with the mouse, and you can double click a Polaroid picture to zoom in.

Polaroid Flash Gallery4

To use the gallery you simply need to define your images and your galleries by modifying the XML-file accordingly. You can also define the legend to describe the content of the pictures. Besides, you can specify your Flickr ID and the gallery will automatically load the latest pictures from your Flickr RSS-feed. The loaded pictures are automatically scaled, centred and smoothed.

The script is free and open-source, and the .zip-package includes a .fla-file you can modify to improve the script. To ensure an optimal presentation, your images should have a square format; otherwise, the Polaroids don’t look particularly pretty.

The Flash XML Gallery5 offers a flexible solution for integration of multiple albums into one single gallery. The script can integrate popular photo sharing communities such as Flickr and Picasa. You can use a wide range of transition effects.

The Flash XML Gallery6

The images can be read from RSS or added manually. To insert the images you have to upload them to the specified directory and define them in the XML-file. The only usability issues of The Flash XML Gallery are the facts that you a) can’t navigate through the gallery by clicking on the images and b) you can’t get back from the fullscreen to the overview simply clicking on the image. In both cases, you have to use the navigation slider below the displayed image. The slider informs the user whether the next image is already loaded.

The Flash XML Gallery7

dfGallery8 is probably one of the most powerful Flash-based gallery solutions out there. It supports the instant integration of Flickr, Picasa, Fotki and Photobucket; of course, you can add your custom images as well or add an RSS-feed from which the images should be taken.

The gallery is easily customizable, meaning that you can e.g. define the time duration of the slideshow, hide menu system and scale the images from RSS feeds. dfGallery also enables you to switch between the single view mode, full-screen mode and the print screen mode.


Apart from broad language support, the gallery makes use of a liquid layout and therefore fits any size you specify. And it’s also possible to define the background mp3 music for your galleries. The full manual for dfGallery including examples and necessary code snippets for customization is available in the dfGallery Reference Documentation11.

Flash Page Flip12 is a Picasa template based on the free version of the FlashPageFlip flash engine on Flashpageflip.com13. It lacks the advanced functions of the commercial versions but still makes a very nice photo album on your website. You can see and hear the pages flip.

Flash Page Flip14

The download offers two templates: one for a landscape oriented album, the other for a portrait oriented album. Sizes can be changed by editing the header.xml file in the template folder.

Picasa Flash Photo Stack Gallery15 is a simple Flash template that enables you to click through a stack of your favourite photographs. Unfortunately available only as plug-in for Picasa.

Flash Photo Stack Gallery16

You can find more plugin for Picasa users in the overview Crear galerías de imágenes profesionales con Picasa17 (Spanish).

Carousel18 is another interesting approach for showcasing images. The script reads the data from an HTML- or XML-file and displays the images in a circle. Similar to iPhone, visitors can browse through the gallery sliding the mouse along the screen; alternatively, also the keyboard can be used.

Flash Page Flip19

You can define an automatic rotation of the images (max rotation set to 90°/sec counterclockwise). New modified versions are coming soon – as well as a detailed documentation on how the XML-files should be structured.

Footnotes Link

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Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy and publishing — all in German.

  1. 1

    nice article guys! i was looking for something like this for a long time… :)
    keep it up!!!

  2. 2

    Nice list – although I’m surprised you’ve left off Todd Dominey’s SlideShowPro – it’s great, so customizable and lovely to look at! Similar in appearance to the dfGallery you have above.

    Thanks for the list.

  3. 3

    Yeah I am surprised as well to not find Slideshow Pro listed, I use it frequently for my clients in web design and it is extremely easy to modify and use.

  4. 4

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    October 12, 2007 10:55 pm

    @David Horn, Dustin Brewer: we’ve listed only free solutions. Slideshow Pro, definitely a highly customizable Flash-based solution, costs $29 for a single-user license. Please read the introduction carefully.

  5. 5

    what would be the best alternative to slideshowpro that is free?

    like just a basic crossfade slideshow that is xml driven?

