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April 25, 2019

The Simpler, The Better: Photo Carousels

April 25, 2019 | By | No Comments

I’ve often complained about introductory-level tutorials that operate under the assumption that you know something about programming. While in some cases I’ve successfully worked through a particularly difficult tool or explanation, ultimately what I’ve learned is: there’s probably an easier way.

Humanities students, do not be discouraged when you can’t figure out the “super simple” tutorial that requires multiple downloads, code in the html, css and css.min files. You’re not stupid, you’re just not a programmer. However, this doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dreams of a carousel in your website.

I started out with Slick. In both name and appearance, it had fooled me into the belief that it would be an easy addition to my website. I followed the instructions for the code, I downloaded JQuery, I made adjustments to the appropriate files and nothing worked. Not even a messed-up carousel, just, nothing.  After a full day of struggling to get something to load, I felt defeated. I’ve experienced similar moments of head banging and tears over elements of this project (trust me I’m not alone in this), but this one I just decided had to have a simpler solution.  

So, that’s what I searched for: simple carousel code. W3Schools had a simple code. I entered it, and I got my wish. A messed-up carousel. It only appeared on half the screen. I searched for a fix to center it, and nothing worked. This round, I only gave it a few minutes of my time. Maybe, still, there was something simpler.

So, another search. Unsurprisingly, Bootstrap had a carousel template too. Nothing for the head, no style sheet, no css, and no Java Script nonsense. I plugged it in. Added photos, boom, a carousel. 10 minutes or less. It rotates, I can click through, and I added a link into the photos, so the 2D photos will connect to the 3D model page. Brilliant.

I’m not a programmer. I’m sure plenty of people use Slick and would laugh at my inability to enter it into the website properly. I’m okay with that. I found a simpler solution. And it works, even for a historian, who’s desperately scrambling to pull her project together before the end of the semester. Websites are complicated, and I’ve had to adjusted my vision on multiple occasions to accommodate my own limitations, but in this case I got lucky, because there was code simple enough even for me.

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