Screencasts as advertising

Screencasts are like geek pr0n - and great advertising. If you haven't seen a screencast, picture watching someone who is really good at programming showing you a neat trick. They are incredibly good an pulling together a lot of ideas and seeing how something is actually done, rather than a list of features of what is can do.

This is true for open-source languages and applications that are trying to attract developers and users. Especially since documentations is notoriously difficult to write well, and therefore very scarce. Making a screencast of you using your tool/language/etc. is easy and fun (for developers).

It's also a great training tool and can provide very good tool for teaching users, where they can later review and get a better idea of how to use a feature than a description like "open the 'File' menu, select the 'Go to...' item... yadda yadda".

They're relatively easy to make. There are packages for Mac OS X such as Snapz Pro and for Windows options like Camtasia Studio or the free Windows media encoder.

Check out the Technorati listing of screencasts.

A couple stars:
The recently popular (and popularizing) Ruby on Rails screencasts, Mochikit (Mochikit Introduction Screencast), Django.

About this article

written on
posted in TechnologyProgrammingOpen-Source Back to Top

About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.