Thumbstack – A Web-Based Presentation Application

thumbstackA while back, my pal Zach posted about S5, “A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System.” Now, its important to note that S5 is trying to set up a standard and not develop a full blown application. S5 seems to be a solid foundation…all it really needs is a slick editor and I’m sold.

Well, as I’ve been waiting for and S5 editor to come along, Thumbstack has come along instead and I’ll be content goofing around with that for a while. While Thumbstack isn’t built off of the S5 standard, it is a sold web implementation of presentation software complete with a decent draggable presentation builder…themable to boot! (although the available themes are dumb right now, that’s sure to improve). The editor is a div based-DHTML pumped-Ajax integrated layout; the presentation itself seems to be Flash. Interesting stuff.

It shows promise, but there are a few things it lacks that I hope to see:

  • More themes
  • Slide transitions and animations (nothing too crazy, basic will do fine)
  • Export to Powerpoint
  • Ctrl+S to save
  • While viewing a presentation, right clicking should give a contextual menu.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Thumbstack. Google recently bought Writely, which means they are interested in web-based Office software. They’ve got Gmail, an upcoming Calendar, a Word Processor, and a Webpage Builder. All they need now are solid presentation and spreadsheet applications. The race is on.

Multimedia Lab – Advanced Powerpoint Navigation

chimpanzee.jpgChances are, most of you have used Microsoft Powerpoint. For the class slides, simple presentations and such we only use the most basic features of the MS product. We are going to explore some of these features. The goal isn’t necessarily to expand our knowledge of Powerpoint but to experiment with some of the forms of navigation discussed in class.

The Scenario:
You are a scientist that studies chimpanzees. Last month you witnessed one or more chimpanzees do something that has never been done before. You were tasked with creating an application that details various aspects of that discovery…for some reason you chose Powerpoint as your tool.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Your application must make use of various forms of media. (text, images, etc) – 20pts
  • Your application must include at least 12 slides PLUS an additional notes slide that lists/describes the types of navigation used. – 20pts
  • Your application must utilize (at minimum) conceptual/modal navigation and hypertext. Other forms of navigation can be used as appropriate. – 25pts
  • Your application must not navigate as normal powerpoint slides navigate (i.e. advance on click). To get a starting point, read the instructions below. – 25pts
  • Use proper spelling and grammar. – 10pts
  • Be creative and have fun with the assignment! – Priceless

Setting Up Your Powerpoint Application For This Assignment:

  • With your powerpoint application open, click on Slide Show > Set Up Show….
  • In the Show options section, check the box: Loop continuously until ‘Esc’
  • In the Show slides section, check the From radio button and choose the start/end slides as appropriate to your application. (If your first slide is your contents where you begin all your navigation, then you’ll want the start/end boxes to be set to 1 and 1). Experiment.
  • …this is just a starting point. Explore the application and make it bend to your will.

Here’s a good reference for advanced PowerPoint stuff.

Handing in your Lab:
The lab is due next Friday at midnight. To hand it in:

  • log in to myPlymouth
  • click on the myCourses tab
  • click on the Multimedia course
  • go into the Assignments section
  • click on Lab 1
  • Browse to your powerpoint file in the form
  • Submit it