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Making PowerPoint part of nORMa IDE

Last post Thu, Aug 21 2008 18:25 by Brian Nalewajek. 0 replies.
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  • Thu, Aug 21 2008 18:25

    Making PowerPoint part of nORMa IDE


    In putting together a presentation on Data Modeling and the nORMa tool, I found it very useful to create the sample model for the tool demo, at the same time pasting Visual Studio image captures and FactEditor entries into corresponding PowerPoint slides.  My original purpose was to capture the steps in creating the model; and making a printout of those slides, to use as a guide (to make sure I made all the steps).  That worked out well (and helped in another way, when time limits forced me to rush through the demo - I had the slides with the completed model sections to show "how it should look").  Now I see another use for coordinating a PPT slide deck with the development of ORM models using the nORMa tool.

    First, the "Image copy" feature of VS is available by RT clicking in the designer window work space.  This will do an "intelligent" copy of the elements in the workspace.  Pasting these into a content area of a PPT slide produces a very nice, and adjustable image.  I find the "2 Content" layout for slides works well; pasting the image into the right hand side, and having the left hand side for Comments, instructions, and pasted text of FactType entries and verbalization.  For the later, using the option to retain source formatting keeps the color coding from the tool IDE.  For demonstrations, you can even create a new slide on the fly, and copy the image into a larger format for better viewing; or just adjust the image on the original slide - the VS/nORMa ORM 2 diagrams show just fine for most presentations, as is.

    Resizing the pasted text from the FE and VB, is useful for getting more into a content area (down to about 16pt works well).  All this is great for preparing demos, but I see more uses.

    One thing the nORMa tool doesn't have yet, is a useful version control feature.  The "undo button" is useful for back tracking, but you can only see one version at a time (and has other limitations).  Capturing the wordings and images, and storing them in PPT slides allows for documenting various dry runs on modeling approaches.  Not sure if sub-typing is the best way for a situation - do it one way. Store the image, code and comments in a slide; and repeat for alternatives.  You're not storing the model, or fragments of a model, but you are documenting the steps, reasoning and image of the resulting diagrams.  If you make a misstep, you can follow the bread crumbs back to where you ought to be.

    Now, I'm trying to do a full (sample) modeling project, using PowerPoint as a detached part of the IDE.  I'll post the results later.  A two large monitor workspace would be ideal, but I'm not set up for that here.  For those that are, I suggest giving the VS and PPT team a try.  Even with having to switch app windows, I'm finding the benefits significant.



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