Friday, December 8th, 2006

TonicPoint: Ajax Powerpoint with SVG/VML

Category: Showcase

TonicPoint is a “still in not-really-stealth-but-private-demos-only mode” project that implements a full-featured graphical PowerPoint editor implemented using MochiKit and SVG/VML (no plugins).

Chris Nokleberg has written about TonicPoint and just posted a full screencast of the presentation editor in action.


Posted by Dion Almaer at 9:20 am

3.5 rating from 33 votes


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Is this real? Seems like vaporware.. Even seems like they just made a screencast from a windows app. Can anyone verify?

Comment by Idris — December 8, 2006

Hi Idris. It is quite real but I’m not sure how to prove it to you. For the demo we intentionally patterned the look and feel after MS Office, but that will change by the time we launch. I’m sure you can spot some minor differences here and there. The screencast is of the app running in Firefox 1.5/2.0, using SVG. IE support is in the works but not quite there yet (requires SVG/VML translation layer).

Comment by Chris Nokleberg — December 8, 2006

why do this when we already have powerpoint? what are the advantages? (please provide something more then just being a “wep-app”)

Comment by Karl — December 8, 2006

Hi Karl. We understand there will be people who prefer to use PowerPoint to create their documents, which is why we provide an upload facility. There are plenty of advantages once you get your presentation online, though–sharing, search, conferences, and eventually revision management and collaborative editing.

Comment by Chris Nokleberg — December 8, 2006

Cool toy, but completely useless.

Comment by Simon jia — December 8, 2006

It reminds me of a more complete version of

Comment by Dylan Schiemann — December 8, 2006

This looks amazing — It’s a LOT of work to do this sort of thing, and it looks really slick. I’m jealous!

Comment by Gavin Doughtie — December 8, 2006

why did you guys choose svg/vml? Seems like it would be prettier if you guys used flash (and would work in IE).

Comment by joe — December 10, 2006

wow, so thats all done using JS/svg/xml like the xdraw app?
anyways, thanks for posting that xdraw link, thats done quite nicely as far as anti-aliasing, etc.

Comment by Shawn — December 11, 2006

Joe, a few reasons: 1) we prefer a standards-based solution, 2) no-plugins required, 3) in our experience it is actually easier to code this way (it is just plain JS manipulating the SVG/VML DOM). Of course it is quite unfortunate that IE does not support SVG yet but that is the price you pay. In short we think vector graphics + AJAX is the future for rich web apps.

Comment by Chris Nokleberg — December 11, 2006

Chris…I agree with your reasons for not using Flash. We have also created a tool that allows you paint inside the web (using VML currently only supported on IE 5.5 and higher). We are in the process of developing a VML to SVG translator for Firefox users (the opposite of what you’re doing). The true value of our product is the ability to integrate the paint with different types of content (pictures, audio, video, text, websites). Check out ZCubes ( for more info. Flash is very restrictive is providing these integrating capabilities. We also truly believe that the future of the web is rich apps based on vector graphics + AJAX. The accessibility and collaborative ability of web based apps is so much more powerful that desktop apps.

Comment by Parag Mathur — December 11, 2006

For whatever it’s worth, I’m still puzzled by the use of the “no plugins” line, when you’re substituting the download of a different browser instead.

(SVG starts with a standard specification, and has varying implementations. The Adobe Flash Player offers a near-universal standard implementation — standard playback.)


Comment by John Dowdell — December 12, 2006

Hi John, sorry if I was unclear but for the record at launch we plan to support Firefox 1.5+, Opera 9+, and IE 5.5+. So hopefully you will not need to download anything. Flash is nice and has its place but personally I feel that people should ask “why did you use flash?” more often than “why didn’t you use flash?”.

Comment by Chris Nokleberg — December 12, 2006

This is looking fantastic, can’t wait to see it working in the browser for real! And John, there is no need to download anything new, they obviously use whatever best technology for the user’s browser: VML in IE and SVG for Firefox and Opera.

Comment by Antoine Quint — December 13, 2006

Flash is horribly inconsistent, as well. On some platforms it’s not available — like any 64-bit platform (not to mention several 32-bit ones). On some platforms it sucks (on my Mac it crashes surprisingly often on Flash pages).

Even if they only supported Firefox (which it sounds like is not the case), it would still only be a free download on Windows, versus a complete no-go for everybody else. To me, that’s still a win.

When you toss in the featuresets of SVG and Flash, it’s game over (seen a Flash app whose window you could resize?). SVG wins, full stop.

Comment by Ken — December 24, 2006

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