Google Slides no Longer Mandatory at DrupalCon

If you are following this blog you probably know that the Drupal Association recently announced the call for proposals for Lightning Talks and they made Google Slides mandatory. I am happy to report I have been able to collaborate with the DA to amend the situation. During these past weeks I have been constantly pinging the Drupal Association in oder to resolve this situation. Even though the solution may not be ideal, I think we have reached a good compromise. I the Drupal.org issue Rachel (who has been super responsive and helpful in moving this forward) states that:

As Bethany already mentioned, for the Lightning Talks in DrupalCon Minneapolis 2020, we are open to submissions being made in PDF format which will allow the author to choose their favourite tool to create them.

Where a submission is made in PDF format, we will copy the PDF file onto the presentation laptop before the event and the presenter can present that directly from the PDF viewer built into the laptop directly, in full screen.

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and it is an ISO standard. PDF was standardized as ISO 32000 in 2008, and no longer requires any royalties for its implementation. It seems, just by reading the name, the this file format was created exactly for this purpose. This is a great solution! 🎉

In that issue Rachel mentions some constraints about using PDF as a presentation format

Presenting in this manner will have a couple of constraints:

  1. There will be no speaker notes
  2. The slides may not appear on the laptop, only on the main screen
  3. The presenter is solely responsible for any technical issues with layout/display

Those are common pain points and can be easily solved by installing the proper presentation software in the conference laptop. The problem is not the presentation format (the PDF), but the presentation software (the PDF viewer built into the laptop). As Lorna Jane suggests in her (fantastic) blog, you can present from PDF with none of those constraints, so that will not be a problem at DrupalCon. I tried to summarize this in my comment:

Let’s work to get Présentation.app or PDF Presenter Console. As Lorna Jane writes in her blog, these will allow to:

  1. Have speaker notes.
  2. Have a presenter view, as well as the audience presentation
  3. Have a frictionless layout / display experience (a PDF is way more consistent in layout than any slide format)

With that small addition, I think both alternatives are on par. I volunteer to help get this installed and tested on-site.

I am happy that I chose to raise this issue and that the Drupal Association was sensitive to those constraints.

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