I’ve had presentations on my mind lately, and that has caused me to search out a good tool for doing them. I have a Windows laptop, so PowerPoint is always an option, but I wanted to try other alternatives first. Unfortunately, I found them all lacking.
I want a way to author and show slides, and then a way to export them for use in a web page. I’ve got a goal of putting the presentations online not just as a deck of images, but as a text transcript, illustrated with slides. I’ve never been able to watch other people’s presentations online because I don’t have the patience to watch an hour-long video in real time, and a slide deck with none of the actual talk behind it is pretty spare.
I would have hoped that a CSS-based slideshow by the king of CSS would be a shining example of how information could be cleanly authored and then sparklingly displayed. S5 seems to miss this mark, especially since there don’t seem to be many themes available for it, another surprise given how CSS should have made it accessible to lots of designers. Also, although (or perhaps because) the format is native to the web, it’s not possible to get the slides as illustrations.
I tried OpenOffice Impress, and was initially impressed. It’s got a lot of presentation features, notably all sorts of animations. When I started using it, though, I ran into some problems: there’s no way to create a text style, so any code samples have to be tediously formatted by hand. Although there are tons of slide animations, a bullet list that reveals one bullet at a time is not among them. I briefly considered the scripting capability, but it seems arcane and under-documented.
Also, I have to say that OpenOffice’s themes are cheesy, and though I found one that looked good, when I installed it, it didn’t work.
I briefly tried 280 Slides again, and it is very impressive, but too slow to run in my browser.
So I may be using PowerPoint...