Return to WimpyPoint
WimpyPoint is a replacement for desktop bloatware such
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
(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 (212
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.
- whether you want to see presentations created in the past week,
two weeks, or month, or all presentations since the beginning of time
(i.e., early 1998).
- whether you want to see only your own presentations (presentations which you have created
or are collaborating on), or presentations created by anyone at all. This slider only
shows up if have an account on Philip Greenspun's Homepage and are logged in.
You can follow the links under Options to
- create a new presentation (available only if you're logged in),
- list WimpyPoint users, so that you can see a list of all presentations
created by a particular person,
- search for a string or concept in an existing presentation, or
- view/create/edit styles which can be used to
Some Basic WimpyPoint Concepts
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
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
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)
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.)
WimpyPoint was originally designed and programmed by Philip Greenspun and Krish Menon,
ArsDigita suite of tools and
It was substantially rewritten and integrated into ACS by
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
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.