Like many geeks, I frequently use text-based interfaces where normal people use GUIs, with a sense of smug self-satisfaction. Instead of a WYSIAYG word processor I use typesetting software like LaTeX. No fancy website creators for me, I use gvim to edit HTML files. Spreadsheets? I keep data in flat text files and write scripts to process them.
How about presentations? I had used MagicPoint for a few, but I wasn't completely satisfied. For instance, equations were fiddly: I had to write a script that would run TeX to render the equations to encapsulated PostScript and embed the resulting image in the slideshow. I briefly thought about writing my own program. Very briefly. Then I thought about exploiting existing programs instead.
I had come across PinPoint which uses GIMP to produce great-looking slides from a few lines. GIMP was designed to manipulate and display text and images, and is scriptable. But for live presentations, and for certain features I wanted, other programs or scripts would be needed, requiring a fair amount of work.
An idea hit me. MagicPoint can convert slides to HTML. How difficult would it be to modify things slightly so that presentations can be done in a web browser? After all, web browsers also manipulate and display text and images from a simple language. Not only that, they were designed to show different pages in succession. They are also ubiquitous.
Luckily, an alternative, the S5 project, has surfaced, which creates slideshows from a few lines of XHTML, and should work on any standards-compliant browser.
S5 was just what I was looking for. Webpages can contain images, text, visual effects, animations, and so on, and in theory S5 presentations should be able to as well.
MathML in S5
I want to display equations via MathML, but at present one cannot simply embed MathML (or SVG) and change the MIME type of S5 slides accordingly, though a fix exists and will be released.
Also, for months now, MathML does not display correctly on certain Linux systems, though a workaround exists [also described here]. And for some reason, S5 is extremely slow on my Debian system, but runs fine on the Windows build of Firefox.