Why use presentations?

I am curious as to why so many people use presentations. It seems one of the buggiest areas in openlp (understandably with all the different versions it must accommodate). I think it is a great feature to have in case you have a visiting presenter with a presentation they want to use but I am surprised that so many appear to use presentations on a weekly basis. If I want slides to go along with my message I simply use jpegs. That way I have rock solid reliability. The only thing that I can't do is have fancy transitions/effects but those are overused and are probably more of a distraction anyway. I use PSE but even free graphic software can do much better text than PPT/Impress. So what am I missing? Why do so many use presentations on a weekly basis?


  • Good question. I would also ask: why do people insist on using animations, ugly fonts, text that blends in with the background? why do they insist on sending Word documents as e-mail attachments when they just contain plain text? or sending files in difficult formats (.pub...)?

    No original answers here. I guess these people just do what they're used to or what they've been shown. I imagine (but might be wrong) that many people using OpenLP are reasonably technically-minded. They might not know how to program but they understand roughly what's going on in the background and why things work the way they do. In our case, most of the people who preach or organise worship or prepare announcements to be displayed are able to use their computer once they've been shown how but don't think critically about the methods they use. I suspect there would be quite a lot of resistance to moving away from Powerpoint: using new software, especially Photoshop or GIMP would be too much of a challenge. I also suspect that a lot of slides that we see are based on ones borrowed from elsewhere, at least the design, if not part of the content.

    Powerpoint and Impress allow you to edit and save the file more easily than any graphic software. We can also fix typos and errors at the last minute or even live. This shouldn't be necessary but in practice it happens.

    If themes are set up and used correctly, the presentations from Powerpoint (and perhaps Impress) can look amazing. However, getting a presentation or an image to look good is quite challenging. It's easy for me to be critical about other people's slides but even if my criticism is justified I am unable to create a decent looking presentation myself. Using images will solve some of the technical issues but might make it more difficult to make slides that look good (minus the animations).

    I believe some people export their presentations as images and then import them into OpenLP.

    It would be nice to have native OpenLP slides for our sermons and pre-service notices, but it's not really designed for that at the moment. With better support for images (background and foreground), the ability to import/export custom slides, and maybe the possibility to create slides outside of OpenLP (eg. simple slide editor or text file format), this might be an option.

    I personally feel that slides for a sermon should only consist of Scripture, which OpenLP can do very easily. Nothing wrong with the occasional illustration but I generally find that typical slides are distracting and don't bring much to the words being spoken.

    Sorry, must stop procrastinating. Would be interested to hear from others.
  • Good post, Carl. I hadn't thought of editing on the fly.
  • In my previous church we used Power Point for the notices, which ran before church started. The projectionist would only get the notices just before the service, so it was essential that the text be easily editable. We could have used the custom plugin, but we also had images on each slide, which you cant easilly do on OpenLP.
  • At my current church we run powerpoints using MS powerpoint and use the go to desktop feature in OpenLP to show them when required and then just toggle OpenLP's display back on top of the presentation when required which works quite well particularly as the desktop background it just white with the church logo in the middle so it all looks smooth and you don't loose the features from powerpoint that people like to use.
  • I think because some of the features needed, are only found in PPT. 
    This could be generally fixed with 1 feature:

    The ability to play a video in a loop.  In other words I put video X into looping mode, and let it loop until the service is ready to start, then break the loop with the keyboard, by advancing to the next item.  

    Windows Movie Maker and Open Shot on Linux allow you to take a series of still image files and put them into a movie with a whole bunch of fancy fading and wiping features, and VLC plays nice with OpenLP, to project that video.  It just needs to be able to tell VLC to start at the beginning when it gets to the end.   Yeah I realise that VLC can be put behind and should do it's own looping, but that's another thing that can go wrong at a time when the operator has 47 other things to do.... 

