A WYSIWYG Template Authoring Solution for the MindXpres Presentation Tool

Type of Thesis: 
Master Thesis

With more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations that are created every single day, we are all familiar with modern presentation tools such as Microsoft's PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote. However, it is not difficult to see that most of these tools are based on the same essential ideas and thus share similar flaws and limitations. Our new MindXpres presentation tool takes a radically new approach to create, share and deliver presentations. By stepping away from current presentation standards and by designing our presentation tool to address the unfulfilled needs of the people involved with the presentations, we plan to make every single step in the process more enjoyable for both the presenter and the audience.

MindXpres separates content and visualisation, by providing a LaTeX-like language for the easy creation of content. This content is then automatically visualised by an HTML5 visualisation layer, which makes use of user-definable templates to provide a competitive aesthetic quality. MindXpres differentiates itself from existing slideware by providing some innovative features such as the plug-in architecture, extreme portability, support for multimodal input, semantic linking and navigation of information, non-linear traversal, a zoomable user interface, transclusion, interactivity, innovative ways of visualising specific types of information and much more.

Currently users are required to manually define visualisation templates in XML. The goal of this thesis is to create a graphical editor to help the user to create complex visualisation templates and themes with minimal effort. By creating an easy to use visual editor, you contribute to making MindXpress more accessible for the general public.


Editor

 

As previously mentioned, MindXpres is different from existing tools such as PowerPoint, in the way that content is separated from its visualisation. Much like with LaTeX, the user writes structured content and the tool automatically visualises it based on templates. However, to facilitate the creation of these templates a graphical editor would be of great help. The editor would allow people to create layouts for slides (e.g. title slide, content table slide, picture slide, etc.) via common graphical operations such as dragging or resizing. Such an editor would allow the user to specify regions on the slide for specific content (text, image, etc.), and let the user preset attributes to these regions. For example, for a text region the user could specify things like font, font size or font color. After such a template has been generated in the editor it can be used from the content part of MindXpres, simply by binding content to a specific region in a slide template.

Background Knowledge: 
  • Java
  • XML
  • Experience with Swing is a plus
Technical challenges: 
  • You will investigate the Swing GUI toolkit and determine the best approach for creating a visual editor that supports things like dragging rectangles, resizing them and applying properties to them
  • You will implement the editor, allowing users to create templates entirely with this application, with good usability
  • You will then create a mapping from the editor's result to our XML template format ("saving the template"), for use in the presentation tool. This mapping should be bi-directional, meaning that the editor can also open existing template files and have the user edit them. 

 

Contact: 
Beat Signer
Academic Year: 
2012-2013