S5: A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System

With one file, you can run a complete slide show and have a printer-friendly version as well. Anyone with even a smidgen of familiarity with HTML or XHTML can look at the markup and figure out how to adapt it to their particular needs.

S5 is a slide show format based entirely on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With one file, you can run a complete slide show and have a printer-friendly version as well. The markup used for the slides is very simple, highly semantic, and completely accessible. Anyone with even a smidgen of familiarity with HTML or XHTML can look at the markup and figure out how to adapt it to their particular needs. Anyone familiar with CSS can create their own slide show theme. It’s totally simple, and it’s totally standards-driven.

If only my lecturers could use Eric Meyer’s latest toy. That would make the lecture notes far more useful.

‘PDF: Unfit for human consumption’

I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the format. On Mac OS X, by default, when you want to view a PDF on the web, you have to download it to the disk and open it with Preview or Acrobat. You can enable Quicktime to display PDF files in Safari, but it will only display the first page. There’s the PDF Browser Plugin that is slow even on my Powerbook, and has big useability bugs.

What Jakob Nielsen doesn’t mention is how complicated it is to edit PDFs. I have a lecturer who puts all his lecture notes online, in PDF, in Comic Sans. Uugh. And there is (almost – pdftohtml) no easy, quick way of converting all that to XHTML and display it in Lucida Grande or Gill Sans, as I do with those awful Powerpoint “Presentations”.

Why can’t lecturers publish their slides in a readable format? What’s wrong with HTML?