Use Powerpoint as Authoring Tool and Web Browser for Playback
So Powerpoint is an excellent authoring tool. It's also an excellent
playback tool, except for the version problems and the viewer download time.
Maybe there's a middle ground here. Powerpoint 97 already offers
a nice "Save as HTML" feature, which puts out your slides in HTML
format, including nice navigation bars. This is almost
good enough to use for presentations. The only problem is
there is no full-screen viewing mode, which is what you'd
really want for a slide show.
But surely it'd be possible to build a simple ActiveX control that'd
allow full screen viewing of a Powerpoint-saved-as-HTML file. We'd
have the best of both worlds: use Powerpoint as your authoring tool,
where it really excels. Use the Web browser as the playback tool.
Web browsers are more likely to be ubiquitous than the Powerpoint
Viewer. Furthermore, in the most common case, Powerpoint-as-HTML
isn't going to have version problems.
Another advantage of Powerpoint-as-HTML is that integration of
external media is more likely to work in a Web browser than
in Powerpoint. Although Microsoft has added media playing
capability to recent versions, Web browsers are more likely
to have built-in understanding of numerous formats such as RealVideo.
And of course hyperlinks to external pages work natively from a
Web browser, should you want to deviate from your canned linear
presentation and "go live" for part of your talk.
A final advantage is you can archive your entire presentation
on your Web site, and it becomes available to anyone on the Web.
Your content will also be indexed by search engines. By contrast,
if you put your presentation up in Powerpoint format, very few
people will casually download it.
Powerpoint-as-HTML may not have all the whiz-bang features, though.
Powerpoint "animations" -- in which you have your bullet points
fly onto the screen -- may be hard to simulate in the HTML world.
I, for one, find these animations and transition effects to be
a rather useless affectation. Maybe there's a way with ActiveX
or Java to bring those effects into the Powerpoint-as-HTML world.
I think it's time for presentation packages to turn into authoring
tools, with playback functions implemented fully in Web browsers.
What do you make of all this?
Do you make presentations before business meetings,
college classes, or large audiences? What
presentation software do you use? Have you considered
using Netscape or Internet Explorer as your presentation
tool? I'd love to hear from you on this or any other topic discussed
in Internet Outlook. Drop me a line!