XML Presenter - an xml/xslt slideshow tool
Posted Fri, 21 Apr 2006
Some would consider my behavior and preferred operating environment in unix-like operating systems to classify me as a "power user." Whatever you want to call it, there only a few graphical programs that I've used that don't make me angry. Many graphical interfaces place a significant burden on me, the user, through various means. These burdens include hide-and-seek games looking for a particular function or feature, heavy mouse usage (which perhaps isn't all that bad), and generally making me spend more time actually *using* the program than getting useful work done.
I'm completely unfamiliar with any and all existing tools to create PowerPoint-like presentations, so my attempts at making useful work come out of these programs bring frustration and annoyance. Frankly, I'm a programmer and a sysadmin; my goal is to increase productivity while decreasing the amount of superfluous effort I have put towards actually achieving the end result, which might be a finished PowerPoint-like presentation. Time and energy are wasted on hunting through a seemingly endless pile of context menus and toolbars.
As I mentioned, I am a programmer. I like doing useful work. At the office, I was told I needed to give a presentation to my co-workers on some various topics. In an effort not to have to use PowerPoint or OpenOffice, I decided that instead of spending time putzing around in either of those programs, I'd write my own presentation/slideshow solution and use it to write and show my presentation.
As for the technical aspects of the project: it makes use of XSLT to turn my own "XPL" files into web-based PowerPoint-like slideshows. The xml formatting of the project is very simple. Slide bodies can contain any HTML I choose to use for formatting.
<slideshow> <title> Simple Slideshow Example </title> <slide> <title> My First Slide </title> <body> The body can contain any valid html. It's pretty much copied verbatim using 'xsl:copy' and recursion. </body> </slide> <slide> <title> This is another slide </title> <body> <h3> Example use </h3> <i> of </i> <b> html</b> in this tool.<p/> <ul> <li> point 1 </li> <li> point 2 </li> </ul> </body> </slide> </slideshow>
That's the gist of it. Slides are displayed in order of appearance in the XPL file. This solution solves many issues:
- No cumbersome graphical interface
- No learning curve (for me anyway, I wrote it!)
- Uses programs I'm already familiar with: Firefox, vi, xsltproc.
- Doesn't make me angry
A demo can be seen here: View demo
Browser Support List:
- Mozilla Family: 100% works
- Konqueror 3.4.0: 100% works
- Opera 8: Everything works except browser back/forward (history)
- Internet Explorer 5: Navigation works kind of works, something's busted.
- Safari: Basic features work. Browser history, side-bar, etc do not.