HTML Slidy: Slide Shows in XHTML

Dave Raggett, one of the original developers of the HTML spec (and the one whose guide I first studied to learn HTML), and the original author of HTML Tidy, an HTML cleanup utility, has written a utility called HTML Slidy which is an outstanding tool for creating pure, XHTML standards-compliant & semantic web-based presentations.

His XTech 2006 presentation (warning: PDF file) provides a few more details as well as some information of a browser-based slide editor (not as interesting to me…). What is most excellent about Slidy is the fact that it uses the best practices of web design (standards compliance, semantics, & browser compatibility) to provide a truly intuitive web-base slide presentation tool. It’s usability cannot be overstated. Its features include:

  • Move forward & backward through pages using right- & left-arrow keys, along with page down & page up
  • It supports incremental displays
  • It supports linking to individual pages within the presentation without losing any of the forward/backward features
  • All content is stored in one XHTML file
  • All presentational elements are executed via CSS
  • All features are available in all browsers, or at least degrade gracefully (requires some additional user work, such as providing a bitmap alternative to an SVG image)
  • All dynamic code is contained in one Javascript file (Slidy.js)
  • All Slidy-related materials (code, examples, etc.) are available via the WC3’s Software & Document licenses (The W3C Software license is said to be GNU compatible)

I’m really looking forward to seeing this standard used more & more. Considering it is pretty much free from incompatibilities, I intend to start using it ASAP for any presentations I need to make. The best part is that, because it is based on XHTML Strict, it is also a valid XML document, and so it should easily losslessly convert to other media without too much difficulty, while also because pretty future proof. XML doesn’t seem to be fading out anytime soon.

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