Visualising RSS: playing with WizaRSS and S5

Peter Forret suggested WizaRss, or using an webfeed to package a wizard, a step-by-step-tutorial. Since RSS separates presentation from content, and is both simple and popular, it would be a great way to syndicate step-by-step-tutorials and have them re(dis)played, reused and remixed in every kind of skin imaginable.

For tutorials and trainings, Powerpoint is a popular, but proprietary tool. Eric Meyer’s S5 however, is “slide show format based entirely on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript”, thus open and platform-independent, see this example S5 slideshow. So here’s my first shot at what Peter calls a “generic wizard visualizer”: an RSS-S5 convertor:

Mind you: it does not take (yet) into account enclosures (so images, video or audio links need to be embedded in the html-description of the RSS items) and you’ll notice that it does put some constraints on the amount of text you can put in a wizard step (well, learning does come in small steps anyway).

Oh Peter… you forgot to add a description for your wizarss example ;-) (updated meanwhile)

10 Responses to “Visualising RSS: playing with WizaRSS and S5”

  1. Peter Forret Says:

    Great Pascal!
    One remark: the “width: 400px” I use on the site is because of the dimensions of the Blogger template, but is actually too small. To be perfectly legible, it should be more, but the text on the slides should not disappear. So I am wondering if it is something one can do with a fixed width. Maybe a JS function should load the image, check the real dimensions and then decide how to display it. Maybe the “height” is more important than the “width”. My $.02!

  2. Pascal Says:

    Hmm, let’s see how I can bounce the ball back :-)

    I think the problem shows how difficult it is to separate content from presentation, and make it medium-independent (suitable for different screensizes, skins, or even devices). We’ll have to stick to very simple formats per rss item: some text with 1 image, audio file or movie, or with a combination of audio and a picture at maximum.

    But also: avoid adding presentational markup in the html… If you add “width: 400px” to make it suitable for Blogger, than you ask from other presentational layers to strip that 400px again… whereas the 400px rule should be in the presentation layer that is Blogger, not in your content. Maybe you can try something like

    .post-body img {
    padding: 0;
    max-width: 100%;

    in your css file?

    BTW: Luc has a point about the lack of internal structure of RSS, SMIL was created for multimedia presentations.

    But then again, Smil didn’t succeed, and wizaRSS could piggyback on the popularity of RSS+enclosures (which it is) to get some popularity.

    With a simple combination of RSS and video enclosures + a javascript + html skin like S5, it should be possible to achieve something (maybe not as smooth and fully automated, but still) like microsoft producer 2003 for which you need a Powerpoint plugin to produce and an extra ActiveX control to display…

  3. » Blog Archive » WizaRSS: a wizard player based on RSS Says:

    […] Update: Pascal already has a WizaRSS Powerpoint-like S5 presentation player! […]

  4. » RSS2S5 Says:

    […] If you’re looking to turn your blog into a web-based slideshow presentation, Pascal Van Hecke has a nice little script that will make it happen for you (this was published last Fall, just found it). Simply input your RSS feed and the script converts your last 10 posts into a slideshow using S5, which is a standard-based slideshow based on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript (aside: I used S5 for the first time at CiL and highly recommend it). […]

  5. What I Learned Today… » Blog Archive » Handy Presentation Tools Says:

    […] Amanda just pointed me to two handy tools I hadn’t known about before. First S5 which allows you to create a presentation using XHTML, CSS, and JS. Next a handy script that lets you use and RSS feed to create a S5 presentation. […]

  6. Sidnei da Silva Says:

    Is this script available somewhere for downloading? I might be blind because I haven’t seen a link to download it :)

  7. John Furfey Says:

    Is the script available to download?

  8. e-Learning Blog » Blog Archiv » Visualising RSS Says:

    […] Stephen Downes hat mich auf einen schön älteren Artikel von Pascal vanHecke aufmerksam gemacht: “Visualising RSS: playing with WizaRSS and S5″. Pascal zeigt hier eine Anwendung mit der man einen RSS-Feed in eine Präsentation einbinden kann. Als Beispiel findet ihr hier den e-Learning Blog. Eigentlich eine gute Idee. Jetzt müsste man nur noch editieren und ergänzen können. […]

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  10. Daniel Hardy » Blog Archive » Turn any RSS feed into a slide show Says:

    […] my research I found a great tool that will convert a RSS feed into a S5 presentation.   Give it a shot and see how flexible this format really is. […]