Can Web-based applications outwit, outplay, outlast the desktop?
We sentenced InfoWorld Senior Contributing Editor Oliver Rist to 7 days of using only Web-based productivity applications. Here's how he survivedFollow @infoworld
Zoho Show, on the other hand, was one of the more impressive online app representations I saw during WINO. It’s got a slightly similar look to PowerPoint, and it behaves similarly, too. Importing a presentation is easy, and it even took a basic one I whipped together in OpenOffice. Animations tend to get lost, however, but that’s an erratic error at best.
Things got a little less impressive when I began creating slides, however. A quick flowchart slide, for example, allowed easy positioning and sizing of the flowchart boxes, but it’s a hit-or-miss deal to attach lines between them. None of that smart auto-grabbing stuff that PowerPoint’s drawing tools have. Adding text is a two-step process, as well, instead of the simple click-and-type procedure in PowerPoint.
But a surprising number of other features are there: master backgrounds, previews, basic photo sizing, fancy font tools. You don’t get all the advanced drawing, transition effects, and multimedia tools you get with PowerPoint (especially PowerPoint 2007), but similar to most of the other tools here, it’s comparable with PowerPoint 98 or PowerPoint 2000. There’s even a new feature called Presentation in Presentation, where you can create Presentation A then hyperlink to it in a single slide of Presentation B and B will simply run A until you move to the next slide.
And again, I bumped into Webisms, though. For example, Zoho Show has specific support for putting notes in your slide show so that you know what you’re talking about when you’re groveling for VC funding. But it couldn’t accept them as an import from PowerPoint. Just deleted the whole thing. Most annoying. Had I not had PowerPoint to fall back on, this would have been a definite Advil-with-Johnny Walker moment.
But nothing compared to my travel moment. Today required a visit to Manhattan to finish a requirements meeting. That was no trouble because the office had guest Internet access and a steady Wi-Fi connection. But afterward, I had to wait a couple of hours before my dinner date, so I headed over to Bryant Park and its free Wi-Fi connection. Man, nothing makes your blood pressure go up quicker than trying to do work on the Web while on a public Wi-Fi connection that drops you more often than a Hollywood wife.
I had high hopes. If there’s one thing the Web is good at on its own, it’s collaboration. Heck, Office and SharePoint have been catching up to wikis, blogs, and message boards for some time. Still, I decided to take a look at this category and try to combine it with suites of productivity tools rather than just straight teamware, blogging, or wiki providers.
Click for larger view.