Castanaut: Ruby-powered OS X Screencasting DSL
Castanaut is a Ruby-backed screencasting domain-specific language that allows you to script screencasts in code. When these scripts are run, Castanaut takes control of your Mac and produces the desired effect. It's simply automated, scripted screencasting.
Two weeks ago I was reading a post on 37signals' blog about producing screencasts. Joseph Pearson's comment got me all excited:
At Inventive Labs, we’re experimenting with scripted screencasts. That is, you run a script, and at the end of it you have a screencast.
Obviously we would replace the text-to-speech narrative with a real voice actor for any screencast we put out, not least because the robot suffers from the Uncanny Valley effect. But it does ensure that timing is right.
I e-mailed Joseph and gave his system a try. It's now publicly available under the superb WTFPL license.
One of the common problems with screencasts is that they take a long time to produce, and this often means they fail to get updated when situations change (new versions of products, updated interfaces, etc.) With Castanaut, you could script your screencasts and rapidly reproduce them each time your software has a major update. If the changes are just at the interface level, you could even reproduce the video, paste the old voice / sound track over the top, and you'd be done.
As an aside, if you're more interested in producing screencasts the "old fashioned" way, I can heartily recommend Geoffrey Grosenbach's "Screencasting On The Mac" video. It costs $9 but you get a lot of information for your money. PeepCode is a sponsor of Ruby Inside but I am recommending this separately to that. I watched it last week and took away a lot of useful information, although now I'm being tempted by Castanaut instead ;-)