Ordered Image and Background Switcher Using PHP & jQuery

Yesterday I took on building a completely customized website using a bunch of  jQuery plugins, Mootools script, PHP and implementation into WordPress for $200 and a featured blog post. Why so cheap and for whom? This I will tell you in a post when the site launches. What I want to show you today is a quick and neat feature I used on that site. My client wanted a background that changed in a certain order, every time you refreshed the site OR hit the next button. Easy enough right? He also wanted to be able to control these images and update them himself – not so easy with the budget and time I had allocated to the project, that is until a help of a few programming friends came along!


First you need to figure out what folder you want the images coming from. My folder was images/bkg/. Give your images a sequential order in which you want to see them: bkg1.jpg, bkg2.jpg, etc etc Any image you upload to this folder will automatically be included in the switcher.

Inside of this folder of images, you need to upload the php script. This was given to me by @107designs and modified to display in order by @smelly_fish. Name it something like rotate.php:

$folder = '.';
$extList = array();
$extList['gif'] = 'image/gif';
$extList['jpg'] = 'image/jpeg';
$extList['jpeg'] = 'image/jpeg';
$extList['png'] = 'image/png';
$img = null;
$nmCounter = $_SESSION['nmCounter'];
//print 'my counter: ' . $nmCounter;
$_SESSION['nmCounter'] = $nmCounter;
if (substr($folder,-1) != '/') {
$folder = $folder.'/';
if (isset($_GET['img'])) {
$imageInfo = pathinfo($_GET['img']);
if (
isset( $extList[ strtolower( $imageInfo['extension'] ) ] ) &&
file_exists( $folder.$imageInfo['basename'] )
) {
$img = $folder.$imageInfo['basename'];
} else {
$fileList = array();
$handle = opendir($folder);
while ( false !== ( $file = readdir($handle) ) ) {
$file_info = pathinfo($file);
if (
isset( $extList[ strtolower( $file_info['extension'] ) ] )
) {
$fileList[] = $file;
if (count($fileList) > 0) {
$imageNumber = $nmCounter % count($fileList);
$img = $folder.$fileList[$imageNumber];
if ($img!=null) {
$imageInfo = pathinfo($img);
$contentType = 'Content-type: '.$extList[ $imageInfo['extension'] ];
header ($contentType);
} else {
if ( function_exists('imagecreate') ) {
header ("Content-type: image/png");
$im = @imagecreate (100, 100)
or die ("Cannot initialize new GD image stream");
$background_color = imagecolorallocate ($im, 255, 255, 255);
$text_color = imagecolorallocate ($im, 0,0,0);
imagestring ($im, 2, 5, 5,  "IMAGE ERROR", $text_color);
imagepng ($im);



The HTML is very simple. All you need to do is call the php script with a simple image tag (yes you read that right):

<img src="images/bkg/rotate.php" alt="W00t!"/>

What this does is it echos the binary data of the images in the folder and displays them. This should work perfectly now, switching your backgrounds in the order you gave them on refresh.

If you remember though, the client also wanted the backgrounds to switch with the click of a button without refreshing the page.

The jQuery

Give your button and your PHP image tag an ID. I went with #nextButton and #rotateBkg:

<img id="rotateBkg" src="/images/bkg/rotate.php" alt="W00t!" />
<a id="nextButton" class="next" title="Next Image" href="#"></a>

After you’re jQuery library link of course, place this bit of code:

var count = 0;
$(document).ready(function() {
$("#nextButton").click(function() {
$("#rotateBkg").attr({src : ""});
$("#rotateBkg").attr({src : "/images/bkg/rotate.php?q=" + count});
count = count + 1;


Refresh the page and voila!

The Results

Not only does this proceed in order, it also has a memory! If you hit the next button 3 times and then refresh, the refreshed site will display the 4th image, instead of starting over! (Super cool, huh?) We had a caching problem at first, where it refused to update the image, this has been resolved by another friend of mine @IsaacVanName, who changed up the jQuery event to prevent caching.

This works in IE6+, FF3+ (and probably lower), Safari and Chrome!