New PDF renderer project
So, hey, there's a new open source project, PDF Renderer: a 100% Java PDF renderer and viewer which was just announced by Joshua Marinacci. This is the big secret he's been hinting at for awhile. Okay, that's cool. I remember seeing something in the JavaFX demo's about a PDF renderer there, and with the new scenegraph project one should be able to make a very interesting PDF viewer.
But here's something which I think is a gap ...
The high level question is:- How does one do an online presentation using an open source toolchain? And have that presentation have the whizzy special effects you can do with a tool like Powerpoint or Open Office? Or even whizzier special effects?
Often presentations are exported to PDF ... Open Office has an 'Export to PDF' choice, for example. PDF is, as Josh notes, a widely used format and (news to me) is soon going to be OSI approved. But I believe there isn't a way to encode whizzy effects from a presentation tool into PDF files. One of my readers will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong.
One option I see as a possibility -- Open Office files are a zip file containing XML and other artifacts required by the file. This makes it possible for a viewer tool to be written that understand the OOo format files. This makes it possible, I think, for a Java viewer to take those things and if it understands the whizzy effects OOo can encode in the files then the presentation could go as the author intended -- without the viewer being required to have OOo installed on their machine.
It could be as cool or cooler than a PDF renderer (as important as this renderer is, that is).