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Review RoboDemo Review

Added on 2/15/2004




Author: MediaMacros (website)

The powerful award-winning RoboDemo is the easiest and most affordable way to create interactive simulations and demos in Flash format, without knowing Flash. Whether you need to provide online training, demonstrate your products, provide online user support, or enhance your Help system, RoboDemo's patent-pending technology will have you creating professional simulations and demos in minutes.

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Product demos can be time consuming to create.  If you have ever tried to use screen recording software, or make your own custom demos with Director or Flash you know what an enormous task this can be. Well, not anymore thanks to RoboDemo.  

With RoboDemo you don't have to create custom graphics for each step and you don't end up with massive video files.  Instead, RoboDemo captures the action while you use the program and even drops in instructions for you. If you click the file menu, the screen is captured, and help balloons are automatically added instructing the user to select the file menu. You can also use the print screen button to capture a shot at any time so that your custom Director and Flash applications can take advantage of the ease of recording; even if they do not use standard OS menus.

RoboDemo keeps file size low by using an intelligent capture method to grab content. Rather than constantly grabbing every frame like most recording applications, it grabs the information at key places. This reduces the number of individual frames and dramatically reduces file size, but still keeps a solid flow to your demo.  Additionally, RoboDemo smoothes mouse motion for you. If you click on a menu, then scroll up and down searching for the setting you need, you still end up with a perfect demo that goes directly to the correct choice for you, making you look like a pro every time.

Aside from its basic application, RoboDemo also has the benefit of being a solid tool for training creation.  It allows you to create actions for the user to execute and even lets you specify the number of tries and outputs the results in SCORM compliant formats.  This is perfect for fully interactive online training rather than static demo videos. The feature I found particularly interesting was its ability to interact with PowerPoint.  Many times clients will mock up a presentation in PowerPoint, and then want it enhanced in Flash or Director.  With RoboDemo you can take native PowerPoint files and import them as either finished slideshows or even as editable content for Flash. Video may also be a factor if you are attempting to record screen animation. This is geared more towards step by step processes rather than recording active animation, but with the import Flash option you can always add video content after the fact.

Export formats include Flash SWF files, Mac and PC projectors, and Word.  For an additional $199 you also can export to FLA to further edit your movies in Flash (This is free until Feb 27th, 2004). I would like to see the FLA module bundled, but the pricing is not prohibitive and lets the user choose just those options that they need.

Audio recording is slightly limiting if you prefer to create in on pass. You can not record while you capture the screen presentation. This does allow easy editing on a frame by frame basis if you record audio after the demos are created, but many times for larger demos, I like the ability to record as I go.  It does handle most standard file types though and editing your content to sync with your audio is very simple.  There currently is not a Mac version, however, using an application such as VNC would allow you to open a connection to a Mac desktop on your PC and capture/record your Mac applications.

On the whole, this is a very intuitive program that makes demo and training creation very fast.  The output can be combined with RoboHelp to create interactive help for your applications. It's reasonably priced, and the company offers solid support via email and online forums. You may also download a 15 day free demo to try it out for yourself before you buy. If you need to screen record and demos this may be the tool for you!

**NOTE- RoboDemo was purchased by Macromedia which was purchased by Adobe and the link below points to the Adobe page for Captivate.



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