Cover Flow your Featured Images and Podcasts

Cover Flow your Posts and Podcasts, from Message Flow's page

The new Message Flow WordPress plugin displays your Featured Images in a Cover Flow-like format.

All the Features

Using the ContentFlow script, the Message Flow plugin can display a Cover Flow for a variety of content sources:

  • The most recent posts, displaying the featured images
  • The most recent posts of a specific category, displaying the featured images
  • Items from some types of RSS feeds, displaying only the plugin’s default image
  • Podcasts from the Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin, displaying the iTunes image and integrating an audio player so you can listen right from Message Flow
  • Podcast RSS feeds from outside your site (like [message-flow feed="http://twit.tv/node/feed"] ) that work as if they’re on your site

Following the shortcode instructions listed on the plugin’s page, you can also:

  • Limit the number of items
  • Use your own fallback / default image per theme
  • Use your own fallback image per shortcode
  • Turn off displaying the Excerpt within Message Flow
Additional features include:
  • It’s responsive!
  • The mouse scroll wheel works when the mouse is positioned over any part of the Cover Flow area
  • You can have more than one Message Flow shortcode per page/post
  • If your shortcode outputs no results, the Cover Flow won’t display (i.e. it’s smart like that)
  • Any fallback image will look good, even if it’s not a square image of the recommended 165 px dimensions

My Enhancement Ideas

Here are a few things to keep in mind before committing to using this plugin:

  • If using Message Flow within a post (i.e. not a page), the Message Flow plugin will pick up its own post. For example, if I choose to display the 5 most recent posts and 1 of those 5 is the post I’m viewing Message Flow on, it’s essentially an infinite loop situation.
  • The Cover Flow scrolling effect doesn’t work perfectly on touch devices (e.g. phones and tablets). All the images and links will work just fine, but scrolling through them is only possible by clicking on the narrow white navigation line where the circle isn’t positioned. You can get the navigation to move on a touch device, but, unfortunately, it’s not really usable.
  • Scrolling with the mouse wheel is very smooth, but using the mouse to drag the slider sometimes feels choppy or jittery, until you’ve dragged it far enough to navigate fully to the next item. I found the CoverFlow script to do the same; however, the ImageFlow script was very smooth. I doubt this part of the Message Flow plugin will get improved, since it’s based on the CoverFlow script.
  • The slider circle starts to the far-right, which intuitively feels wrong. I feel like it would be smarter to have the most recent post as item #1 not #10, with the slider starting all the way to the left.
  • If looking to fully develop this plugin into a great Cover Flow solution, which I think should be done, it’d be nice to include alternative designs like the ContentFlow AddOns and including support for Custom Post Types.

If you don’t consider these issues to be a problem, give Message Flow a try and comment below to share how it worked out for you.

Comments (4)

  1. I can’t find a demo of this anywhere, but when it says Featured Images and posts, I’m wondering if works with custom post types.

    I’m thinking MarketPress.

    Add this on to a site with MP and use it to display the featured images of the products themselves. Instant fancy catalog to flip through.

    Possible? Think it would require hacking?

    • Hi Pete. A demo is on the homepage of the ContentFlow script’s site. They have their Cover Flow links set to each image’s URL, but you get the feel of the Cover Flow from their demo.

      In terms of Custom Post Types, I tested it by creating a new category within my CPT (e.g. Category ’19′) and using that category in the Message Flow shortcode and it didn’t display anything. In fact, if you have a category ’19′ and add a regular post to it and also add a CPT post to category ’19′, the Message Flow plugin will display the single non-CPT item. In other words, it ignores CPTs. Supporting CPTs was one of my suggestions near the end of the article.

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