Revolution to author and present multimedia content?
Michael J. Lew
michaell at unimelb.edu.au
Mon Aug 12 00:35:01 CDT 2002
I'm thrilled to hear that someone would like to replace PowerPoint
with a Revolution-based application!
I have been lecturing using PowerPoint in combination with Revolution
and Hypercard for many years, with Revolution and Hypercard-based
animations and simulations to spice up the material and make some
concepts more accessible. Several of my computer-aided learning
modules (CALs) that are in use in courses here have been made with
Revolution and it is helpful to the students to see snippets of those
modules used in a lecture prior to the students exploring the CALs
After some frustrations resulting from upgrading PowerPoint to the
most current version, I have very recently decided that it would be
worthwhile making a Revolution application to replace PowerPoint for
my own use (my preliminary stack is called 'Get to the point!). If
Joao, and maybe others, is thinking along the same lines then maybe
we could make it into a collaborative project. I have so made a
useable (but not bug-free) automated 'dot-point' field template. and
have fiddled with making cards grow to fill the screen with text
being scaled appropriately. No real difficulties in those.
I have mentioned my aspirations to some colleagues at my university
and their response is generally unencouraging. They feel that
PowerPoint is a huge application that has been developed my large
numbers of programmers for many years: true enough, but in that
context it is interesting to contemplate the quality of their product
I believe that a project to make a PowerPoint replacement could be
surprisingly manageable. First, PowerPoint is mostly bloat and
flashy, but useless features. Many users regularly choose to use
outside applications for things that PowerPoint could do (e.g.
outlining and drawing) so there is no need to replicate those
'features'. Secondly, many of the features that would be needed are
already built into Revolution. For example, the geometry manager is
useful switching from edit mode to full-screen mode and the backdrop
property can instantly deal with any mis-match between stack and
screen proportions. Groups are a natural way to deal with the variety
of slide templates. Slide transitions are built in. Image importing
needs only a convenient way to get images from the clipboard.
Animations are readily constructed using the animations manager.
Basically, the similarity of the card and slide metaphors is such
that using Revolution to make slideshows is a natural.
Importantly, in order to be useful to those like me who already code
in Revolution, the project needs only to supply some templates and
standard slide components and behaviours; the rest can be scripted
directly in Revolution. Thus such a project can be useful even at a
minimal stage of development. Extra capabilities can always be added
by anyone who has Revolution because the project would be naturally
In my imagination we will end up with a standalone application that
makes and displays slideshows just like PowerPoint, and a version
that runs within Revolution that will make open-ended multimedia
presentations convenient for Revolutions scriptors.
Anyone keen to help?
Michael J. Lew
Department of Pharmacology
The University of Melbourne
Phone +613 8344 8304
New email address: michaell at unimelb.edu.au
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