Presentastic: Working with PowerPoint Files in ColdFusion 9

Presentastic is a demo app I created to show off how easy it is to take advantage of ColdFusion's cool capabilities for working with PowerPoint files. The instructions for creating Presentastic are available via this link. Check it out!

2009-11-19 UPDATE: You asked for it, you got it: The actual code file for PresentasticPlus is available via this link. PresentasticPlus is the version of the app that implements the PDF Portfolio creation functionality referenced at the end of the instruction document.

2009-12-01 UPDATE: The one cool new ColdFusion 9 feature for working with PowerPoint files that the original app didn't showcase was converting HTML to PPT--so in order to showcase this feature, I created a new version: PresentasticGold. The code file for PresentasticGold is available via this link.

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Saurabh Surana's Gravatar Hi Josh,
Thanks for pointing out the article. I am dying to try this one out. I was looking for something like this for some time.

Just a small question. WIll this also handle the animations in Powerpoint? And what about the PPTX(Office 2007) format presentation?

Thanks once again. :)
# Posted By Saurabh Surana | 10/6/09 12:39 AM
Charlie Arehart's Gravatar Hey Josh, thanks for sharing. Do you mean (or plan) to offer a downloadable form of the app? Or must people cobble it together from the PDF (where code is intermixed with text explaining the steps)? I realize that as a tutorial, it also is walking through use of CFBuilder (not needed, for those who may not yet use it), but it seems it could stand alone as just a file, making it still nicer as a demo app.

Of course, it would be best packaged as a zip with the code and the pdf, or at least a readme explaining that they must install openoffice on the server for it to work, as you note in the PDF.

Also, have you considered posting it on riaforge or something? Others may then offer to help expand on it, for those "exercises for the reader" that you mention at the end. :-)
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 10/6/09 10:04 AM
Josh Adams's Gravatar @Saurabh: You're welcome; glad it can help. This particular version only works with PPT. Most, if not all, of the ColdFusion 9 Office functionality works with PPTX so I think you should be able to alter this code to work with PPTX as well. As for animations in PowerPoint files: I haven't tried working with any of those and don't have any other information. So let me know on those two points!

@Charlie: you got it: I put up the CFM page for the app (actually in a ZIP file). I chose to not change the current link to the Instructions but to add a new link for the ZIP so the code and the instructions doc remain separate.
# Posted By Josh Adams | 11/19/09 12:36 PM
Josh Adams's Gravatar @Charlie: no README with the app but there's now a comment at the top of the file (since it is just a single file) that indicates that you have to have OpenOffice installed.

I knocked out that exercise for the reader in the posted source file. RIAForge? You think it should go there? I thought of this as just a good demo...
# Posted By Josh Adams | 11/19/09 11:02 PM
Josh Adams's Gravatar @Saurabh: I did a little more research into PPTX and here's what I found: <cfpresentation> does NOT work with PPTX. You can, however, use <cfdocument> to convert PPTX to PDF because that functionality is provided by OpenOffice and OpenOffice supports PPTX to PDF. However, OpenOffice appears to not have particularly good support for PPTX and so my recommendation is that you just stay away from using PPTX entirely with ColdFusion and all this functionality will work properly.
# Posted By Josh Adams | 11/20/09 12:45 AM
Saurabh's Gravatar Thanks Josh.
Actually since it uses OpenOffice for the conversion, it won't even support the animations I suppose. I was looking for something which will help me in conversion while retaining the animations.

On similar lines I had started working writing a converter for the same (without using ColdFusion, its a plain converter which reads the PPT and writes corresponding SWF file direclty), and during this process I was stuck with some SWF file format issue which I am not able to resolve from reading the document (all the SWF file format docs are really really vegue :)).
Do you think you can point me to some help in this regard? I tried posting this on forums but no help there. I was looking for someone who constantly works on File formats, inside or outside Adobe.
If you could provide me some help / contact I would be really greatful to you. saurabh dot surana at hotmail dot com
# Posted By Saurabh | 11/20/09 12:56 AM
Josh Adams's Gravatar @Saurabh: I actually just finished testing with animations. I found what you expected: the Connect format did NOT honor the animations. This surprises me because when you load a PPT in Connect itself and it converts it to PPT, it does honor the animations but I guess the conversion ColdFusion is doing is not as sophisticated. The conversion to HTML also did not honor the conversions and of course neither did the conversion to PDF (which is true even when you use Acrobat to convert from PPT to PDF within PowerPoint).

Hmm--getting you help on a SWF file format issue is going to be a trick; that's way outside my area and I have no idea who you could even talk to, but I'll contact you for more info and we'll see.
# Posted By Josh Adams | 11/20/09 1:03 AM
Rudi's Gravatar Josh,

Nice work! Can't wait to give these new features a test drive.

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