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Putting animation and content builds in your Web presentations

Aug 25, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Jshock is PowerPoint meets Shockwave

This is way cool! A Java applet that allows you to give presentations on a Web page that include animation, content builds and interactivity. You can think of it as PowerPoint meets Shockwave. This neat piece of coding is called Jshock (see links below) and is published for free (no license is declared anywhere in the software) by its author, Jamie Cameron.

Jshock is a 290K-byte download that you install by unpacking the archive file into a subdirectory (remember to specify that unpacking should use the original path specified in the archive). Note that the Jshock editor requires the installation of Sun’s Java Development Kit.

Assuming everything else is as it should be, you can launch Jshock with the command “java jshock” from the jshock root subdirectory.

The Jshock editor is fairly simple allowing you to open, create and save presentations and create and manipulate bitmap images (scaled to any size). It also allows you to use:

* Multiline text of any supported font, size and style.

* Straight lines, optionally with start and or end arrowheads.

* Freehand curves.

* Empty rectangles with optional rounded corners.

* Filled rectangles (filling for all elements is simple solid color only).

* Empty or filled ovals.

* Empty or filled polygons.

* Empty or filled freehand shapes.

* Empty regular polygons (with an arbitrary number of sides).

* 90 degree arcs.

Jshock animation is done by creating key frames – you move elements to their correct positions at specific times and Jshock creates the in-between (or “tween”) frames. You can also specify the path to be taken by an element between key frames.

Jshock elements can have arbitrary numbers of associated actions that can be triggered by clicking on an element or when the mouse enters or leaves an element. These actions include:

* Changing from the current timeline to another.

* Sending the browser to a new URL.

* Specifying the frame to display the URL in.

* Playing a .au format audio file.

* Whether to play the sound once, or loop for some time (if looped sound is used, the number of milliseconds to play the sound for).

* Change a key frame of an element.

* Change the size of an element.

* Change the foreground and background colors of an element and display a message in the browser’s status area.

Your can test out your presentations in the editor and then deploy them to your Web site. The Web page needs to simply load the Jshock applet with a parameter that specifies the location of the presentation file and voila! You have an online and optionally interactive presentation that will run on any browser that supports Java.

The downside compared to say, Shockwave is that Jshock is much simpler so there are many cool effects and features that Jshock can’t provide. On the other hand, Jshock can be learned very quickly and it is free.

Check it out and let me know what you think.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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