Taking a leaf out of our own book; a Chromebook

Peter von Oven – Founder & Chief Executive Officer

We are all familiar with the phrase “death by PowerPoint,” where we sit in presentations which seemingly are made up of hundreds of PowerPoint slides. Staying awake becomes a struggle and ultimately, we don’t even remember half of what has been presented, if that. In fact, an article published in the Independent in 2017 suggested that the average attention span lasts for around ten minutes, when in meetings. In PowerPoint terms, that’s just a handful of slides, not hundreds!

This is where the team at Droplet Computing have cut out almost all their slides and using instead just a handful of slides to show the architecture and any other diagrams that are too hard to draw on a whiteboard quickly. Even though we still use some slides, those that we do use are running on PowerPoint inside a container and using a device that is relevant to the customer opportunity. We are presenting and demonstrating all at the same time. A “demotation” if you like!

The message is infinitely more powerful when you spin the device around and show that you are presenting using the standard Windows version of PowerPoint that is clearly running on a Mac or Chromebook, as you can see the native devices desktop in the background, and all with no network connection. In fact, taking this approach helped us secure our VC funding.

So, this was for customer meetings and demonstrations, but more recently we have started to expand our own use case, demonstrating to ourselves the power of why you would use a container.

As we expand our supported device platforms, more about that in a minute, as part of that work we create integration and deployment guides. These guides are step-by-step guides using actual screenshots of the process.

Recently, we have accelerated our development of the Chrome OS container and as such needed to create the associated documentation. The most obvious way to write this documentation was on the Chromebook itself and so our Chief Technologist took to the keyboard, logged on to Office 365, and opened Word online. That’s where the problems started!

To start the new guide, we took an existing guide and renamed it. The key reason for this was so that the document format and layout could be retained. As you can see from the previous screenshot, this wasn’t quite the case and made it difficult to write the new document with the formatting being literally all over the place.

So how do you get around this? In our case, as we already had a container installed on the Chromebook, we simply installed Microsoft Word 2016 locally into the container, and voila!

As you can see from the screenshot, the locally installed copy of Word 2016 opened the same document perfectly, with nothing out of place with the formatting. Which is totally expected as it’s Word after all.

For those with a keen eye and experience of our container technology, you can also see a sneak preview of not only our Chrome OS version of the container, but also the first steps towards a seamless operation mode. Once the container app is launched, across the top of the screen you will see the app icons, which you simply click to launch the associated app. The app also launches in full screen mode, appearing as if it is running natively on the Chromebook, while the container itself is running in the background, invisible to the end user, and is just presenting the apps. This will of course be the same for all our other supported platforms too. Our end goal is to just have the app icon on the desktop of the device, regardless of what the device is.

“We are now users, as well as developers of our own product. It’s an integrated and reliable part of what we do and how we work”

Peter von Oven, Founder and CEO Droplet Computing

Having had a brief glimpse of the future, today we take the next steps in expanding device support and are launching our first Chrome OS container app. This first Chrome OS version allows you to run older apps, using the DCI-X container image.

To see how you can enable your legacy Windows apps to run in a Chrome OS environment, contact the Droplet Computing team today.