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Frequently Asked Questions | Dynamic display block slideshow module for Drupal

Frequently Asked Questions

We have gathered all questions which are often asked by users of the dynamic display block module. If you're interested in the dynamic display block module, want to know how it works and how things are organized read through our FAQ pages.

Reading the FAQs can save you a lot of time to get answers on your questions. The question may already been answered in previous issues. You don't have to wait till we answer your question in the issue queue.

If you can not find the solution you are looking for in the FAQ please look at the issue queue of the Dynamic display block module. If you can not find the solution there please create an issue. You can also always contact us on the contact form.


What is the dynamic display block module?

The dynamic display block module enables you to create blocks to present content in a dynamic way. For creating slideshow effects it uses the jQuery Cycle Plug-in. You can download the dynamic display block module (ddblock module) at Drupal.org.

Which version of Drupal is the dynamic display block module for?

The Dynamic display block module can be used with Drupal 6.x.

In which browsers are the dynamic display block slideshows garanteed to work?

The dynamic display block module and themes are thoroughly tested in IE 7, Firefox 2/3, Safari 3.1, Opera 9.5, Chrome and Flock. However we can not assure that there are no bugs. We use coding techniques compliant to Internet standards. If you find bugs or have other issues please report them so we can improve the module and the themes.

What input possibilities has the dynamic display block module?

The dynamic display block module can get content from:

  • A folder containing image files.
  • A node from a content type with multiple input.
  • CCK and Views
  • Nodequeue and Views
  • An instance of any created block.
Can I make more than one slideshow with the dynamic display block module?

Yes, you can make an unlimited amount of dynamic display block slideshows.
You can place them also at the same page.

What technology does the dynamic display block module use to display slideshows?

The dynamic display block module uses the jQuery cycle plugin for displaying slideshows. You can use all the functionality of the jQuery cycle plugin. Most of the settings you can set on the configuration pages of the the dynamic display block module. You can override all the jQuery plugin settings in a custom jQuery settings field. You can find examples of custom settings and other tips at this site.

What kind of effects can I use with the dynamic display block module?

You can use all the effects supported by the jQuery cycle plugin. Examples of the effects can be found at the examples page.

Where can I request a new feature for the dynamic display block module?

You can add a feature request in the issue queue at drupal.org

Where can I find examples of dynamic display block slideshows?

You can find effect examples at example page.

Advanced slideshow examples and examples of sites using the dynamic display block slideshow module can be found on the home page.

More sites using the dynamic display block slideshow module can be found at the http://themes.myalbums.biz/sites_using_ddblock

Does the dynamic display block module use AJAX to load slideshow slides?

No, the dynamic display block module does not use AJAX to load the slideshow slides. All slides are loaded at page load. The order is determined at page load.

Which version of PHP does the dynamic display block module require?

Recommended for Drupal 6 is PHP 5.2 or higher. The dynamic display block module can work with lower version of PHP if your host does not support PHP 5.2 or higher.

Is it possible to back-port the dynamic display block module to Drupal 5?

To give an idea about the time and effort needed to develop a module like the dynamic display block module here a summary:

Making the functionality we have now for the dynamic display block module for Drupal 6 including documentation took us more than 2 month of work. Additional support and bug fixing not included.

Back-porting to Drupal 5 with the functionality of the current version would take between 100 to 200 hours is my expectation. Then also documentation and bug fixing/support.

I hope with this summary we gave a little bit more insight how much time and effort it takes to make a module like this.

Back-porting the module will only be done in the following circumstances:

  • Someone volunteers to backport the module and supplies a patch in the issue queue.
  • Adequate financial support is provided by the community.
  • We need it for a client or one of our own sites.
Does the dynamic display block support imagecache presets?

Yes, the dynamic display block module supports imagecache presets for basic and advanced slideshows. Image cache support has been made possible with help from Aaron Couch

Can I use nodequeue module to get content for the Advanced dynamic diplay block slideshow?

Yes, nodequeue is one of the possibilities to provide content for an advanced dynamic display block slideshow. For detailed instructions see the How to instruction page.

Does the dynamic display block module work with views?

Yes, advanced dynamic display block slideshows support CCK and Views.
More information can be found in the: Advanced slideshow tutorial.

What other modules can be used with the dynamic display block module?

