Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Presenting (with) Bruce

When I present at a meeting, I like to use plenty of live demos. I can get away with this, because I type very, very well. (I did get into IT via the secretarial pool, after all.) Still, even I get a little nervous about whether I can keep up typing speed and accuracy with the pressure of a whole audience staring at me.

Fortunately, This blog post by Andy Todd (You do read his blog, don't you?) pointed me to Bruce, a wonderful presentation tool freshly created by Richard Jones.

Bruce lets you wrap up decent-looking slides, graphics, and Python interpreter sessions all into a single presentation that scrolls smoothly along at your command. (Simply being spared the fuss of flipping between Presentation slides and a command-prompt window is a blessing.) For demos, you can pre-enter the text you want to type, then Bruce sends it to the interpreter one character at a time. You type 'dfjkasfjdska;dfsafd', but 'def plusOne(x): return x+1' appears on the screen, and the audience thinks you're a keyboard goddess.

My one disappointment in Bruce - as I understand it (I just found it, you know) - is that the wonderful interactive session can only be used with a Python session. I'll need to dig into Bruce and PyGame to verify that, and to see if it can be extended elsewhere. I dearly want to use it when I'm demonstrating SQL.

Until Bruce, incidentally, my best bet was TPP, the Text Presentation Program. I've seen presentations done with it, and it looks OK, except it's written in Ruby and has dependencies (ncurses) that need C compiling - not very practical where I am, unfortunately.


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Anonymous said...


It should be possible to extend Bruce to deal with other types of interpreters, all it does is echo key strokes after all. Each of the different presentation styles is simply a different class. It just needs someone to do it.

No pressure ;-)

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