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Keynote-as-a-Service: HTTP control for Keynote Presenters
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KAAS: Keynote as a Service


KAAS is a HTTP server for controlling compatible versions of Apple's Keynote presentation software via HTTP. It exposes a JSON API for determining the current slide and build progress, for starting, pausing, and controlling the current slide show.

It can also send notes and build previews to client devices.

This functionality is also exposed in a basic HTML client, which will be extended and documented in the future.

The server is written in Python 2.6+, and has a dependency on PyObjC & AppKit. Note that the default interpreter is Python 2.6 as this provices PyObjC bindings on most Mac OS X installations with no external dependencies.

It currently has very good support for Keynote version 5 (iWork 2009), and has experimental-quality support for Keynote version 6 (iWork 2013) -- the quality of scripting interface is currently far lower in Keynote 6.

This is the server component of Keymote, my Android Keynote Remote, which can be found on the Play Store (restricted to approved testing users only).

Basic use -- Command Line

Before you can load the server, you'll need to start Keynote up, and open a presentation file. If you have multiple presentation files open, make sure the file you want to present from is front-most.

To load up the server, run

$ ./kaas/

The server will output the following:

Generating export from frontmost keynote slideshow...
Generating build previews...
Starting server...
Now serving on:
The PIN number is: 123456

Direct your Keynote Remote app at the listed server, and enter the PIN number. The PIN number is used to authenticate API calls made from the app -- this means that randoms can't take over your presentation. But you really should be using this on a private network. Really :)

If you want to present from a different deck of slides, you will need to quit the server (Ctrl+C), and restart it. The ability to change slide decks is a planned feature.


If you get an ImportError: No module named AppKit message; try running the following:

$ sudo easy_install-2.6 pyobjc-framework-Cocoa

And running

$ python2.6 kaas/

Basic Use -- GUI

From your command line, run

$ ./kaas/

JSON API Documentation

Once API documentation is ready, it'll be available at

App & Module Structure


  • -- Low-level python-to-Applescript bridge for keynote, exposes functions needed for controlling keynote.
  • -- Abstract interface for manipulating Keynote's JSON export formats, including assembling build previews from its degenerate textures.
  • -- Low-level details for manipulating Keynote 5/iWork '09 JSON exports. See kpf-json-format.txt for my notes on how the format works.
  • -- Low-level details for manipulating Keynote 6/iWork 2013 JSON exports.
  • -- The GET request handler for the server.
  • -- TK-based GUI for KAAS.
  • -- Handler for JSON API calls.
  • -- The HTTP server for KAAS. This also handles authentication of requests before passing them off to the handler.
  • -- A higher-level API for manipulating KPF files and controlling keynote than either or respectively.


  • kpf-json.format.txt -- Vague notes I wrote when trying to understand the KPF (Keynote JSON) format that KAAS uses to understand the presentation being played.


Copyright 2013 Christopher Neugebauer and contributors

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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