A couple of people have sent me the link to DOMSlides - Yet another standards based presentation slide system. I'm already a fan of S5, so I figured I'd check this one out.

upsides of DOMSlides

  • Slightly lighter file weight than S5, fewer support files.
  • If you don't use graphics, you can embed the CSS and JavaScript and have a single, self-contained file.
    • This would allow a single file to be emailed to people, stored in repositories, etc.
    • To be fair, I haven't tried this in S5 yet.
  • Very neat layout/interface for the user who is browsing the document as a web page.
  • Doesn't take over all keypresses, S5 is a little bit over-enthusiastic on that count.
  • If Javascript is disabled or not available, the page degrades very nicely to styled content.

downsides/bugs of DOMSlides

  • User can't toggle between slide mode and linear page mode (not counting disabling javascript as a toggle)
  • TOC fails for long presentations (extends off cavas and doesn't scroll)
  • TOC does not number the slides
  • If more than one slide has the same title, they are collapsed into one TOC item. The DOMSlides presentation itself does this - it has five slides titled "How to style your slides". All five appear as one item in the TOC, so you can't jump straight to a specific slide.
  • Keyboard shortcuts don't work or aren't reliable
    • Keyboard shortcuts failed in Firefox if the focus is changed, or the presentation loads in a background window and you switch to it
    • Keyboard shortcuts also fail in IE if the focus changes, etc
    • Keyboard shortcuts failed in Opera in all circumstances
  • Default template doesn't allow for speaker notes, although you can probably add this with your own CSS..

other claims

The DOMSlides site does make some points/claims which I am not sure it actually follows up. Which is not to say that it doesn't, just that I can't see how it does.

  • DOMSlides suggests this advantage over S5: It is dependent on a height and will cut off presentations on smaller resolutions. I can't tell how DOMSlides is supposed to avoid this problem, other than the fact the default template is really small and fits in 800x600. I imagine a similar design for S5 would work just as well.
  • Enhance an HTML document with a proper structure instead of relying on markup created for the slide system Well actually DOMSlides requires specifically-named DIVs, so it does require markup specifically for the slideshow. It's no better or worse than S5 in that sense.

As I said, I may have simply missed something.


I'm not ditching S5 just yet, but I'll be keeping an eye on DOMSlides. If the keyboard shortcuts and TOC issues are fixed, this will be a very nice alternative. The more standards-compliant alternatives we have to PowerPoint, the better!