Posted by : Magnus Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Presentations are PowerPoint, you say? Well, think again. Most people I know start yawning as soon as PowerPoint gets mentioned. You don’t want your clients to yawn. If you are into presenting using your Android or iPad, you’ll even need additional tools to get a PPT up and running. As we are web developers, why not use the fine JavaScript framework Reveal.js, that just caught my eye? Reveal.js lets you build your presentations as a website, so all you need to – well – present is a browser.

Reveal.js: The demo presentation
Reveal.js consists of one single JavaScript file and two style sheets. The first style sheet defines some common styles, while the second contains the layout of a standard theme, you could build upon. This theme defines the look of the important parts of your presentations as there are text, pictures and links. Themes in Reveal.js can easily be customized as the style sheet is very well structured and easy to comprehend. Transitions between slides, if you like to use this wizardry, are established through CSS 3D transitions.

Slide Markup via HTML5

The markup of the presentation slides ist done by using HTML5 elements of the type SECTION. Above these sections we have two containers telling the framework, where the presentation part inside of the HTML document shall begin:
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<div class="reveal">
  div class="slides">
    <section>
      <p>Folie 1</p>
    </section>
    <section>
      <p>Folie 2</p>
    </section>
  </div>
</div>
Inside each section arbitrary content is allowed. You navigate using the arrow keys. You can even nest sections into each other. That way you could further segment your presentation. Using the left and right arrow keys lets you navigate through the sections of the first level. Reaching a nested section the up and down arrows come into effect and let you scroll through the sections of the second level:
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<div>
  div>
    <section>
      <p>Folie 1</p>
    </section>
    <section>
      <section>
        <p>Folie 2 a</p>
      </section>
      <section>
        <p>Folie 2 b</p>
      </section>
    </section>
  </div>
</div>
Pressing ESC shows an index of all slides from where you can target each slide individually.

Index of the presentation demo

Reveal.js: Extended Navigation Possible

If you’d like to enable mouse navigation in addition to keyboard control, you can do so by implementing a small operating element into your presentation. To achieve mouse navigation you integrate a small snippet of code into the container right after the slides definition. You’ll see a control element showing the four directions symbolized by their respective arrow keys at the bottom right of the browser window.
In long presentations you might like to have a progress bar shown, just to make sure you don’t get lost or bend your speaking time too much. Again this is just one line of code. The progress bar shows up at the bottom horizontal. Its position represents the position of the active slide in the whole presentation.

Reveal.js: Capable Of Markdown

This one is for me. Instead of using HTML to style the contents of your slides, you can as well make use of the simple Markdown syntax. I use that all of the time. This article is written in Markdown. Reveal.js will simply translate your Markdown to HTML. Advantage: A content in Markdown is lots easier to maintain as you don’t have to search for the content inside of all those opening and closing tags.
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<section>
  ##Heading H2
 
  Paragraph with [link](http://www.noupe.com)
</section>
Conclusion: Reveal.js is a strong framework for putting together high-grade browser-based presentations. Combined with JavaScript’s Fullscreen-API the results are more than competitive to Powerpoint, yawn…

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