You can use the the following modules in combination with the dynamic display block module:

  • CCK, Views and Nodequeue to provide content for the dynamic display block module.
  • Image cache to use presets for the images you use in your slideshows.
  • Header image module to provide conditional content.
  • Quicktabs module to display Dynamic display block slideshows in tabs.
  • Panels to display slideshows in panes
Are your themes SEO friendly?

Yes! A lot of news sites like CNN, Yahoo, BBC and other sites use advanced slideshows to display content. Advanced slideshows are often made with flash. These slideshows can be very sophisticated with all kinds of effects.
But content used in flash is not detected by search engines and your site will not be Search Engine Optimized. If you are CNN or Yahoo this is not that important (people find them anyhow), but for most sites SEO is one of the most important features of the site. With the Dynamic display block slideshow you can now use advanced slideshows while the content is detected by search engine.

Can I use different size of images with the dynamic display block module?

Yes, you can use different size of images by setting 0 (zero) for both width and height. This way the original sizes of the images are used.

What is the difference between the upright10, -20, -30, -40, -50 and -60 themes?

The difference in numbering is done to distinguish the different pager types. All themes follow this numbering. I will give an example here with the upright theme

  • upright10 - uses a number pager
  • upright20 - uses a prev/next pager
  • upright30 - uses a text pager
  • upright40 - uses an image pager
  • upright50 - uses a combination of image and text pager
  • upright60 - uses a scrollable pager

For 30, 40 and 50 themes you need to set the pager to: custom pager in the configuration settings.

When themes have an extension p or l, this means:

  • p - the theme has a portrait layout
  • l - the theme has a landscape layout

You can read for more information on how to configure the advanced dynamic display block slideshow in the advanced slideshow tutorial

Is it possible to use other view names and field names aside from the default?

Yes, but you have to change the view_name and the field names in the preprocess functions. You can find out what are the names used by uncommenting the drupal_set_message or the dsm lines for both preprocess function in your template.php file. Reload your page and with help of the messages you can now see what view_name and field names you used. You have to use the same view_name and fields_names in the template.php file. (The view_name and field_names are case sensitive.) For more detailed instruction you can read this tutorial page.

Is it also possible to use two view_name at the same time for the advanced dynamic display block slideshow?

Yes! it is possible to use two view names. Normally when using more views for ddblock content we use two separate if statements in the preprocess functions. You also need to change the view_name and field names in the example files to the view_name and field names you use in order for the slideshow to work.

After you make your new view you need to:

  1. Enable the view for the dynamic display block module.
  2. Create a ddblock instance for the view
  3. Configure the ddblock instance
  4. Adjust both preprocess functions in the template.php file
    1. Replicate the if statement of the first view (probably the news-items view)
    2. Rename news_items to your view name
    3. Uncomment the drupal_set_message lines
    4. Place ddblock instance on a page/region
    5. The result of the drupal_set_message lines tell you what fieldnames CCK has generated
    6. Adjust the field_names
    7. Reload the page
    8. Comment the drupal_set_message debug lines again
    1. If this does not help, please make an issue in the issue queue and send a copy of your template.php file, the result of the drupal_set_message debug lines and a link to your Internet site.

How to set the number of items to show in an advanced dynamic display block slideshow?

In the basic settings of the view you use, you can set Items to display: to your desired number of nodes to display in an advanced dynamic display block slideshow.

Can I put a dynamic display block slideshow on the front-page of my website?

You can put a dynamic display block slideshow on your front-page by creating a page node. For more info, or detailed instruction read this tutorial page.

Do you offer free themes for the ddblock slideshow layout?

Yes, we donated initially 5 ddblock themes for free, upright10 to 50.

Periodically we donate more themes to the community. Have a look at: Sunday - Donation day!!! for new donated themes.

There are now more then 15 free themes available for the dynamic display block slideshow module.

See working examples of some of theses themes at http://themes.myalbums.biz

Do you offer commercial themes with support?

Yes, we offer commercial themes at http://themes.myalbums.biz. The themes are developed with internet standards compliant techniques. They are tested for the most used Internet browsers. With a service contract you get free updates and upgrades to the future Drupal versions. You get a premium support.

Can I make a request for a commercial theme layout?

Yes, we welcome requests for other theme layouts.

You can make a request by sending us your requirements on the Contact form. Please be as detailed as possible.

