Slide presentations: S5 and Google Present

I’ve mentioned and endorsed S5 (the Simple Standards-based Slide Show System, if memory serves) before, as a great way to write a presentation, and at the same time generate slides, handouts and the HTML to post it to the internet, all as the same set of documents. Creating a set of slides in S5 means I don’t have to worry if the machine at the presentation site has a ‘viewer’ as long as they can read standard XHTML and run Javascript. I can post it directly to my web site archive of shows, and carry it on a USB tab in case my laptop decides not to work.

Google has recently announced Google Present as part of their free Google Apps. It’s a pretty cool AJAXy interface familiar to anyone who’s worked with one the many slide programs. One killer feature is that it will import PowerPoint files, even some of the ugly old ones. You can publish them online as I’ve done here with a Y2K presentation from the dFPUG Conference. The import came over with pretty good fidelity, far better than the original HTML export that PowerPoint 9 attempted. So far, so good. But what happens if you’re planning on doing a presentation and can’t trust the internet will be available (important safety tip here, folks: you can’t trust the internet to be available. Murphy has a special place in his heart for presentations)? Even better news: Google Apps also lets you download a copy of this. It comes down as a ZIP file, handy to throw on a USB tab (you should save an unzipped copy, too) and put in a different bag than the one that holds your laptop. It unZIPs to an HTML file and a couple folders holding the CSS, JavaScript, images and supporting files to run the show and runs from a local disk. You could upload this version to your web site, too, and look what you get: a slick slideshow with slides, fonts and graphics that scale to size of the screen (essential when you discover the projector can only handle 800×600!) and redraw pretty snappily.

Finally, S5 has a competitor! This one looks promising.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.