Cadeau is like a static site generator, but for presentations with the goal of supporting multiple backends
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Readme.md

Cadeau

I've been wanting to use Javascript presentation frameworks for some time. I like the idea of being able to use the power of HTML5 in my presentation. I also like the idea of managing slides like source code so I can version control them and generally treat them as content fragments instead of large decks of slides.

There are a lot of nice Javascript frameworks out there for doing presentations. But I find the markup is often arcane and their support for different types of markup is always uneven. The idea being cadeau was largely inspired by discussions with @dietmarw and our joint goal of separating the slide content as much as possible from the presentation framework.

My goal in this project is to create collections of slides and then use a presentation description file to organize those slides. By separating the organization representation from the slide content, I hope to promote slide reuse. Given the content and the organization information, cadeau then generates a presentation in much the same way static site generators generate web-sites. However cadeau is specialized around presentations (one could perhaps argue that some site generator tools could be specialized to this task, and they might be right...but I didn't go that route).

This project is in its infancy, but so far I'm happy with the ability to separate slide content from presentation organization from presentation framework.

Getting Started

Create an empty directory and create a file called slides.yaml that looks like this:

metadata:
  title: Getting Started
slides:
  Introduction:
    - <hero><h1>Introducing Cadeau</h1><hero>

Now run cadeau in that directory. It will generate an output directory with an index.html file in it that you can open with any modern web browser.

At this point, you've got a presentation, but very little content. In this case, we added a slide "inline" by just giving its HTML. But this is not scalable. Now change the slides.yaml file to:

metadata:
  title: Getting Started
slides:
  Introduction:
    - <hero><h1>Introducing Cadeau</h1><hero>
    - features.html

...and add a file in the same directory as slides.yaml entitled features.html that looks like this:

<h1>Features</h1>

<h2>Separation of presentation, from slides, from backend renderer</h2>
<h2>Ability to group slides together by topic for easy mixing and
matching of slide groups</h2>
<h2>Abstracted markup to support multiple backends</h2>
<h2>Support for JADE, HTML, Markdown formatted content</h2>
<h2>
  Built-in HTML templating support using
  <a href="http://paularmstrong.github.io/swig/">Swig</a>
</h2>

Let's say we wanted to add reveal each feature, one by one. We could change features.html to this:

<h1>Features</h1>

<h2 class="c-step">Separation of presentation, from slides, from backend renderer</h2>
<h2 class="c-step">Ability to group slides together by topic for easy mixing and
matching of slide groups</h2>
<h2 class="c-step">Abstracted markup to support multiple backends</h2>
<h2 class="c-step">Support for JADE, HTML, Markdown formatted content</h2>
<h2 class="c-step">
  Built-in HTML templating support using
  <a href="http://paularmstrong.github.io/swig/">Swig</a>
</h2>

In order to avoid having to produce arcane and presentation framework specific markup, Cadeau uses special elements and classes to convey the intent of elements in the content and then transforms them to the appropriate backend specific markup during code generation. The <hero> element shown in slides.yaml and the c-step class shown in features.html are examples of this kind of markup.

Even with the condensed markup that Cadeau provides, we can quickly get into situations where we are repeating the same markup. So Cadeau includes a built-in template engine with support for inheritance and macros to help reduce the amount of redundant code. For example, we could have written features.html like this instead:

{% macro feature(desc) %}
<h2 class="c-step">{{desc|safe}}</h2>
{% endmacro %}

<h1>Features</h1>

{{ feature('Separation of presentation, from slides, from backend renderer') }}
{{ feature('Ability to group slides together by topic for easy mixing and matching of slide groups') }}
{{ feature('Abstracted markup to support multiple backends') }}
{{ feature('Support for JADE, HTML, Markdown formatted content') }}
{{ feature('Built-in HTML templating support using <a href="http://paularmstrong.github.io/swig/">Swig</a>') }}

The use of macros not only avoids repetitive markup, it means you can quickly change the markup as well, e.g.,

{% macro feature(desc) %}
<li class="c-step"><h4>{{desc|safe}}</h4></li>
{% endmacro %}

<h1>Features</h1>

<ul>
{{ feature('Separation of presentation, from slides, from backend renderer') }}
{{ feature('Ability to group slides together by topic for easy mixing and matching of slide groups') }}
{{ feature('Abstracted markup to support multiple backends') }}
{{ feature('Support for JADE, HTML, Markdown formatted content') }}
{{ feature('Built-in HTML templating support using <a href="http://paularmstrong.github.io/swig/">Swig</a>') }}
</ul>

Installation

Prerequisites

Ubuntu/Debian systems

If you are using a Debian/Ubuntu system then you need to do

apt-get install nodejs-legacy npm

or you install nodejs using Chris Lea's repo:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chris-lea/node.js
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nodejs

As of Node.js v0.10.0, the nodejs package from Chris Lea's repo includes both npm and nodejs-dev.

Install

cadeau requires Node to run. To install cadeau globally:

npm install -g cadeau

If you get an error when running that command, and it contains this line somwhere in it:

npm ERR! Please try running this command again as root/Administrator.

You will need to run the install via sudo:

sudo npm install -g cadeau

PDF Generation

How

I added the ability to create PDF slides for presentations. This works by using PhantomJS (headless WebKit) to render each slide and then using GhostScript to concatenate all the slides together. PDF generation is currently a two step process. First, you must run cadeau with both the -w and -g/--pdf options. The -g/--pdf option will cause a script to be created in the local directory (where cadeau was run) called makepdf.sh. While cadeau is still running (in watch mode, due to the -w flag), you can run this script to generate a PDF of the presentation. Please Note: the script depends on having the cadeau running with the -w flag because it requires a server to be running that is serving the presentation. As such, it is important that you do not kill the cadeau process before running the makepdf.sh script.

Dependencies

The -g/--pdf flag doesn't introduce any additional depdendencies. But in order to run it, you'll need to have both PhantomJS installed (globally) and GhostScript.

To install PhantomJS, simply run:

npm install -g phantomjs

On OSX, you can install GhostScript with:

brew install ghostscript