280 Slides

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

I saw 280 Slides today and I must I’m more than a little confused.

What exactly is the point of writing a web application that so faithfully clones the user interface of a desktop operating system? I seriously doubt that anyone who is a Windows user will like this interface, except perhaps “Anything but Powerpoint” folks. And as a Mac user I found it nestled well in the uncanny valley1 and infuriated that it took over my keyboard shortcuts (⌘-T did nothing and ⌘-N started a new presentation).

An application like this seems like the perfect sort of desktop application. There are no collaboration features, you’re just building the presentation solo. They’re obviously trying to cater to the Mac aesthetic (note the icon in the upper right), which just makes it all the more confusing that they’re building a web application. Mac users have a long tradition of using third party applications and there are gobs of successful independent developers supporting themselves writing Mac software.

As I was writing this post I found out that it’s not just 280 Slides’s interface that’s eerie: their code is too. They’re apparently writing their site in what looks at first glance to be Objective-C but if you look closely, it’s actually Javascript… kind of2. My initial reaction when I saw the site was mostly a sigh at their failure to understand what Mac users want, but now I’m pretty much 100% Creeped Out.


Update: To be clear, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t totally consider using Objective-J if I had to write a “Rich Internet Application”. Really, I’m just wondering why you would go to all this trouble. And a bit scared that it seems to work so damn well.

  1. Lack of any sort of fading or sliding, weird way in things in web browsers show and hide (clicking on buttons is particularly odd), I could go on and on. 

  2. For a good time, examine main.j and trace through Objective-J.js starting at objj_import


  1. David Smith replied on June 5th, 2008:

    You’re missing the point :) Regardless of whether 280slides is going to dislodge keynote, this is an amazing demo of what web standards can do. This looks every bit as good as the stuff I can make in Flex, but is written in ObjC(ish) and doesn’t require any plugins.

  2. Stephen Holt replied on June 5th, 2008:

    I don’t care about 280slides.

    But, tell me more about this Objective-J. If it can actually make a useful web-application easier to create, I’m all for it.

  3. RossBoucher.Com » Funk Rock » Blog Archive » Aftermath of 280 Slides replied on June 19th, 2008:

    […] And quite a few blogs. (and twitter) […]