    Much of the problems with Powerpoint and Impress is that they are not designed to work as a plugin for another program, but we are essentially asking them to act that way. 
  • I know that easyworship plays powerpoints very nicely within the program its self although how that is achieved I don't know.
  • Windows uses a proprietary system - Object Linking and Embedding (OLE)- to allow applications to talk to one another.  This is implemented with a very ugly pile of C code.    

    Unix uses a number of simple mechanisms, either shared memory or named pipes that allows the applications to implement some kind of sending commands structure into the shared memory or  pipe.  

    Languages like C# that are designed to run only on Windows, simply implement OLE, languages that are platform neutral or platform agnostic, have two choices, they can implement named pipes and use a Unix like mechanism.  Which works very well if both applications are willing to agree.  Or they can attempt to abstract away the OLE mechanism.  With Powerpoint the only option is to abstract away OLE.  Then attempt to implement that abstraction on other platforms.  It's ugly no matter how you do it, and it's amazing it works as well as it does.

    The only way to fix this, is to use different code in Windows and *nix (which includes Mac-OS), and the OpenLP developers decided not to go this route.


  • Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense.
  • Tomlikesfree the answer is a sad one.   Majority of people who produce static non animated powerpoint files don't know they can tell powerpoint to produce a jpg file.   Majority of these is only a single slide to a file as well.

    Even in phill case there is really no need in operation to be using powerpoint at the display stage.

    Scio the main reason why where I am using openlp is we got sick of easyworship crashing due to videos and powerpoints.  I would not call easyworship powerpoint support better or worse than openlp.   Yes openlp might be a little more limiting but is more stable.

    wogster Impress Libreoffice or OpenOffice was design to work as a plugin.  Proper control of both is by uno not ole.  Uno from C# is particularly hard.   Problem with Impress has been particular addons have not been design with the idea that it would be embedded.   The presentators console is the bigger nasty bit of thing that takes over you screen can be disabled in newer versions of libreoffice impress.

    wogstor people forget the existence of dbus and containers on Linux and apples NSDistributedNotificationCenter of course these don't help you when you are on Windows.

    Basically anything above posix define simple mechanisms what wogstor says Unix uses gets down right platform or application particular very quickly.  uno is application particular.  OLE is windows only solution.   UNO is Libreoffice, Openoffice...what was staroffice.  dbus under Linux does a majority of what would be OLE under windows.

    Then you get into items like Cobra its name matching a snake is well and truly perfect.  Yes once you get to something like OLE that is cross platform you are now in the hell that nothing supports it and you have to build bridges back anyhow Cobra is platform agnostic it just a complete pain to use due to its love of using tcp/ip and cat fighting with firewalls.

    The really big killer with all these other platform options is the fact they don't include window embedding like OLE does.  So what include like OLE windows embedding.   GObject and QObject on Linux.   Yes GTK and QT particular bindings.   Doing anything like OLE cross platform is welcome to migraine.   Everyone has done their own unique twists.  Yes Gobject is another stack of ugly c code and qobject is a stack of not quite as ugly C++ code.

    Cross platform like OLE is only simple if all your applications are using like GTK or Qt note the word all and only one of and are using the OLE like model those support.    The odds of this happening is basically zero.  Yes even that Libreoffice is able to use GTK or QT it uses neither of their models internally instead goes and implements its own.

    The choice of python is a good one.   python is binding agnostic.

    Mono manages to make C# run on Linux and OS X but you run into all kinds of teeth as its OLE model meets everything else that happens to be incompatible.

    MS Powerpoint on Linux would have to equal running it in wine that is not great at running it in the first place.   MS Powerpoint on OS X implements different bindings to windows version.

    Libreoffice is simpler due to uno being 100 percent uniform across platforms but its not made simple due to the fact Linux world wants python 3 code and this project is still python 2 so does not want to keep on providing the python 2 interfaces to anything and there is no clean way to call python 3 code from python 2.

    Scio that it can be made work is more example of human determination than good design.   If the objective was to create road blocks to sharing parts we are true masters at it.
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