Logo Rob Buckley – Freelance Journalist and Editor

Share music and photos with Faces.com

Share music and photos with Faces.com

Faces.com lets you add music and slideshows to web pages. Rob Buckley shows you how to tune up your site.

Photo slideshows and MP3 players are some of the most commonly sought after “widgets” for web sites. Often, building them with AJAX or Flash is a project in and of itself – and tutorials in previous issues of Practical Web Design will show you how to do just that. But not everyone wants to roll their own or has a Flash development tool. And to give these players extra features beyond simple display or play is often a far longer, far harder project.

Fortunately, a new service, Faces.com, offers a shortcut to all these capabilities for your web site. It has a free, secure, online “locker” for you to upload your photos and MP3s into. You can then create slideshows and playlists from these files and embed them in your web pages.

If that was all that was on offer, Faces.com would be pretty interesting. But there’s more. Users can rate and comment on your music and photos in true Web 2.0 fashion and there are RSS feeds to let people know when you add to your collection. You can also create tags to let people find photos in which they’re interested more easily. On the slideshow side, you can record narrations to explain what they’re all about; license your photos under different Creative Commons terms; specify privacy settings for photos so that only friends and family can view them; link each photo in the slideshow to a high-res version; geocode photos so that people know where they were taken; and users can even create a shopping basket of your photos and order prints of them when they’re done. As for the music, you can drag and drop tunes to create a playlist, use MP3 tags to automatically find out album and track names, and (in the future) automatically fetch album art. There are also bulk editing functions for changing all sorts of attributes.

All you’ll need for this tutorial is a web browser and some way of editing the HTML you’ve used to create your web site or blog. The browser doesn’t need to be very special, but if you want to use the batch upload function, you’ll need to be able to run Java 1.4 applets in the browser. One word of warning though: we’ve tried Faces.com with various browsers and there are some hiccups in the interface. Firefox had difficulty with some of the upload dialogs so Internet Explorer on Windows or Safari on Mac seem to be the best options.

Interested in commissioning a similar article? Please contact me to discuss details. Alternatively, return to the main gallery or search for another article: