Creating Flash Slideshows using XML

Inspired by the WNYC’s flash player (or other xspf players) we were able to implement a flash slideshow player across all of the stories at KJZZ.org like this slideshow from a report on how a theatre company from Los Angeles
brought Shakespeare to a tiny border town :

The beauty of this is that by simply creating an xml file with links to images and their captions like this:
http://kjzz.org/news/arizona/archives/200708/borderbard/bardonborder/slideshow.xml.you can easily implement this player on the server side.Unlike a program like SoundSlides, you do not need to have software on the desktop to build the slideshow.

To do this, we used the XML Flash Slideshow program from flashnifties.com :

http://www.flashnifties.com/xml_slideshow.php

You can purchase this for $10, or they also have a free version.

While it’s not as integrated with the actual story, as described in the the Transom interview with Ben Shapiro here:

http://transom.org/guests/review/200706_ben_shapiro/

And while it is similar to the “Sound Slides” flash slideshow player

http://soundslides.com/

which NPR uses in any of the stories listed here:

http://www.npr.org/search.php?text=%22Audio+Slideshow%22

I think this will prove to be a useful tool for creating flash slideshows.

Tell me, what do you think? Is this merely a stop-gap technology towards creating videos?

What about the viral possibilities of this? Any ideas about the possibility of turning something like this into a “Slideshow Widget” to allow people to place on myspace or blogs?

What about the impact that this has on the page design? While I think it’s important to a photo with each story (which could also be distributed as part of an RSS feed) along with additional links, etc., how much do we place on a page? And how might this all be brought together into a more coherent whole?

Tell me, does anyone else have any experience with putting together a Slideshow using flash? What can you add to the discussion about your experiences?

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