HTML5, PowerPoint, and the Real World

If you are going to attend any HTML5 conference, most likely you’ll see some of the speakers using Web browsers for presentation slides. The audience likes it cause it’s cool. A month ago one of our software engineers presented this way at the conference for Web developers.

There is an extra benefit in using such html-based slides especially when your presentation is about Web applications. Just think about it, when the time comes for a demo, you are not leaving the Web browser – the next “slide” has the URL of your demo right in the address bar of your browser and you do the demo right there. Hit the right arrow, and the demo turns into a slide again. Isn’t it cool? Yes it’s cool, but not practical.

Because everything else in not as cool and requires a lot of work comparing to Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote. Say, you want to add an image to the slide, make it smaller, and move it to the top right corner of the slide. In Powerpoint your hand just does it automatically. In HTML slides it’s a project. How about font manipulations? In Powerpoint you don’t even think about it – you just do it. In HTML slides it’s a project.

Animations? Which one you want? Just pick one from a dozen that are readily available in PowerPoint. You want the image to fly from the top, bounce a couple of times and settle in the middle? Takes 10 seconds to pick the image, 20 seconds for testing, and another 5 second to remove this flashy-bouncy-flying effect cause it would make your audience dizzy. I’m sure this will be easy in the HTML6 era, but the HTML5 tooling is not there yet.

How about embedding media into slides? OK, ok, you got the message.

Next week I’ll need to find some time to migrate that HTML presentation into the tried and true PowerPoint slide deck. Yes, I’ll be switching from PowerPoint to the Web Browser when the time will come for the demo. This is a drawback. But every other aspect of making a presentation in PowerPoint or Keynote is superior to HTML.

I’m observing the same situation in the enterprise world, where some IT managers are diving into new HTML5 project without thinking about the consequences. If you guys want to be cool, just dive right into the cold water.

If you want to develop an application that will contain 100% of the required functionality – wait a couple of years for HTML5 tooling to mature. But if you want to be cool now, eliminate half of the required functionality and do your 100-screen enterprise Web application in HTML5.

Today, at the meeting with a prospective client I said that if you decide to implement the same functionality in HTML5 vs. a mature platform with a compiled language and predictable VM, multiply the development time by two. Now I’m thinking I was wrong. The time should be tripled.

3 thoughts on “HTML5, PowerPoint, and the Real World

  1. If there would be a way to embed WebView, V8 or Java VM into PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, then probably you could eliminate the need to switch between the browser and the presentation app. Just a thought

  2. Try create a deck in, and insert a drawing, animation, image, video or iframe. HTML5 tool is definitely not too far away.

  3. Intresting promise.. But you are comparing technologies (HTML5) with software(PowerPoint). I think right way is compare something like a creation presentation in Google Docs with PowerPoint. And even if Google Docs lose, it only means that we don’t have decent software based on HTML5, but not crude technology.

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