Utilities Audio & Video Graphics Desktop Internet Security Development Games Business Education



Create Animated Demos with TurboDemo

 Business | Graphic Design

Everyone knows that a picture is worth 1000 words.  When you're trying to explain something, a moving picture can be worth 1000 stills.  Animated demos and marketing pieces can explain and persuade. They hold the audience's attention better and are more compelling than just using words and written text for many purposes.

There are several programs that create animated demos, including Flash Demo Builder and Viewlet Builder.  I'm going to review TurboDemo, one of the most popular.

For this review, I tested TurboDemo by creating a short tutorial on using FindApp.  To begin, I recorded myself using the Find feature to locate software on FindApp.

After recording, TurboDemo looked like Figure 1:

TurboDemo Interface

Figure 1: The TurboDemo User Interface 

Notice that TurboDemo calls each captured screen a "Slide". Each slide can have its own graphics, text, and audio added. If you have used Microsoft PowerPoint, you should find the interface for editing slides familiar.

Once you're done recording it's time to turn the simple screen capture into a demo or tutorial.  It's surprisingly easy.



First, I added text to several slides.  I also added a callout, also known as a word balloon, to one slide.  I used rectangles and arrows to emphasize important parts of some screens.  Finaly, I added a "Start" button to the beginning of the tutorial so it wouldn't begin before the viewer was ready. I chose not to use audio for this demonstration. 

After you've completed all the text/audio annotations, it's time to adjust the timing.  You can control how long each slide stays on the screen using the Player controls.


Figure 2: TurboDemo Player Controls

The number shown is the duration for the current slide.  Allow enough time for viewers to read the text and/or listen to the audio.

A major strength of TurboDemo is how many ways you can save your demo.  You can create Flash or Java for web pages.  You can also make a self-running Windows program (EXE), PDF and Word documents or an AVI movie.  I created an executable file, which you can download below.

FindOnFindApp.exe (4.15 mb)

TurboDemo is surprisingly easy to use, and has enough depth that experienced users will continue to get better and learn new tricks. You can create buttons, interactive test questions with automated responses to both correct and incorrect answers, and much more.  It does have a few quirks and frustrations, mostly a somewhat out of date user interface.

TurboDemo is a very good choice for a professional who will be creating enough demos and animations to justify the price.  You can find both TurboDemo and other demo builders in the Presentation category of FindApp.



For the Developer: HTML Editors


The most commonly spoken language in the world is said to be Mandarin Chinese, but I think it's HTML.  For a web developer, there is no tool more important than a good HTML editor.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) takes the text of a web page and adds "tags" that tell a web browser how to display it.  For instance, this word is bold.  To make that word stand out, I added the tag <em> before it, which means "Everything after this is in boldface", and after it put the tag </em>, which means "Stop boldface here." ("em" comes from "emphasis".)

It's possible to create web pages by manually typing tags into a file, but most people prefer to use a graphical editor that lets you see the formatting (like a word in boldface), instead of having to remember and interpret hundreds of different tags.  A good graphical HTML editor will display the page exactly the way it would look in a web browser.  Most also include additional features, like uploading to your web server when you are finished working.

CoffeeCup VisualSite Designer is a very good visual editor for web pages.  It's simple to position things on the screen and format everything the way you want it.  The included templates let you get started right away creating your own web pages.  An image editor is also included, so you don't need to buy any additional software to add pictures to your site.

MoreMotion Application Studio 's unique strength is its support for the new AJAX system.  AJAX lets you create interactive applications that run in a web browser.

WeBuilder is much more than an HTML layout program.  You can use it to create your page design in HTML, and also to add and edit scripts using VBScript, PHP, ASP, ASP.Net, SSI, Perl, Ruby, and WML.  There is also built-in support for SQL databases, allowing you to easily interface your page with business systems.  Anyone working on a site that uses scripting and/or databases should evaluate WeBulder.

There are dozens of other web site editors available in the WYSIWYG HTML Editor and Text-based HTML Editor categories.  I'm sure you can find the exact one that fits your needs.

John M. 

Copyright © FindApp.com, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Terms of Use