Why did you do this in the first place?

I'd been using Opera Show for a while, and the ability to have one document be a slide show, a printed handout, and a Web-based slide show outline was great. Still, it had some limitations I didn't like. For example, there was no way to jump to an arbitrary slide—you could only move linearly through the slides. If you flipped out of Opera Show and then back, it wouldn't always put you back on the same slide you left. And it didn't have a way to show "slide X of Y" information.

I put up with those limitations until Opera 7.5 for Mac OS X came out, and displayed its banner ads across the top of the slide show. That, plus seeing Tantek Çelik's slide system, drove me to create S5. It isn't a completely original idea, as Tantek and many others have done similar things. The difference here is twofold. First, S5 is a little more feature-rich than other systems I've seen. Second, while S5 1.0 was published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, S5 as of version 1.1 is explicitly in the Public Domain, so it's really out there for anyone who wants it. (For more on licensing terms, such as they are, see below.)

I like complex, powerful tools. Why should I use a "simple" slide show system?

Actually, the "simple" part refers mostly to the file structure, and also to the fact that you can create a decent slide show system with a few open Web standards. However, it does also express the anticipated simplicity of the slides themselves. This is not a tool for people who like to have their slides sparkle and swoosh, or do wipe-transitions from one slide to the next. On the other hand, most slide shows don't use that stuff, and most of those that do really shouldn't. So this is a system that's definitely good enough for most cases.

The other advantage, of course, is the very small size of the slide show files. You could just about create a fully styled fifty-slide S5 presentation in the same number of kilobytes needed for a single-slide Powerpoint file that had minimal text and no styles.

What are the licensing terms, and how do they affect the content of a slide show done in S5?

First, whatever license S5 has or did have, it will only ever apply to the technology, not the content. You can prepare a confidential presentation where the content is not only copyrighted and patented, but Top Secret as well. S5's license will not affect it.

As of version 1.1, the technology itself has been explicitly released into the Public Domain, so there are no restrictions whatsoever on its use or reuse (nor can there ever be). S5 v1.0 was published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, which still holds for that version of the software. The change was made because I found out CC licenses aren't appropriate for software only after 1.0 came out. Oops.

Since it's a "simple standards-based slide show system", why not S2BS3?

I think that question more or less answers itself, really.

Shouldn't it really be the "stupendously simple small sized standards-based structural slide show system", or S9? That would be nearly twice as good as S5, right?

Let's not get carried away.


  • S5 1.1 (477KB ZIP file)

    When you uncompress the archive, you must preserve the directory structure.

  • S5 1.2a2 (177KB ZIP file)

    Latest development release. This is an alpha release; treat it accordingly.


Historical Information