Last night I attended my second ever Google Developer Groups (GDG) event, and was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to speak about my Android apps. It was a really great experience and something I hope I can continue to practice and improve.
My talk was titled “Adventures in Android Development, from hobby to play store”, in which I walked through some of the things I considered and learnt during the development and release of RoidRage and Glimmr.
For fun and to try something different, I looked into some HTML5 solutions for my slides, starting with impress.js and settling on reveal.js. Anyone who knows me will know I’m a fan of the console, and text based solutions. If it can be written in Vim and stored in Git, that’s generally all I need to hear. Unfortunately though I’ll be going back to Google Docs in the future.
The effects and styling you get out of the box with something like reveal are cool, and it’s a novelty to create something as institutionalised as the typical slidedeck using web technologies. Sometimes though it’s just a case of the right tool for the right job, and using these libraries felt more like a hack then a help.
For me the following points lead me to conclude Google Docs is the better tool for the job:
Unless you want your slides to look identical to every other person using the framework, you’re going to want to do at least some customisation. With Google Docs you can drag/rotate/scale images and text around the page very quickly. I’m not adverse to writing CSS rules etc., but it feels entirely overkill for something that will be a one off.
Export to different formats
While both solutions are in the cloud, I would never want to rely on a network for the big event, or even assume there will be one available. This means you will either need to use your own laptop, or preferably export the slides to common format. GDocs allows me to do seamless export to a number of formats including PPTX, PDF, and even SVG. With a JS solution you better hope the presenter has a working browser, that their screen res plays nice with your CSS, etc. reveal.js has a process for printing to pdf that unfortunately didn’t work very well for me, garbled my slides, and lost some transitions.
Overall though it still worked out well, and worked just fine on the night. I’ll be interested to revisit HTML5 slidedecks in the future to see if they mature some more or are just a passing fad.
Thanks to all who attended my talk and gave kind feedback.