Today, I played a bit with Huckster, a presentation tool designed by James Gosling.

It’s intriguing: counter-intuitively, it does not have any kind of unique features (as you would expect from an outsider in the world of presentation tools). Its unique goal is to make it dead easy to create presentations; it is actually removing as many features as possible.

Indeed, it took me about 2 minutes to get my first presentation running.

Could you do that with PowerPoint? Sure you could. Except that you will probably fall into traps at some point: an ugly transition, a text positioned outside the slide and therefore invisible, or (God forbid) animations where elements of your slide appear one by one.

I like it. It goes in the same direction of something I read on the web recently (but cannot find anymore). The author said something of the lines of “instead of trying to get large projects to work, we should concentrate on trying to get smaller projects.”

It also helps avoid Death By PowerPoint. ;-)

Update (24/09/07): I should have mentioned that Google has included a presentation tool to their Google Docs. It is not as simple as Huckster, and it lacks the capacity to change the style of the presentation, making really hard to use in a professional context. I also regret that it is not as slick as PicasaWeb. Still, it is excellent for a first shot. And, you have the possibility to share the presentation live with other web users, as long as they are logged with their Google accounts (they’ll be able to see the slide you are looking at). Sounds like a nice replacement to Interwise, the system we’ve been using here at Valtech.

About Eric Lefevre-Ardant

Independent technical consultant.
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