We will develop the theme layout and release it for purchase on the themes.myalbums.biz.

The purchase price depends on the complexity of the theme. For theme prices have a look at our existing Themes

Do you offer paid customization for advanced dynamic display block slideshow?

Yes, we also offer installation, development, theming and customization.
You can contact us via the contact form.

Can I use my own custom theme for the ddblock module? How does it work?

Yes, you can use your own custom themes. You can develop your own lay-outs for the advanced Dynamic display block slideshow. In the following tutorial page is explained how to make a custom theme from an existing standard theme. Read this page for more information, Create a new custom theme.

How can I make the same layout like in the example at http://ddblock.myalbums.biz/node/336 that the pager is in the right side?

We provide more then 15 free themes for the dynamic display block module. More will be donated via our Sunday - Donation day!

Other theme layouts are for sale at http://themes.myalbums.biz

With purchasing a commercial theme you will save time to develop it yourself and help further development of the dynamic display block module. A commercial theme is tested for most popular browsers. The theme layout in the example is also for sale.

You can also develop themes yourself using your own graphics and customizing the CSS.

We do not offer free support for CSS customizations. Have a look at:Do you offer free support for CSS customizations of ddblock themes?

Do you offer free support for CSS customizations of ddblock themes?

The CSS for the ddblock themes is straightforward. Designers
who know CSS will be able to customize or build ddblock themes
relatively easy. After a few hours studying the current free themes,
they should be able to develop their own themes for their customers.

When you don't have adequate CSS skills we advise you to download one of the free themes or purchase a theme which is as close to your requirements as possible, so adjustments are minimal.

Theming for all different browsers is not easy. We just don't have the time to give free support for all the issues with CSS customizations users will have.

How do I resize one of the themes you provide?

If you want to make the width of the slider, images and the pager bigger or smaller you need to adjust this in the CSS file of the theme you use.

In this example I make changes to the upright40 theme, but for the other themes the procedure is similar.

In firefox it is easy to follow the changes:

  1. Adjust the width of div.ddblock-cycle-upright40 div.container
  2. Adjust the width of div.ddblock-cycle-upright40 div.slider
  3. Adjust the width of div.ddblock-cycle-upright40 div.slide-inner img
  4. Adjust the width of div.ddblock-cycle-upright40 div.slide-text-horizontal
  5. Adjust the width of div.ddblock-cycle-upright40 div.custom-pager

After you are satisfied with the changes in firefox you can change the settings in the css file.

In this case: ddblock-cycle-upright40.css

Better is to make your own custom theme e.g upright40_custom and make the changes there, so future changes in the upright theme will not override your changes.

You can find information how to make your own custom theme in the advanced slideshow tutorial.

How to embed the ddblock content into a node?

If you use php as input type you can embed a dynamic display block (or any block) into a page with the following code:

 
 $block = module_invoke('ddblock', 'block', 'view','15');
 print $block['content'];

module_invoke($module, $hook, $block_argument, $delta)

Parameters:

  • $module The name of the module (without the .module extension). = 'ddblock'
  • $hook The name of the hook to invoke. = 'block'
  • $block_argument = 'view'
  • $delta block number of the block (you can find the number of the block if you hover the configure link for the block in the block list page of your site).
How to create a basic dynamic display block image slideshow with images from a folder?

See the How to instruction page.

Also have a look at our New: Basic slideshow video tutorial

How to create a basic dynamic display block image slideshow with links to other pages?

Follow the detailed How to instruction page for creating a basic dynamic display block image slideshow with links to other pages .

How to make the Recent comments effect like on the front-page of your site?

Have a look to this tutorial page on how to make recent comments block dynamic.

How to link Read more... button to another page instead of the node?

See the How to instruction page.

I override the custom jQuery Cycle Plugin Settings, and i get an error. What can be wrong?

You need to use valid JSON syntax:

  • Start with curly bracket {
  • Every key value has to be enclosed in double quotes "...."
  • Every string value has to be enclosed in double quotes "...."
  • Every number value not enclosed in double quotes
  • Comma after each line
  • No comma after the last line
  • End with curly bracket }

Example
{"fx":"fade",
"startingSlide":2,
"autostop":1}

Images from an image folder are not displayed.

The folder where ddblock is looking for the images is relative to the drupal file path set at:

Administer > Site configuration > File system

The folder setting in the ddblock configuration page will be added to this path.

