The vast majority of you know exactly what a content slider is.
They have after all become somewhat ubiquitous in the WordPress world — if you picked five themes at random from the WordPress.org Repository, you’d probably find that at least one has a built-in slider. And that’s not even to mention the sizeable number of free and premium slider plugins available.
With the above said, you might be wondering why I am reviewing a premium slider plugin. I briefly wondered the same myself but was soon convinced as to why RoyalSlider is fully deserving of its modest price. In brief, it is well-constructed, mobile-friendly, functional plugin that would take pride of place on just about any blog.
An Introduction to RoyalSlider
Not only that, RoyalSlider is also a top-seller on Code Canyon and has a five star rating. All very impressive, but I was keen to dig deeper and see what it really had to offer.
In brief, RoyalSlider is a responsive image gallery and HTML slider. It offers enormous flexibility in terms of the content you can include within slides, and you can even include dynamic content from sources such as Flickr and 500px.
More specifically, it boasts a wide variety of features including (but not limited to):
- Touch navigation for mobile and desktop
- Hardware-accelerated CSS3 transitions for devices
- Video embedding options
- Lazy loading
- Move or fade transitions
- SEO optimization
- 4 unique and editable skins
- Smart autoplay (pauses on hover, stops at first user action)
When I first looked at the live demo on the plugin’s homepage, the word ‘responsive’ comes to mind for more than one reason:
It clearly responds well to mobile devices, but it also responds well in general. The transitions are fluid, there is little additional loading time and no discernible slowdown caused by the plugin’s presence. Furthermore, it just looks so good. This is of course due in no small part to the contents of the slider itself, but the navigational elements and general presentation are hard to fault.
A Closer Look
Now that we’ve had a good look at RoyalSlider on the surface, let’s get into the guts and see how easy it is to use.
Upon installing the plugin it makes itself available via a dedicated link in the sidebar, which you can see below nestled between a couple of other favorite plugins:
There are only two sub-menu options, which was encouraging to see. Too often plugins such as this are weighed down with a number of increasingly confusing pages.
The settings page is remarkably straightforward:
As you can see, there are only a handful of options to deal with. One would be forgiven at this stage for thinking that RoyalSlider was a rather basic plugin only offering the simplest of features, but that is fortunately not the case.
You soon learn that when you start to create your first slider — you are immediately presented with five main slider type options:
Whilst I haven’t got time to delve into every type here, each is pretty self-explanatory. You can pull content from several sources (including the aforementioned Flickr and 500px, but also from content within your WordPress posts), create one from a WordPress image gallery, or go with something completely custom.
For the purposes of this post I am going to create a slider that links to a selection of posts from my blog. Once you select the ‘Slider from your posts’ option you are presented with a highly functional screen:
Fortunately, the plugin is put together in such a way that the wealth of options thrown at you does not become overwhelming. Put simply, the options to the right determine what goes in your slider, and the options to the left determine what it looks like.
The first thing I did was choose for my slider to include a selection of 5 posts that are tagged ’About Me’. I then made a minor aesthetic adjustment to ensure that the posts’ featured images filled the slider. This was the end result:
Not bad, right? But it doesn’t really do anything yet — it’s just a bunch of featured images from a set of posts. That’s where the templates come into play:
Each of the above templates adjusts the slider’s HTML/CSS markup and the custom settings in order to produce a custom appearance. For instance, I selected the fourth template available above and got the following result:
Now I’ve managed to pull in the relevant data from the posts, but it’s all a bit messy. No problem — this is where even a rudimentary understanding HTML and CSS will enable you to customize the slide to your liking.
First of all I’ll get rid of those buttons at the bottom by selecting a different template:
That’s an improvement, but the post description really isn’t warranted and the title font is too big. Fortunately, we have complete control over those elements via the ‘Edit slide markup’ option:
This option gives us direct access to the guts of the slider’s HTML, which is a lot less daunting than it may sound:
To get rid of the description I just removed the line highlighted above, and to reduce the size of the title I changed the header tag and added a little custom CSS:
And here’s the end result:
Not bad eh? I was totally blown away by how easy to use (and how easily customizable) RoyalSlider was. It gives you a feeling of complete control over the look, form and function of the sliders that you create, which really is the key.
Furthermore, I’ve only scratched the surface in featuring a specific type of slider above — the plugin offers so much more.
Video Overview (An even closer look)
Check out the video below for an even closer look at the plugin. See how easy it is to use the Royal Slider dashboard to create your sliders!
Whilst I am often a champion of free plugins, there is no doubting the fact that going the premium route is often a better move — especially when it comes to more advanced forms of functionality.
And with RoyalSlider specifically in mind, the conclusion is quite simple — you are not going to find anything close to this level of functionality and stability in a free plugin. I much prefer the option of handing over $20 for a well-polished product than grappling with something that will never produce the kind of end result I can expect from RoyalSlider.
Put simply, I can’t really fault RoyalSlider — I don’t find myself wishing that there was some element of additional functionality that isn’t yet included. My requirements may be relatively modest compared to some, but I am confident that you will find this plugin a joy to use.
Get The Plugin
The plugin is for sale over at CodeCayon. You can get it by clicking the button below. Hopefully you will enjoy the plugin and find it useful for your site, blog or your client work!