  6. 6

    There is one more great flash gallery that we should not forget:

  7. 7

    This is a good start on decent gallery solutions but SlideShowPro should definitely be on this list. Even taking into consideration the 29 dollar fee, you cannot beat the quality and features included in SlideShowPro and SSP Director. Another slightly cheaper product you should consider is MonoSlideShow which can be found at

  8. 8

    Hm, I don’t see why this is necessary, since flash really is the spawn of satan when it comes to the web. Really, all flashpages should be banned since it forces users to have 3rd party software on their computer to even view the content, and peoples with os’es like FreeBSD are completely lost, since flash isnt available for the bsd-platform.

    So everyone that looks at this and thinks “Oh, how cool isnt that, i’ve gotta use that on my site”, think again and look for an equivalent javascript-based solution (almost every browser handles javascript more or less).

  9. 9

    Please don’t leave out BananAlbum in this list.
    It’s a great (and free) flash image gallery.

  10. 10

    oh.. and if you guys want to create your own flash image galleries i think this might be a good start (for beginners):

  11. 11

    Vitaly, what do you think about this?

    oh.. and pls tell me if i’m contributing too much.. lol

  12. 12

    @chris: If you just want a simple cross-fading gallery, you may want to skip flash altogether and go with a javascript solution. One method I’ve used a few times for this is the clickable slideshow example that Nathan Smith set up which takes advantage of the Slayer Office Cross Fader Redux script.

  13. 13

    thank you jason, ill check it out!

  14. 14

    this will come in handy, but how would i make it work to have more than just 1 slideshow on same page? i tried changing the div to class and edit the css, but didn’t work, any suggestions?

  15. 15

    @ Gustav:
    Your logic (replace all Flash with Javascript) would make no sense according to my server logs. 99% of my users (academic library site) are using an OS that can support Flash. Only 78% have Javascript turned on.

    Additionally, 98% of computer ship with the Flash player.

    Personally, I hate Flash and use Firefox Flashblocker. But I also keep JavaSript turned off most of the time, so AFAIC, neither method works for me. But for the vast majority of my users, Flash is better.

  16. 16

    Fotolog is amazing, i’m just uploading some images and it’s really awsome.

  17. 17

    yep, i agree. it’s very similar to the dfGallery, but it does have a one-time cost of $25. it’s very to customize and has almost every feature you could want or need.

  18. 18

    Another very nice gallery free

  19. 19

    Hello every body … and excuse my English
    First I want to thanks Smashingmag for the great work that they do for us … it realy help users to increase there knowledges of evereting concern web application, design or everything and more, you cover a lot of domains … so thank you for sharing all that with us …

    smashingmag is the first site that I visit every morning but this is my first post and not the last … for this post I want just to add a link to a flash galery that I know and use for my personal galery.

    The name of the galery is PicsEngine, and it’s a flash based web galery interface. The admin panel use AJAX. Here is somme fetures (this is the translation ofthe french vesrion of the official website):
    1- Diffrent level of albums (galery)
    2- Name and description of each photo
    3- Creation of Thumb for each photo
    4- Editing photo on line (Crop, resize)
    5- Posibility to transfer a batch of photo by FTP
    6- Manage photo and albums (with drag and drop)
    7- RSS
    8- Include an Ajax admin Panel
    9- Possibility add Comments for each image (with enabe/desable options)
    10- Show hinde comments
    11- Possibility Download (with enabe/desable options)

    The application require Flash 8 plugin
    I think, that this is one of the best web galery application that I’v seen

    This is the link to the official website :
    PicsEngine(In French Only)
    This is the démo page of the frontoffice gaery :
    Gelery Demo
    And this is the link to the Admin panel (Username : demo, Password : demo)
    Admin panel

    Hope that it can help ! know that all of the site is in french, but if you need help you can ask your questions here on smashing mag. and once again excuse my english.

  20. 20

    Excellent as usual. Gosh, I love this website. Create t-shirts or any item, I’ll buy it.


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