If your drupal file path is: sites/default/files

and your folder setting is: ddblock

Your images need to be stored at: sites/default/files/ddblock

relative to the Drupal root folder.

Please check the following if your images from an image folder are not displayed:

  • Your download method needs to be public, to make your files available using HTTP directly.
  • If your download method is set to private you need to use image cache presets for your images
  • The file path is case sensitive. If you have: DDblock for the folder and your filepath is: sites/default/files/ddblock it will not work. They need to have the same case.
  • Images looked for in the directory and sub-directories can only contain the letter: a - z and A-Z, the numbers: 0 - 9, underscores "_" and hyphens.
    The extension can be: jpe, jpeg, gif, png, JPE, JPEG, GIF, PNG
    When you want to add characters you need to add them to the mask in the ddblock.module file

    e.g.
    Original mask with characters mentioned above:
    $mask = '[a-zA-Z0-9\_\-\.]+\.(jpe?g|gif|png|JPE?G|GIF|PNG)$';
    when you want to add the characters [ and ] it becomes:
    $mask = '[a-zA-Z0-9\_\-\.\[\]]+\.(jpe?g|gif|png|JPE?G|GIF|PNG)$';

I see a kind of border around the image. How can i get rid of it?

1a.) You can set width and height of the image to 0 in the configuration page of the block.

This way the javascript which adds image height, width and the border is not used.

Instead the original image sizes are used or the image sizes from your imache cache presets if you use them.

1b.) When you don't use imagecache, you also need to delete the width and height setting from line 75 in the ddblock-cycle-block-content.tpl.php module file.

<img src="<?php print base_path() . $image_file; ?> alt="" width="55px" height="55px" />

needs to be:
<img src="<?php print base_path() . $image_file; ?>" alt=""  />

In the next version of the module this will be deleted.

2.)
delete the lines (18,19,20):

.css('padding', '2px')
.css('border', '1px solid #ddd')
.css('background-color', '#eee')

from Drupal.behaviors.ddblockImg from the module file: ddblock.js.

In the next version of the module this will be deleted.

I see only very small thumbnails and sometime the big images, what is wrong?

If you see (very small, not 150x150) thumbnails, you need to set the content container to: .ddblock-container img (don't forget the dot in front of ddblock-container img) in the configuration page.

When I click on a pager-item it goes to the top of the page and not to the slide. Why?

You have to change your pager container setting to the pager-container that is used in the pager template file. For the custom pager in the example templates .custom-pager-item is used. Don't forget the dot in front of custom-pager-item.

When I click on a pager item, the slide-effect is not used, Why?

The ddblock module standard uses no transition effect, so users can quickly change the slides without having to wait on the transition.

You can use {"fastOnEvent": 0} to use the transition effect, even if a user clicks a pager item to select a slide.

Simply paste {"fastOnEvent": 0} into the "Custom jQuery Cycle Plugin Settings" box in the configuration for your block ("Configure Block" link at /admin/settings/ddblock/list).

When I click on the read more button it doesn't go to the node itself but it just goes to the next slide. Why?

If you want to enable users to go to the nodeview of a slide with e.g. a read more... button, you have to disable the next setting in the configuration settings.

I can not sort my content by view sort order. What to do?

There is a patch available so you can choose none for the order in the dynamic display block configuration page. If you choose none, the order in the slideshow will be as defined in the view.

Text slide disappears if I click pager twice. What to do?

Not using the jQuery effects for the slidetext will solve this problem.

Not using the jquery effects for the slidetext can be accomplished by:

Setting the "Slide text container" field in the "Slide text settings" block of the configuration page of the ddblock slideshow block you use to e.g.:

div.slide-text1

instead of

div.slide-text

The slidetext always stays in the front this way.

warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in... solution?

If the warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /drupal/sites/all/themes/[THEME-NAME]/custom/modules/ddblock/ddblock-cycle-block-content-upright10.tpl.php on line 43. error occurs the view_fields in the template file are not recognized.
First, try to clean the cache at admin >> site configuration >> performance.
If this doesn't work, check the following:

  • Did you already create at least two nodes (and published them) of the content type you use for the dynamic display block module?
  • Did you place the preprocess function in the template.php file of the theme you use?
  • Did you change [theme_name] in the preprocess functions for the ddblock module in your template.php file to the name of the theme you use?note: The theme_name is case sensitive and must be exactly the same as the name of the theme you use
  • Is your view_name you use the same as the view_name in the if statement in the preprocess functions in your template.php file in the theme you use?
    note: The view_name is case sensitive and must be exactly the same as the name of the view you use
    This can be checked by uncommenting the debug line in both preprocess functions in your template.php file.

