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Part 4: Which Presentation Tool to Use?

I personally like to use the latest technologies for doing presentations and not stick to power point deck all the time. I was first impressed by the Mix 08 session by Arturo Toledo, where he had used Expression Design to build his slides and then used Deep Zoom to actually show it. In a presentation that I had to make for an internal session I used the same technique and it was an instant hit. Many people came over later on and wanted to get my presentation tool.

A little later while doing a Silverlight 2 training, I realized that I would have to go back and forth between my slide deck and visual studio and expression blend and to me that seemed non-productive. Hence I ended up building the entire presentation as a Silverlight application and I integrated all demos in the same application. So it was all the time IE in which I ran the application. I had even added a slight animation in a corner to run for 1 hour and that gave me and the audience a good idea of elapsed time and the time remaining. Obviously I had to ensure that I ended on time for this to look good.

Needless to say that when recently I started working with Sketchflow, it made sense to do the presentation using content built in Sketchflow itself and that’s what I did. An interesting learning on visual state manager (that I had earlier written about here) was the fact that states in a state group are mutually exclusive, and that the application/control can exist in multiple states at the same time if they aren’t in the same group.

For the presentation I was making, I had a scenario where I was animating some content and when it would stop I had to trigger animation of some more content. This isn’t possibly on it own with Sketchflow animation as the animation will play from start to end and any new animation will start from the base state. The same is true with states in a state group. Finally I realized that I could actually create many different state groups and add my required animations as states inside of different groups. Now when any new state animation will not start from base state, but from the state the application/control was in, at the end of previous state animation.

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