About WimpyPoint

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WimpyPoint: The Basic Idea

WimpyPoint is a replacement for desktop bloatware such as Microsoft PowerPoint. You can build a slide presentation in WimpyPoint from any Web browser anywhere in the world. WimpyPoint will hold onto your presentation in a professional maintained and backed up relational database management system (Oracle 8). You can forget your laptop. You can drop your laptop. You will still be able to give your presentation anywhere in the world that you can find a Web browser.

More interestingly, WimpyPoint lets you work with colleagues. From your desk at MIT, you can authorize a friend at Stanford to edit your presentation, the two of you can work together until you're satisfied, and then you can both go into a conference room at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories and give your talk from our server.

(Naturally this assumes that our machine is up and running and the various Internet backbones are operating properly. We strive for maximum reliability but nobody can achieve 100% uptime for any Internet service. If your career absolutely positively depends on a presentation, we recommend using the Print button on your Web browser to make a hardcopy of your slides.

More questions? See Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing.

WimpyPoint Main Page

Welcome to WimpyPoint! From this screen, WimpyPoint's index page, you can locate a presentation to view or edit. There are a lot of presentations in WimpyPoint (206 at last count), you probably don't want to see a list of all of them - the sliders at the top of the screen let you select To show a presentation, click its title. To edit a presentation (assuming that you created it or are a collaborator), click the edit link next to its listing.

You can follow the links under Options to

Some Basic WimpyPoint Concepts

Collaboration

We don't want to let people edit other people's presentations willy-nilly (lest you walk into an important meeting only to find your work replaced by a dirty picture), but we certainly want to let users work with other collaboratively (that's the whole point, right?). WimpyPoint allows authors to specify exactly who is allowed to view and work on their presentations (for more info, check out the help screens later once you've started working on your own presentation).

Styles

Black on white with red/blue/purple links and a 12-point serif font looks OK, but it gets boring after a while (and may not suit some people's needs). For this reason, we let you select styles to use when viewing presentations. (You can change the style used to view a presentation by clicking the Change Style link in the lower-right corner on a presentation's table of contents.) Styles can change pages' background and color scheme, and even more if you know how to write CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) code.

If you're a registered user of Philip Greenspun's Homepage, you can even upload your own styles - follow the Edit one of your styles link on the main page.)

Credits

WimpyPoint was originally designed and programmed by Philip Greenspun and Krish Menon, using the ArsDigita suite of tools and infrastructure. It was substantially rewritten and integrated into ACS by Jon Salz as a term project for MIT's 6.916: Software Engineering of Innovative Web Services class.

WimpyPoint is a free service made possible by traditional Internet good citizenship.

WimpyPoint is implemented in AOLserver Tcl scripts that talk to an Oracle 8 relational database management system.

The rationale for building WimpyPoint is set forth in Chapter 1 of Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing, the later chapters of which explain the lessons we've learned from building about 70 services like this.


philg@mit.edu