Reviews

Review: Demo Builder

Demo Builder 3.00
$199
doubleT Company
Toronto, Ontario
(604) 826-6404
www.demo-builder.com

You can probably guess what Demo Builder does from its name: it's a sort of screen recorder for application, designed to help you create Flash movies demonstrating your own products. To start, you just tell it to create a movie, and it places a little outline on your screen. You can size this manually, or tell it to fit to a particular application. Then you decide whether you'd like it to record automatically (in which case it grabs screenshots any time it considers significant, such as a mouse click) or manually (in which case you use a hotkey to tell it when to make another movie frame).

Then you just run your application through its paces, and Demo Builder keeps track of what's going on: mouse clicks and moves, typing, and so on. When you're done, you click a task tray icon and you end up in the Demo Builder editing environment, which lets you edit individual frames. Here you can do things like alter the time that a frame is on screen, add balloons or text notes, or even put interactive hot spots in the presentation.

There are lots of other little touches here. You can set up a movie to loop or add a sound track, for example. Interactivity includes the ability to specify edit fields where the user must type to continue, and you can decide what to do based on what they type - ideal for computer-based training scenarios.

When you're all done, a few mouse clicks export the movie to Flash (.swf) format, Flash with an HTML page to contain it, or a self-contained executable file. You can easily push the result to an FTP site or an e-mail message, or just save it in a file. The Demo Builder Web site contains a 15-day trial download (movies made with the trial version are watermarked, so you can't really use them in production), as well as tutorials (though it's simple enough to use that you probably won't need the tutorials).

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