Markdown Presentations With RemarkJS
Posted in Conferences on Mar 30, 2018
I switched from traditional presentation programs to RemarkJS, and I’m glad I did. RemarkJS (or Remark) is a free, open-source presentation system that lets you write slideshows in Markdown and present with your web browser. It strikes a great balance: it is simple and has just enough functionality to make the most important things delightfully easy—but it’s not limiting. It’s powerful enough to build advanced presentations. Most of all, it makes me happy, because it gives me control and makes me more effective.
You use RemarkJS by putting a script tag and a text area into a web page. Remark reads the text from the text area, and builds a presentation. You just load the page in your browser and it turns into a presentation. There’s a ready-to-use boilerplate template that just works, so even if the first part of this paragraph sounds complicated, you’ll have no problem because you don’t actually need to do it yourself.
Remark converts the slides into normal HTML and CSS with default styling that works well for presentations. As an author, you don’t need to fiddle with HTML and CSS, but you can if you want: you’re not locked out, and the browser’s full capabilities are just an angle-bracket away. It’s easy to add SVG vector images, animations, beautiful math equations, movies, code syntax highlighting, and much more. You can also customize the visual styling of the slideshow easily, adding your own flair with images, web fonts, and anything else that you could do in a website.
RemarkJS supports all of the most important semi-advanced features you need for slideshows, again making them easy out-of-the-box:
RemarkJS works really well as a presentation tool, too—it’s not just for building slideshows, it’s also “just right” for presenting them as a speaker. Among the things it supports:
?key. You can use the keyboard to control how the slides are displayed, and navigate to slides by next, previous, start, end, or slide number. If you’re on a mobile device like an iPad, Remark works great too: you just swipe to navigate slides.
RemarkJS isn’t the only browser-based slideshow program, but it’s the only one I know of that is simple and uses Markdown, which makes it a winner for me. Here are a few other open-source and free alternatives I looked at:
In conclusion, RemarkJS has solved the hassle of dealing with complex traditional slideshow software for me. It gives me simplicity and control and makes me look good on stage. It allows me to put my presentations on this website, eliminating the need to deal with file formats, synchronizing presentations, and converting across all the devices I use. I spend a lot of time and effort building and presenting slideshows, and RemarkJS has improved my quality of life and enjoyment.