Mark Logic Extends Microsoft Office With PowerPoint Toolkit

The information-centric applications provider Mark Logic (news, site)  has just announced its latest step in extending the functionality of Microsoft Office 2007 with the release of Toolkit for PowerPoint.

It follows the release earlier this year of Toolkit for Word and Toolkit for Excel, as well as a connector for SharePoint, which integrated much of the functionality of Microsoft Office 2007 with the Mark Logic Server, an XML server that enables users to manage large amount of content with access to that content provided by XQuery.

The PowerPoint Toolkit enables enterprises to store their PowerPoint presentations in a single repository along with other content from other applications and enable users re-use, change, or add new content from those applications without having to move from one application to another.

Re-use, Recycle Presentations

For anyone who has ever had to develop presentations that contain more than a handful of static slides this will be a real lifeline, particularly as PowerPoint already comes with enhanced video and image editing tools. The tool from Mark Logic can work with a whole pile of different file formats and compress enormous slide shows.

And this is even before the release of Microsoft Office 2010, which is generally expected to make its debut sometime in the first half of next year. While Mark Logic doesn’t say that this Toolkit, or the others for that matter, will be compatible with Office 2010, it is not really likely that they would release them so close to the Office 2010 launch date unless they were, would they?

Free Your Content

So here’s the technology bit: “A big challenge for information intensive organizations is the ability to find and re-use content created by employees, as content is scattered and ‘locked up’ inside of various document formats,” said Marc Stroheim, chief agility officer of Outsell of the new Toolkit.

Well not that techy really, but it does sum up exactly what this Toolkit is designed to do. In principle, it will enable users develop presentations from scratch, or use and manipulate existing presentations by searching and retrieving information that already exists in a single repository, whether that information is presentation, document, or spreadsheet format.

mark logic_search_2009.jpg

Toolkit for PowerPoint seach

It comes with three principal components including:

  • Easy capture of OOXML(Open Office XML) information from an XQuery library
  • Embedding of information applications using an add-in
  • Easy to use (Mark Logic says) ‘starters’ application to get users up and running straight away.

Again, if you’ve ever had to develop monster presentations (as opposed to presenting for monsters!), then it is understandable that you might be wary about using anything that might complicate that process even further. However, Mark Logic, in the calmest manner possible, assures us that this is not the case.

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Toolkit for PowerPoint: include s ability to find and ingest files in many formats, in this case Excel.

In fact, there are three very clear advantages to using it:

  • Users can access and use any previous presentations, or even individual slides, using a granular search function that can locate and retrieve requested information without having to negotiate their way through shared-drives, or applications.
  • Add-ins allow developers to customize, or build information applications, as well as integrate web-based applications. Quick start templates are also available for easy-build applications for commonly used functions such as customized tagging.
  • Elimination of file format conversion errors between Office applications by using OOXML enabling dynamic assembly and transformation of presentations. This also enables granular search between applications.

Toolkit for PowerPoint is available for download from the Mark Logic website and is distributed under the open source Apache 2.0 license.