More Random Image Options

Not good enough for you? Then you should turn to the wonderful world of photo-sharing sites and their various widgets and embed codes, as well as to the plethora of plugins available. A combination is usually a pretty good recipe for nice image blocks showing off your latest works of art (or just snapped vacation photos), so dig deep into that for more random image goodness. You'll find a bunch of plugins and suggestions in Chapter 11 if you haven't seen that already.

A word of advice, though: beware of clutter, and beware of long load times.

Adding third-party services always adds to the load time, and it doesn't get any better if an image, which may or may not be properly compressed for the Web, is served. I know it's tempting to put in a cool Flash widget from some photo-sharing site, or an Ajax-y plugin that shows off all your best photos in a never-ending slideshow, but you should be careful.

Another thing to remember is whether the image block is actually needed. Just because you've got access to a stream of images doesn't mean you have to use or display it. Will the visitor be interested? If not, forget about it and use that valuable screen real estate to show something else.

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