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Before You Order Office 2007, Try ajaxPresents

Desktop software programs are slowly dying and being replaced by web based programs as the world moves to "the cloud" (the net). The best example is communication programs such as Eudora and Outlook which are being replaced by Gmail and Yahoo Mail. But now another type of desktop software is starting to make the shift, productivity software. Programs like MS Word and MS Powerpoint will soon be replaced by browser driven programs. Through use of AJAX technology these web programs have the same level of responsiveness, no up front cost, availability from any computer with net access, and an expanding feature set. These advantages are hard to ignore.

As you may know, I have a startup company called Ajax13. A few months ago we were hard at work putting out lots of lightweight programs but we quickly made a strategic shift. We instead decided to focus on building the most advanced AJAX based program, ajaxPresents, to demonstrate that there's no limit to the future of web delivered programs. Our target was the ubiquitous (and expensive) presentation program Microsoft Powerpoint. What makes this program challenging is that it combines text and graphical elements. It's relatively easy to create a graphics only AJAX program (think Google Maps) or text only (think ajaxWrite or Writely). But, mixing the two is uncharted territory for AJAX which is why even heavily staffed Google hasn't added charting to Google Spreadsheet. Creating a capable presentation program means combining graphics (backgrounds, lines, arrows, figures, etc.) with text (titles, block, rotated text) and being able to import and save to the proprietary Microsoft Powerpoint format (ppt).

Today we're launching the beta of ajaxPresents with 1gb of free storage. This means you can store all your documents online, safely and securely. It's a program that can create, share, or open existing ppt files for viewing and/or editing. There's no charge for the use of this software and it loads in about 5 seconds from a Firefox browser on any Linux/Mac/MS Win computer. It has all the features you've come to expect in a presentation program (master slides, thumbnails, slide sorter, text, graphics, importing images, etc.), but advanced features like animations and transitions are absent. This beta version is ideal for anyone who needs to create straightforward presentations, or open and make minor edits to existing Microsoft Powerpoint presentations. Also, because it's web based, there are other interesting ways to use this versatile application.



Ways To Experience ajaxPresents

1) Go to ajaxPresents.com and click the application icon anytime you need to create a presentation.

You'll immediately have a presentation program at your fingertips. When the application opens, a sample document will appear so you can explore the features of ajaxPresents. Using the File: Open or Save menu items you can quickly gain access to your personal and private 1 gb storage area to upload existing files or save any files you create. Since you can access ajaxPresents from any computer, you can now work on your files from anywhere.

Hint: Hitting F-11 in Firefox will turn on full screen mode so when you view a Slide Show it will use the entire screen.

2) To publish a Microsoft Powerpoint file or to quickly see how well one will work with ajaxPresents, send an email to public-at-PUBLISHppt.com (replace -at- with @ symbol) with the presentation as an attachment.



With one email message you can immediately publish a presentation file. Your email will be processed and the presentation will be extracted and placed on the web. A URL will immediately be sent back to you which will take you to your presentation. Once there you can view the document or edit it. It's a great way to insure that you have a network accessible copy of that important presentation so if your laptop or thumb drive fails you, any computer can view the presentation regardless of the software installed. You can also send the URL to others who can view the presentation, share it with others, download it, or even make edits on their own copy.

3) To open any presentation you encounter on the net, just use this URL: http://ajax13.com/ajaxpresents?doc=[location-of-file-here]

There are many Microsoft Powerpoint, StarOffice and OpenOffice.org presentations on the Internet. Google even offers a search option to find such files (just add file type ppt to any search and Google will dutifully return a list of Powerpoint files). Normally you can only view crude text renderings of these files via Google. But, using the URL above, you can paste the location of the file after the = sign and immediately view any presentation file on the Internet. Search engines can now display the entire contents of a presentation file, all from a web page. Information sites can make their files viewable by all, regardless of whatever desktop software they might have installed. End users can manually assemble URLs to open any presentation file they encounter.

I hope you'll give ajaxPresents a try and give us your feedback. It's ideal for the casual presentation user regardless of whether you're on a Macintosh, Microsoft Windows or Linux computer.

Common Questions:

Q: Why does it require Firefox 1.5+?
A: ajaxPresents takes advantage of many cutting edge technologies in the browser such as SVG. Unfortunately that is not present in all browsers so creating versions of ajaxPresents for Internet Explorer and Opera takes some time. However, we are working on both.

Q: Can an Internet Explorer user view a presentation via PublishPPT?
A: We expect to add viewing, but not editing capabilities before the end of the year for Internet Explorer users.

Q: How much storage comes with each ajax13 account?
A: 1 gb of free storage comes with each ajax13 account. Other types of files beyond presentations can be stored in this account.

Q: Where can I provide feedback?
A: Visiting the forum is a great place to share your experience.

Q: Does ajaxPresents support ODF (open document format)?
A: Yes. The internal format for ajaxPresents is the open document format. We offer the ability to export to a .ppt file if documents need to be shared with others.

-- MR
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