Yenya's World

Beamer

Next Tuesday I will have a presentation in the XXXI. EurOpen.CZ conference. I took this event as an opportunity to learn a new presentation software. In the past I have used several presentation software tools. From plain TeX (presented using xdvi(1), or later evince), to MagicPoint.

The candidates were OpenOffice.org's Impress, and Beamer. Since I would like to be able to enter and edit text using vim(1) or at least with vi-like keyboard shortcuts, I have decided to try Beamer. So far it looks nice and configurable (and their manual even had some interesting presentation tips!). There are only two drawbacks:

The first one is that it is TeX-based, so the ugliness and unorthogonality of the TeX command set sometimes cannot be hidden (I am speaking about \begin{frame}[fragile], or the fact that you cannot use \pause in some environments - like matrices in math).

And the second one is, that it is LaTeX-based, and LaTeX, as we all know, is even more disgusting than - say - XML. For example, look at the following code which describes a single frame for MagicPoint:

My first slide

The things I want to talk about:
This one
That one
and also those over there
%page


... and now the equivalent in Beamer:

\begin{frame}
\frametitle{My first slide}
The things I want to talk about:
\begin{itemize}
\item This one
\item That one
\item and also those over there
\end{itemize}
\end{frame}


Hope you see the difference. It is about 80 characters more on each slide. Since the Beamer output looks quite good, I am thinking about writing a conversion tool from the MagicPoint syntax to those verbose LaTeX environments.

2 replies for this story:

Martiner wrote:

Best presentation tool ever is Slidy http://www.w3.org/Talks/Tools/Slidy/

Yenya wrote: Re: Slidy

Slidy? Probably unusable. No easy way of generating handouts or printed version (the same problem has MagicPoint). No easy way to keep formating under control (even their sample presentation overflows the page length on my system). \$deity knows what happens when the presentation is done using a different screen resolution than on which it was prepared. No easy way to keep line breaks under control.

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