This blog initially was written on personal blog under the heading - Making presentations using code.

In a hurry? TL;DR

Why do we make presentations?

Visual communications are highly constructive and comprehensible form of creating memories.

Wikipedia says:

Visual communication is the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be seen...Visual communication is a broad spectrum that includes signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, advertising, animation, color, and electronic resources...

Many have talked about the effectiveness of visual communication superseding other means of communications and in multitudes of disciplines. Conversations with visual content is bread and butter for domains like education, health care, defense and corporate businesses.

I love effective presentations. More than 90% of the things that I've learnt, understood and retained were because of the visual clues which made long paragraphs easy to digest. Moreover, creating effective presentations make a permanent mark in memories about the concepts; which is skill worth learning. And mind you, this is not the excuse for the dirty diagrams and doodles in all my notebooks.

Motivation for better presentations = Sadness.pptx :(

I spent first four years of my work life in Mu Sigma (analytics services and consulting domain) and communication is second biggest part of your work share in such firms, seconded by delivery. I learned immensely about creating content and documentations and, messaging the content and presentations.

Repeating, I love effective presentations and I like to make them as well. But I don't enjoy the process I have to go through to make presentations and the choice of tools available to make effective presentations.

The most sincere thought using presentations are:

  • Content >> layout and messaging - while creating, I want to focus on getting the content before I worry about explaining better looking concept
  • Need of a chief experience officer - before I present, I should not have to worry about how to share the presentation, why is adjusting to the screen size, where is my script, how to get the projector to work, and so on. It is expensive for presenter to familiarize with a new equipment every time they want to present
  • -v or --verbose Commentary - why test the attention span of audience?
  • Flying header with zooming images - garish colors, unnecessary animation, illegible fonts, or overcrowded texts - nothing is more annoying than these
  • my_presentation_last_final_v10_20190530_without_animations.pptx - no version control = sad life

I needed a lazier way of solving these problems and hence the hunt started.

Gopher way of presentation

Have you ever noticed how Go community presents GoTalks? You will notice simplistic presentation with minimal but useful animations. They are not so feature-rich as Reveal.js but they are powerful. For me, it aligns with the overall Go language philosophy as well.

These presentations are created using a Go library called present. Go Present library provides a great way of creating codified presentations which can be version controlled and hosted on the internet. I really started using this to the maximum when I realized how easy it was to prototype the idea that I would like to showcase for quick feedback or improvement.

To showcase the usage of the present tool, I've created a sample project with a example presentation. Following sections contain details about the project.

Project - usage

Project can be found here.

The project serves as a scaffolding for talks and the structure of the current project is:

+-- code                # directory containing code snippets
|   +-- src_code.go     # example source code file
|   +-- ...
+-- img                 # directory containing images
|   +-- bg_img.jpg      # example background image
|   +-- ...
+-- .gitignore
+-- example.slide       # example for the main content code
+-- README.md
+-- LICENCE

The presentation can be made with .slide format and the folders can be used to store code snippets and images required in the slides.

There are two ways one can go about checking the content of the presentations:

  1. Development - Running local server using the present package
  2. Production - Viewing it on GoTalks after pushed to Github

To run in development mode:

  • Install go.talks/present
  • Create some_content.slide in your editor
  • Run the tool $GOPATH/bin/present from the location where some_content.slide is stored

View the content of the some_content.slide file on the browser @ localhost:3999. You can check the format of content from example.slide in this repository

To run in production mode:

  • Finalize the content and structure on development server
  • Commit and push your some_content.slide to your public Github/Gitlab repository
  • Go to https://talks.godoc.org/github.com/YOUR_USER_NAME/YOUR_REPOSITORY_NAME/PATH/TO/SLIDE.slide to share and view your slide

For example slide and tutorial - https://talks.godoc.org/github.com/hrmnjt/way-to-go-present/example.slide


In case you have any feedback or comments, please create an issue on Github repository or reach out to me on Twitter or mail. Also, you can buy me coffee for more interesting content.