Tuesday, December 1, 1998

Publishing PowerPoint presentations for Notes and Web clients

HANDS-ON NOTES DEVELOPMENT

By Dan Velasco

For those of us who are eager to jump in with both feet and start customizing a Domino application for the Web, it's a bit of a challenge when we're also asked to make the same information easily available to Notes clients as well. This means we have to take precious time away from more engrossing activities such as delicately coding the HTML Web views that we love so much and carefully inserting JavaScript code in our forms.

This is one of the things that doesn't kill us and makes us stronger. We end up becoming more and more creative so that we can present Notes information automatically and can spend more time on the more difficult task of customization for the Web.

Recently, I was faced with a problem that reflected this challenge: I needed to publish PowerPoint presentations that would be easily readable by both Notes and Web clients simultaneously.

How we posted presentations before

The method that we were using to post presentations on our corporate intranet was as follows. We would open up PowerPoint, remove the slide background, change any light-colored text to black, select all of the slide contents, copy them, open up Lotus Notes, paste the contents into a document and then resize what we had just pasted to about 45%.

The results were less than spectacular. The slides were drained of color, did not all resize to exactly the same size and we had to chop up the presentations into chunks of about ten slides each because the images that we had pasted in were still rather large in file size (in addition to being ugly). Then we had to manually link the documents containing the slides together for viewing on the Web, (i.e., doing links that would appear on every page).

After recently using this method to post the presentation of my Big Boss, I looked at the butchered result and knew that there had to be a better way.

PowerPoint to the rescue

There is, in fact, a better way, which I'm going to share with you now. The secret lies in a feature that's built into PowerPoint 97, not Notes. In PowerPoint 97, you can use the Internet Assistant to save the presentation as HTML. What is produced is exactly what you need to post a fully loaded presentation to the Web and Notes easily and simultaneously, complete with full-color slides, slide titles and slide notes.

There are three steps to the system that I developed:

  1. Export the information from PowerPoint 97 to Domino automatically;
  2. A form capturse the slide information and extract the data you need by using LotusScript;
  3. Display the presentation information effectively to both Notes and Web clients.