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Archive: 19 July 2006

S5Project.org

Over the past year-plus-a-half, S5 has grown from a small hack of a compact slide show script written by Tantek Çelik into a relatively complex bit of work.  In the beginning, there was simply a way to take a single document and turn it into a series of slides.  I added basic keyboard controls, a navigation menu, and the ability to have the navigation controls show and hide, and then threw it out into the public eye.  People loved it, and with a lot of help from a lot of people, all manner of features were added: slide bookmarks, much better keyboard controls, incremental progress, a notes view, and more.

Despite all this community involvement, though, the code base was in a single set of hands: mine.  Anything that was added to the “official” S5 code was done by me, as time and understanding allowed.  As anyone could have predicted, this has slowed the advancement of S5 over time, and of late it’s brought advancement to a near standstill as I’ve struggled to keep up with other demands.  The only thing I’ve added since 1.2a2 is the ability to blank the screen by hitting the “B” key, and that change has yet to become public.

Of course, the code is explicitly in the public domain, so anyone can add to S5—and many have.  ZohoShow, for example, outputs S5 1.1 code.  I’ve seen S5 used for product tours of medical software and board games.  Jonathon Snook added a “live preview” version of the notes view, which I totally want to see in the primary code base.  David Goodger made a bunch of useful Docutils-compatibility additions that I never managed to fold in.  I also know of four different implementations of remote-control functionality, where one person runs a slide show and changes are reflected in remote copies.  This is a feature perfect for distance learning, corporate netconferences, and other situations.

And all this time, there was still no way to have those enhancements, or any others, “come home” to the source of S5 unless I did it myself.  Until now.

Thanks to Ryan King, we now have S5 Project, which will be the official home of S5.  Besides the blog and mailing list S5-discuss, there will be a wiki, a source code repository, and a bug-and-feature-request tracking system.  If you’re an S5 hacker, or even a frequent user, please do join the mailing list (I know, I know—another one?) or at least subscribe to the S5Project RSS feed to keep track of what’s going on.  I expect the mailing list to become the place for coders to talk about additions they want to make and bugs they’re trying to squash, even after the bug-tracking software gets set up, and it will be a primary source of content for the wiki-to-come.

While it’s been the case that anyone may add to S5 in their own way, for whatever purpose they see fit, now there will truly be community access to what’s always been a community project.  I hope you’ll join us there!

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