If there’s anything like a Swiss Army knife among the authoring systems for software demos, then it’s Captivate. The program offers a scope of functions that’s by far the largest, especially with regard to quiz functions and branching scenarios. Among its strengths are flexible customization of the output, smooth translatability (XML export and reimport), and attractive results. Currently Captivate is the only screencasting tool that comes with text-to-speech voices. On the downside are Captivate’s poor documentation and slow update cycle.
Price: approx. €900; also available on a monthly subscription basis and as part of the e-learning Suite and Technical Communication Suite
Lying hidden behind an uncluttered user interface are more features than you’d guess at first sight. Despite the affordable price, there are hardly any requirements that DemoBuilder doesn’t meet. Texts can be exported to Microsoft Word for translation and then be reimported. DemoBuilder is straightforward, simple, and efficient to use. Another key advantage is that it’s particularly easy to update existing demos when there is a new version of the demonstrated product.
Price: approx. $199
One of the most popular screencasting tools. Its approach is purely full-motion based, which makes it somewhat difficult to update existing movies. Camtasia supports a large number of output formats and is available for Windows and for the Mac.
Price: approx. €280
ViewletBuilder was one of the first screencasting tools on the market, and is. It’s one of the few programs that are available for Linux and Mac as well. All important features are available. Comprehensive event control. Text can be exported to XML for translation and then reimported again.
Price: approx. $399 (“Professional”) and $599 (“Enterprise”)
Follows a completely full-motion based approach, which makes it difficult to update existing demos. The built-in autoscroll function can automatically ensure that regions where interaction is happening are displayed in the center. Easy to use.
Price: approx. €62 (“Standard”) and €139 (“Professional”); there’s also a free “Express” version available that lacks editing and annotation features
Unlike the other products listed here, Mimic focuses very specifically on the needs of technical documentation. Unique features are the possibility of using variables while working with texts, and the possibility to use individual scenes several times over, even in different projects.
Price: approx. $299
Simple to use, however lacks some important features. The Enterprise version lets you record (not edit) demos on MAC OS and Linux. Didn’t have any significant updates for several years.
Price: approx. €200 up to €500, depending on version