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What Is an HTML Slide Show?

By R. Dhillon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A hypertext markup language (HTML) slide show is a series of images viewed in succession using a Web browser. The images in an HTML slide show change when a user clicks a button to view the next or previous slides, or according to a timer. Additionally, some slide shows combine a timer with user controls. HTML slide shows can be coded using only HTML or a combination of HTML and other languages, such as JavaScript™ and Flash®. Depending on the types of code used to create the HTML slide show, the slide show might include additional features, such as zooming capabilities and the ability to view an entire slide show on the same webpage.

The most basic HTML slide show allows a viewer to click links or buttons leading to the next or previous slides and uses only HTML code. This type of slide show doesn't use a timer or provide any additional features, such as the ability to zoom in on a slide. To create this type of slide show, one HTML page is created per slide and each page provides links that a user clicks to progress through the show. Each slide can contain images, image captions, and additional text. The pages in the slide show should be designed using similar styles or the same HTML page templates, which allows the viewer to perceive the content as a slide show, rather than separate webpages.

A timed HTML slide show can be created using the HTML http-equiv refresh meta tag. Additional user controls can be added, including buttons that allow the user to skip to the next image or go back to the previous one. Like the most basic HTML slide show, one HTML page per slide is created. The Web programmer adds the http-equiv refresh meta tag to each slide's HTML page and defines the number of seconds to wait before loading the next slide by adding the content parameter to the meta tag. The uniform resource locator (URL) that identifies the location of the next slide is also located in the meta tag using the URL parameter.

Most HTML slide shows are created using a combination of languages, including HTML, Flash®, JavaScript™, jQuery, and cascading style sheets (CSS). These slide shows provide more features than those coded with only HTML. In addition to timed slides and user controls that allow viewers to skip through slides, zooming, panning, and embedded slide thumbnails can be added. Slide thumbnails are especially useful for slide shows containing a large number of slides, since each clickable thumbnail displays a preview of the linked slide and allows the user to skip to any slide he or she wishes to view. Additionally, using additional languages allows website designers to embed an entire slide show in a single webpage.

Adding a feature-rich HTML slide show that uses a combination of languages requires the website designer to know at least two programming languages. Fortunately, the code required to create these slide shows is printed in Web programming books and freely available online. Additionally, some content management systems (CMS) support the addition of plug-ins, and some slide show plug-ins are available. These plug-ins make it possible to add an HTML or multi-language slide show to a webpage without learning HTML or any other languages.

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