June 06, 2008 |
I am an open-source addict. I have a totally legal machine, yet I run no big commercial software on my machine other than what came installed. Most of it is open-source or shareware or indie software I've trialed and paid for, and the rest of the apps I use are online apps. However, I'm not a huge fan of the presentation software in NeoOffice, and when my husband sent me a link to 280 Slides, I had to give it a shot, especially when I found out it isn't your typical web app; it's apparently written in a form of Objective-C.
While we've seen a lot of office productivity software going online with apps like Buzzword (our review), and Peepel (us again), the presentation software application has been noticeably absent for the most part.
An initial look at the app had me pretty excited. The UI is very pretty and slick, and easy for both experienced PowerPoint users as well as newbies to get the hang of quickly. They have provided a decent number of themes you can choose from, functionality to publish directly to SlideShare, and the ability to run your app right on the web or export it to run locally. I knew I wasn't the only one excited, because after my husband sent me the link, I started seeing others comparing it to Keynote. Rather than just trust my judgment, however, I asked a friend who uses Keynote more than any other human on the planet to take a look and compare the two. He's a physics professor, so he generally puts Keynote through the wringer doing presentations.
The first thing he noticed is the lack of a stroke tool. While a lot of people create images and diagrams outside of a presentation software package and simply import them, he does a lot within Keynote as well, and the lack of a stroke without fill for shapes (and actually a stroke tool at all!) was a deal breaker. He also noticed (which I didn't, since I tend to use web apps as web apps) that the export function exports to PPTX instead of PPT. This is a problem for all those people who haven't updated to Microsoft Office 07 yet. The import may work for Office, but it crashed Keynote trying to pull it in. It also allows you to search for and embed photos and videos, but doesn't give you an easy way to credit your source. That's a miss!
That said, he did give 280 Slides bonus points for calling their starry-sky theme "Sagan," as well as the nice UI. And he said that for the majority of PowerPoint users and those who want PowerPoint or Keynote functionality without the pricetag, 280 Slides is definitely an option. Just don't compare it to Keynote. It just isn't there.
Correction: Dion Almaer interviewed the developers of 280 Slides, and it's actually written in Objective-J, which makes a bit more sense.