Sunday, February 15, 2009

Working With DemoMate Files

By default, DemoMate files are stored in a "My Demos" folder that is created inside your default Documents folder. You can save the demo files to another location by using the File->Save As option from within DemoMate. Here's an example of what you'll see in a typical My Demos folder: Each demo actually has two items associated with it in this folder: the .demo file that defines the demo structure, and the demo asset folder of the same name. If you decide to delete a demo, you can do so by deleting both of these items. If you wish to move a demo to another location on the same computer, be sure and copy both the .demo file and the asset folder. You can transfer a demo to another computer by packaging the demo using a licensed version of DemoMate, and then running the new packaged demo installer on the computer you wish to transfer the demo to. This installation process ensures that all demo assets are correctly installed on the new computer. When installing a packaged demo on a computer, the new demo will be deployed into an "Installed" directory under your My Demos folder. Here is what you might see in the Installed folder with three different demos installed:
Each of these folder names is a unique identifier for that demo, to ensure that a demo with the same name does not overwrite it. Installed demos are locked for editing - this guarantees that the original demo is unchanged when being used by demo presenters. Users with licensed versions of DemoMate can always make copies of Installed demos and make any changes they desire.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Optimizing Demo File Sizes

When creating a DemoMate, it's useful to be aware of the factors that can influence the size of the demo file. This is especially important when creating a demo for use as an online tutorial, where download speeds can affect how long it takes your customers to load the demo. The following four factors can influence the size of your demos:
  1. Screen Resolution - The higher your screen resolution, the larger your demo file will be. This is because DemoMate will be recording more pixels of information for each step. Reducing your screen resolution before capturing your demo will dramatically reduce the file size. This has the added benefit of making your demo viewable on a wider range of displays, and making text more readable when presenting your demo.
  2. Color Depth - This refers to the maximum number of colors Windows can display on your desktop at any one time. Typically, this is set to 32-bit to ensure the highest fidelity when watching videos and viewing photos. Reducing this setting to 16-bit can help minimize DemoMate file size, and usually has only a minimal impact on the quality of the screenshots in your demo, because most business applications don't display enough colors on the screen at once to take advantage of 32-bit color.
  3. Image Complexity - Capturing demo screenshots that contain highly complex images takes up considerably more disk space than screenshots with simpler images. When capturing demos, you might want to consider removing that fancy beach photo from your last vacation that's being used as your desktop background, and using a simpler, single-color background.
  4. Number of Steps - Of course, the number of steps in your demo will also affect the size of the demo. It's always a good idea to review your demo and see if there are unnecessary click steps that can be removed to tighten up or shorten the demo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Capturing Demos in Windows 7 Beta

It has come to our attention that when capturing demos in Windows 7, there are certain situations where DemoMate will end up in a state where pressing 'ESC' to end demo capture does not work properly. The easiest workaround is to capture your demo in short sections, pressing 'ESC' frequently to end demo capture. After you are done capturing your demo, you can then use the Merge sections option in the DemoMate editor to organize your sections how you want them. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any other issues you might encounter while running DemoMate on Windows 7. We appreciate the feedback, and are working diligently to ensure we provide full compatability by the time it ships.

Presenting Demos in Windows 7 Beta

We've been testing DemoMate with the public beta of Windows 7, and have observed an issue where clicking the Present button results in the first step of the demo being a completely white screen. We're currently investigating this issue, but the easy workaround for now is to simply click the Preview button instead of the Present button, which works just fine. Update: This issue has been resolved in DemoMate Build 660.

Editing Demos at Different DPI Scales

We are currently tracking an issue where it is difficult to edit demos captured at different DPI scales than the Windows default of 96 DPI. Adjusting this setting is typically done (especially on laptops) to make text and icons larger and easier to read. The current workaround for this issue is to set your monitor back to 96 DPI before capturing or editing a demo. To do this, right-click on your desktop and select Properties. Select the Adjust Font Size (DPI) link, and set it back to 96 DPI. We anticipate having this issue resolved in the next release of DemoMate.