Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
SlideDeck 2 is here to change all that, and I’m here to show you what’s awesome about this new plugin. The Lite version I’ll be looking at today is free, though I’ll briefly mention paid features too.
“Content” Slider, Not Just photos
One unique point of SlideDeck 2 is that it isn’t limited to a directory of photos or just your featured posts. In fact you can connect it to a number of “sources”:
The premium version of plugin – $49 for a single site license – allows for even more services (shown above).
To get started, create a New Slidedeck and add some sources. Note that you can add multiple sources to one slide deck – such as this example where I’ve added both my YouTube videos and my blog posts. You can even choose a specific playlist in case you don’t want to feature every one. If you post to different sources, this is a fantastic way to bring it all home to your blog and avoid specific service plugins that fill your sidebar (with a Flickr widget, a YouTube widget, a latest posts widget… things get cluttered quickly)
Tumblr is suspiciously absent.
You can completely customize the size of the deck to either preset sizes or an exact custom size, which will automatically scale the content too.
On a more granular level, you also have some fine control over font size, highlight colour, and the position of the caption. This alone put’s it in a league above other slider plugins. Excerpt lengths, title link options – you can control these too. One point I was particular impressed with is the ability to show the author avatar too – though obviously this will be of less interest on a personal blog.
Embedding Your Slidedeck
When you’re done, hit Save to be presented with the embed options. I was slightly disappointed not to see a PHP code to edit into my template files, but then I remembered that you can use echo do_shortcode(’’). You can also add the slidedeck to any page using a new toolbar button.
Free vs Premium
The free – Lite – version of this plugin is limited to the content sources I mentioned earlier, as well as a maximum of 5 slides. There’s also a small [SD] watermark at the bottom left.
In terms of slide deck styles (or “lenses” as the plugin likes to call them), you’re limited to two in the Lite (one of which is hideous, so let’s just say one). There’s are five more style available to personal licenses – though with all the customization available on the default one, I believe you’ll find it more than sufficient.
If you’re after a content slider, there’s really no reason to look elsewhere – even the Lite version of this plugin gives far more customisation that I’ve ever come across before. Being able to link various sources has tremendous value if you’re a heavy Pinterest, Flickr, or YouTube user and still haven’t found a good way of featuring that content on your blog. For most users, I think the Lite version will be more than sufficient, as admittedly a full license is a little pricey. What do you think? Here’s what I ended up with, though I was disappointed that I couldn’t pull in Tumblr too. Hopefully a generic RSS option will be added in future.