Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Presentation Hack: S5 + LAML

Quite some time back I reading lshift.com's blog and learned about S5, A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System. I played around with one of their example slideshows and was blown away.

The slide show was created out of HTML, yet it produced a polished presentation that would run inside of Firefox, IE or Opera. Considering how compact it is, it provides quite a number of features, including the ability to toggle between show mode and text mode, the ability to jump around in the slides and a completely CSS driven look & feel.

There were only two minor difficulties. First, because S5 is xHTML based, it doesn't provide for any means of creating abstractions. I was going to be hand programming all the HTML, which seemed like a pain. And secondly, I had no reason to use it. So, I put it on the back burner.

Then tonight came along. Previously, I had developed a whole bunch of materials for ITE-115, a class I'm teaching, using LAML. Tonight, I decided I wanted to do my next outline as a presentation, instead of a flat HTML document.

However, LAML didn't appear to offer a simple presentation mode. Then I remembered S5 and it clicked - I could use LAML to generate the HTML needed to represent S5's format. I would get the benefits of S5 and have the ability to create new abstractions.

It worked great. I wrote a bit of LAML code so I can write:

 (presentation "My First Test"
   (slide/b "Slide One: bulleted example"
     (<< "My first point")
     (<< "My second point"))
   (slide "Slide two: regular o'l HTML"
     (huge (center "This is some big, centered, text"))))

The LAML functions such as slide/b, slide, presentation, huge were trivial to write, yet made creating my presentation easier and without the need to cut & paste my way to a solution.

If you need a simple presentation solution, that's pretty much always going to work, I'd give this combo a try.

And if you want something that's a bit fancier, you should check out Beamer and PLT Slideshow. Though, S5 is going to be hard to beat for its simplicity.


  1. Anonymous7:48 PM

    i've been resisting the urge to make pointless "wow, that's pretty cool" comments on posts like this because it adds nothing to the post, but what the hell:

    wow, that's pretty cool.

  2. It's not a useless comment by a long shot - it lets me know that someone is paying attention and that I'm not blogging totally off in left field.

    So thanks.