Camtasia as a software deployment tool

Last week .NET Rocks mentioned a good idea in passing: start a screencast tool like Camtasia before you do a software install. Michael Learned, told the story of a client that asked him to take screen shots of every step in the installation of Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server. Carl Franklin commented “What a great idea to throw Camtasia on there and record the whole process.”

It would be better if the installation process were scripted and not just recorded, but sometimes that’s not practical. Sometimes clicking a few buttons is absolutely necessary or at least far easier than writing a script. And even if you think your entire process is automated with a script, a screencast might be a good idea. It could record little steps you have to do in order to run your script, details that are easily forgotten.

Another way to use this idea would be to have one person do a practice install on a test server while recording the process. Then another person could document and script the process by studying the video. This would be helpful when the person who knows how to do the installation lacks either the verbal skills to explain the process or the scripting skills to automate it.

Related posts:

4 thoughts on “Camtasia as a software deployment tool

  1. Ali, I’m starting to appreciate screencasts. At first I was too impatient: I don’t have time to watch all this, just write down what you did. But as you say, screencasts can convey some tacit knowledge. I’m trying to learn some graphics software and screencasts have been very helpful.

  2. Nice post, John. Have you given Pixetell a try? A lot of our customers like it for the exact reasons you mention – being able to convey tacit knowledge.

  3. Jing is from the same manufacturers as Camtasia, and is much simpler/cheaper. They even have a free version that can capture up to 5 minutes at a time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *