This year in my field we have a large conference overlapping with the European soccer championship. Luckily my talk does not overlap with any match, but in case it will happen in the future I was wondering if it is possible to include in a beamer presentation some Javascript magic that fetches the live results from the internet and displays them in the bottom bar.

I have researched and seen some examples of embedding JS in TeX, but everything seems to be only functions that do some simple stuff when the document is opened or when a PDF form is submitted. In particular, my questions at this point are:

  1. can I run AJAX requests inside a PDF, or are the security restrictions too tight?

  2. how do I embed code that gets called every X seconds, or whenever a new slide is presented?

  3. which packages would make my life easier in programming this?


Package media9 is an option.

This example displays latest FIFA news in a Flash-based RSS-Reader I found on the web. It is embedded in the footline of every slide in a beamer presentation. It doesn't seem to update the content, though. However, it is reloaded (with updated content) when moving to the next presentation slide (Acrobat Reader required).


  activate=pageopen, deactivate=pageclose,

\begin{frame}{Frame title}
Please concentrate on the slide content!

↗Another example, uses SlideShow.swf (also media9) to display a life image loaded from the web.


One option is to use Lua to fetch data when the file is compiled. Then, set a batch script to recompile the TeX file every 30 seconds or so, and use a pdf reader that auto-refreshes the pdf file.

Here is an example (in ConTeXt) that fetches the current date and time at a specific location from a webserver, parses the returned XML file, and displays the result.

\enabledirectives[schemes.threshold=10] % Don't cache downloaded file for more than 10 sec

% I use earth tools as an example, which returns data in XML format.
  thirddata = thirddata or {}
  thirddata.url = "http://www.earthtools.org/timezone-1.1/40.71417/-74.00639"

  function thirddata.getcurrenttime()
      -- Fetch remote url and store it in a file. ConTeXt automatically caches the
      -- file for a duration given by `schemes.threshold`
      local filename = resolvers.getreadfilename("loc",".", thirddata.url)

      -- Read the file for data
      local xmldata  = xml.load (filename)

      -- Parse XML data.to find localtime
      local time = xml.text(xmldata, "xml://timezone/localtime")
      print("DEBIG:", time)

      return time


The current time is New York is \getCurrentTime.


Of course, if you are running a batch script to compile the file, you could as well get the data using any programming language of your choice, but where is the fun in that.

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