Hong Nguyen is a software developer with 15 years of experience. He is currently based in Singapore. He started developing SlideGo as “hobby” software in 2009 due to his personal need to export PowerPoint animations to Flash. SlideGo.com has now grown into a HTML5 slide builder and still continues to add more features daily.
In this conversation, Hong discusses SlideGo.
Geetesh: Tell us about SlideGo, and what motivated you to create a PowerPoint compatible online web app?
Hong: SlideGo provides two key services: an online slide editor, and software to convert PowerPoint files for online editing. The idea behind SlideGo is “interactive slides”, that is, to utilize the animation capabilities of PowerPoint. This creates huge options for authoring contents that serves purposes other than presentations: e-learning, children’s books, interactive websites. And not surprisingly, users have been using PowerPoint for years for these purposes.
We started with a PowerPoint converter to HTML5, which now works great with high accuracy. But it is only available on Windows, and it lacks ready-to-use facilities to create interactive content (VBA macros are not converted). That motivated us to build the web app that everyone can have access to, and we can easily extend the features. To date, the editor already has most essential functionality of PowerPoint (shape drawing, animation, motion paths, master layouts, etc.), and it has a lot of add-ins that allows creating interactivity with just one click. The output is HTML5, which means it runs on most devices, but we also make it backward compatible with older desktops. In addition, we target tablets as a future platform for content creation, so we build the editor with touch functionalities in mind.
Geetesh: You do provide several output options from SlideGo, such as an ebook format that works with iBooks — can you share some feedback about how people use these options?
Hong: As a free service, we allow users to download their converted content to view offline, or to upload to their own web server. With the advent of capable devices like iPad and smartphones, users also want to make their content mobile. We initially intended to package HTML5 into a mobile app. But you need approval before content can be available. Some of our users started porting the HTML5 output to the iBooks format manually, since they use PowerPoint to create training books. But iBooks is not just a book reader, it can play full HTML5 content with animation and audio as well. And users can download iBooks files to their devices without any restriction. So we added an option to export to iBooks format. Users who are content vendors are happy because they don’t have to force their end-users to download another custom mobile app to view converted files. It just works out of the box. Now our users use it to show presentation offline. They also use it to store product brochures or training materials. We are working to add similar capability to other types of devices..