When you don't see the result of the debug lines have a look at the faq question: When I uncomment the drupal_set_message debug lines I don't see the result.

If none if the above solves your issue please create an issue in the Issue queue on Drupal.org. Attach your template.php file and the results of the drupal_set_message debug lines when you uncomment them in the proprocess functions. Also give a link to your Internet site if possible or a screenshot.

When I uncomment the drupal_set_message debug lines I don't see the result.

When you uncomment the drupal_set_message debug lines in the preprocess function for the ddblock module in your template.php file and don't see a result when reloading the page with the ddblock slideshow.

  • First, try to clean the cache at admin >> site configuration >> performance and reload your page again.
    If this doesn't work, check the following:
  • Did you change [theme_name] in the preprocess functions for the ddblock module in your template.php file to the name of the theme you use?
  • Did you set Display method to: "Cycleblock"
  • Did you check the: Use advanced settings checkbox

note:

  1. The theme_name in the preprocess function is case sensitive and must be exactly the same as the name of the theme you use.
  2. Your theme name must NOT contain dashes or spaces or start with a number. Dashes (-) and spaces can not be used in PHP function names. A PHP function can also not start with a number.

    When your themename contains dashes, spaces or starts with a number change the name of the .info file of your theme in a name without spaces and dashes and edit the .info file to set the name variable in the theme.info file.

If none if the above solves your issue please create an issue in the Issue queue on Drupal.org. Also give a link to your Internet site if possible or a screenshot.

Images not showing, only grey box.

Reasons this can happen are:

  1. You only use one slide for the slideshow. You need to add at least two nodes for the slideshow.
  2. You have enabled the content permissions submodule of CCK and did not give permissions for the image field.
  3. You have the image field in the view, but you checked the Group multiple values checkbox and don't see a variable ..._fid for the image in the SQL statement of the preview of the view. The Group multiple values checkbox needs to be unchecked. Now you can also see the image field variable ending on _fid in the view preview SQL statment and in the result of the drupal_set_messages when you uncomment them in the preprocess functions.
  4. You use the same image-field, used in the ddblock slideshow, which causes a name change generated by CCK
  5. The view name or field names in the preprocess functions in template.php is not correct. You can solve this by the following:

How are fieldnames generated with CCK?
Names of cck fields are build up as follows:

  • node_data
  • underscore (_)
  • name of the CCK field with the lowest weight (first appearance) (e.g. field_pager_item_text)
  • underscore (_)
  • name of the current field. (e.g. field_image_fid)

with the example fieldnames above the fieldname would become

node_data_field_pager_item_text_field_image_fid

How to determine the field names generated by CCK?
To find out the field names generated by cck/views you can uncomment the drupal_set_message lines at the top of the content preprocess function. This will show the viewname you use and the fieldnames generated by cck/views.

What to change
You need to change the imagefield (4 x) in the preprocess functions.
2 times in the content preprocess function
and 2 times in the pager preprocess function.

find ..._fid
and change to
the field name you find in the result of the drupal set message debug lines, which ends on _fid.

In many cases, to show the images in the ddblock slideshow, the following has to be changed:

node_data_field_image_field_image_fid
to
node_data_field_pager_item_text_field_image_fid

Issue example
Have a look at this issue No Images Displayed, and IE Gray Box for an example.

What if the results of the debug lines don't show up?
When the results of the debug line don't show up you probably have not replaced [***THEME_NAME***] in the name of the preprocess function to the correct name of the theme you use.

Create an issue
If this does not help, please make an issue at: http://drupal.org/project/issues/ddblock and send a copy of your template.php file the result of the drupal_set_message debug lines and a link to your Internet site.

What can I do when the theme I am using doesn't have a template.php file?

You can make your own template.php file. Download the Dynamic display block export files and preprocess functions at the Download page. Copy the preprocess function from the package export files name template.php.txt and paste it to the template.php file you just made. Place the template.php file under your theme directory. E.g sites/all/themes/[theme_name] folder.