Simple Lightbox – The Road to 2.0: Overview

A Bird's Eye View of the Future of SLB
By Sol in Lab

Update: Simple Lightbox 2.0 has been released.  Get it now!

If you’ve been paying attention to the recent development log, you may have noticed the uptick in notes relating to Simple Lightbox (SLB), my highly customizable lightbox plugin for the venerable WordPress platform.  Now it’s official: Simple Lightbox 2.0 is coming.

I previously wrote that Simple Lightbox is meant to be purpose-built for WordPress, and that’s what the next version is all about.

Many improvements are on the way in the next version, especially in terms of customization, performance, and usability.  Future posts will provide a more in-depth look at the various features, but here is a brief overview of the changes we’ll see in Simple Lightbox 2.0:


The current version of SLB already has a wealth of options (activation by post-type, slideshow controls, UI customization, etc.), and even allows third-party additions to a limited degree.  However, the next version of SLB will take this to the next level.  Advanced third-party support will allow custom features to be added to SLB just like a WordPress plugin.  The administration interface has been overhauled to provide site owners with a simple way to control both built-in and third-party features.

Simply put, there are going to be some very interesting features that will let you display media in new ways in the next version.


The lightbox code has been rewritten from the ground up to be completely modular and extremely extensible.  This results in smoother operation of the default lightbox components, but also allows others to add additional features to make the humble lightbox an even more powerful tool for displaying media.

Robust Theme Support

Love it or hate it, most lightboxes (SLB included) generally have a very similar look, but the next version of SLB will make it simple for the lightbox to fit the look of the rest of your site perfectly.  This will also allow theme developers add support for SLB to their themes.  Imagine downloading a theme with a lightbox that matches the rest of the theme perfectly.

Adding additional features to a lightbox theme will also be possible.  Social/sharing buttons, download links, and more will be simple to add.

Display Everything

Thanks to the modular nature of SLB 2.0, the lightbox will be capable of displaying any type of content.  SLB 2.0 will ship with some default content types built-in (images, WordPress attachments, etc.), and additional content types will also be available (either directly or via third-parties).

The best part is that anyone will be able to simply add the ability to display new content types in SLB.

Auto-resize? Yes

I’ve heard the cries for automatic resizing of content that is too large for the browser window.  I’d love this feature too, but it needs to be done right, as standard implementations leave a lot to be desired in terms of image quality.  I’m happy to report that some interesting solutions are currently in development to allow Simple Lightbox to resize content to fit the browser window while maintaining as much image quality as possible.

Advanced, but still Simple

You may have noticed the word “simple” sprinkled generously throughout this overview, but this is no trivial matter.  Simple Lightbox was made to be a simple and automatic way to display images in a lightbox with as little fuss as possible.  SLB 2.0 will have more features, but it will still remain as simple as ever to customize to your heart’s content.  Not to worry, SLB’s zero-click functionality will still be there– just activate and it works.

As always, the suggestion box is open

Rapid progress is being made on Simple Lightbox 2.0, but your requests and suggestions are as welcome as always.  Leave a comment below for what you want to see in the next version of SLB (but don’t bother asking for free slurpies– that’s already planned as a premium option).

Be Prepared

As I mentioned, future posts will cover various aspects of SLB 2.0 in greater detail, so keep your eyes peeled or follow me to find out about them the instant they’re published.

Get a Sneak Peek

Are you a brave tester? Sign up to be part of the Simple Lightbox 2.0 private beta team now!