A few more thoughts on presentation software

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I really don’t like Powerpoint…well, that’s not exactly true. There’s nothing wrong with Powerpoint—it’s just a tool—but it seems too many people use it in the same, bullet-ridden checklist sort of way…I bet we’ve all found ourselves in a “Death by Powerpoint” moment.

Leaving aside the content (which no software is going to fix) my current solution for the “sameness” problem is Apple’s Keynote. Of course, if Apple ever achieves the 90%+ market share enjoyed by Windows, I’ll have to try something else but at least I’ve bought some time.

Thanks to Eric Meyer (probably best known for his O’Reilly CSS books) I also have a fall-back plan..and this one’s available to the 90% who haven’t yet “switched.” Eric offers a way to easily build a web-based presentation using a single webpage (using XHTML, CSS and Javascript). No, it doesn’t offer the slick transitions or builds you expect with presentation software but it doesn’t aspire to be a solution for every problem. But along with its many virtures, it offers something all the other packages seem to lack—the ability to give someone a simple URL and know they’ll see the presentation exactly as you intended it to look.

The S5 site (Simple Standards-based Slide Show System):


If you ever used Opera Show (a feature built into the Opera Browser), then you will understand where Eric got the idea. He’s improved upon the work the Opera team did, added touches drawn from the work of Tantek Çelik (of Microsoft and now Technorati) and extended it to work with any modern browser.

S5 is open source and a very useful product. Spend a few minutes at the S5 site (view the demo, for example) and I bet you’ll immediately begin to think of times when this is the perfect solution.