Not only programmers can enjoy the benefits of Java. Java applets (small Java programs), which can enhance your Web site immensely, are available on the Internet--many for free. Of course, many of them are really just gimmicky. How many times have you waited for a large applet to download on a site only to find it provides yet another rippling text effect?
In this column, I describe an applet that actually is useful, and which you can easily customize to suit your needs with hardly any programming skill at all!
The Slideshow Applet
Many Java programmers make applets available on their Web sites. Before discontinuing his Web site at the end of 2001, Java applet writer David Griffiths did also. He wrote the slideshow applet that I discuss in this article, which he named "gallery".
Griffiths's gallery applet repeatedly displays a series of images, which can be any combination of GIFs and JPGs. The applet also can be turned into a hyperlink, so viewers can click to a specific URL. A variety of effects are built in to enhance the transition between one image and the next. (Click here to see some examples of these image transitions.)
Why Is This Useful?
This applet can serve a range of purposes. For one, you obviously can show your own picture gallery (holiday snapshots, perhaps) in an entertaining way that doesn't require your visitors to scroll through pages and repeatedly click on miniscule thumbnails.
Another use might be to add a dynamic touch to a professional's online resume--a couple of pictures in high-powered poses, fading from one to the next, could leave a strong impression.
Online shopping sites can use the applet to display a series of rotating advertisements in an eye-catching fashion by saving the advertisements as GIF or JPG images. The advertisements could be special offers, which provide the viewer with more information--and the opportunity to buy--when he or she clicks on them.
These are only a couple of the ways this applet can be applied. You may come up with uses more suitable to your particular site and find other ways to dazzle your visitors with the gallery app.