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Screencast Hosting and Recording

Published 06/22/2009 and rated Ratingstars4 4 out of 5 stars
by Adam Brown
What can you use the app for? is a site which offers a Java-based one-click screencasting application for users interested in recording their screen activity into a Flash-based screencast. The resulting screencast can be viewed in any browser. Screencasts are useful for software tutorials, demonstrations, technical support (a user can forward a screencast of a problem they are having) and interactive learning. The site is designed to make recording a screencast as simple as possible. The home page features a large record button icon – clicking on this icon starts the screen recorder application. Java 1.5 or greater is required to use the application – because the application is Java-based it will run on Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems.

After the recorder is started, the user is allowed to choose whether to record the full screen or only a portion of it. If a portion is chosen, a convenient box is provided which the user resizes to the area of the screen they wish to record. The user can also choose at this point whether or not to record audio from the PC’s microphone. Next the user is prompted to click on a record icon and the application starts recording screen activity. The user then performs the actions they want to be included in their screencast, and clicks on the stop recording button when finished. The user is then prompted to preview the screencast or save the screencast. Once the screencast is saved, the application returns the following information to the user: A link to watch the screencast, HTML code to embed the screencast in a website, BBCode to embed the screencast in a forum (bulletin board), a direct link to the screencast file, The video ID that was assigned to the file (a large hexadecimal number that is used to uniquely identify the screencast, the address of a large preview image of the screencast and the address of a small preview image of the screencast. The screencast is hosted online for free, and is never deleted unless there has been no activity (the screencast has not been viewed) for some time.

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What is the history and popularity of the app?, referred to as the Skoffer project by its author, was launched in January 2009. The project is based in Germany, and was created by Stefan Schulze Steinmann.

What are the differences to other apps?

Competition to comes from a number of desktop applications such as Camtasia Studio and Wink, and online applications such as Screencast-o-matic and Screentoaster. Camtasia, which is paid software, is a full-featured desktop application with some editing and formatting capabilities. Wink has even more features than Camtasia and is free software. Screencast-o-matic and Screentoaster are free applications – they give the user more control over the screencasts they create. The main difference Screencastle brings to the table is its simplicity and the information associated with their screencasts such as link to watch, HTML code, etc. provided to the user automatically.

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How does the web app look and feel to use?

The Screencastle site is very clean and uncluttered. The site is very responsive, with page loads, screen recording, and viewing of screencasts happening seamlessly. The entire application runs without ever leaving the homepage, so navigation is nil. There is a list of frequently asked questions and an about page which can be conveniently accessed from links on the home page. There is also a section which describes how to use the Skoffer API, and how to build widgets to embed in websites.

How does the registration process work?

The Screencastle site is free to use and there is no registration offered. This means that screencasts created with the application are not associated with a user – users have no control over the screencasts they create other than to provide others with the ability to view them. The unique video code created for each screencast is a very large number that becomes part of the link to the file, so if a user wishes to keep a screencast private they can do so by simply not sharing the link to it. There is also no paid or premium membership offered to the site.

What does it cost to use the application?

ScreenCastle is free to use.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Screencastle is recommended to anyone having a need to quickly and easily create a screencast. The site is very easy to use, and the amount of automatically generated content that the site furnishes makes the screencast available for a variety of uses. The ability to embed the screencast in websites and forums is particularly useful.

  • Provides users the ability to quickly and easily create a recording of their screen activity
  • The user can choose to record the full screen or only a portion of it
  • Cross-platform – Java-based application can run on Windows, Linux or Mac
  • The user can choose to record audio with their screencast
  • No registration, so a user has no control over a screencast once it has been created
  • Site is entirely free to use

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