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Wink - the power of presentations

Posted by felipegaucho on December 19, 2005 at 4:54 AM PST

Cejug-Classifieds have become popular these days and several new developers have asked about how to configure their development environment. I first tried the traditional way publishing some documents such as the Reference Guide and posting detailed messages in the developers mailing list. That effort revealed itself weak and many developers remain out of work just because they don't have much time to figure out how to configure the Tomcat, the MySql and mainly the Web Tools for Eclipse. Visiting other projects I noted the usage of demo videos as a powerful way to teach how to do things. Kirill Grouchnikov uses AVI video format [1, 2] and the Solaris team shows some well tailored videos about the OS. Other project and blogs include people in complete audio/vídeo about technology news and installation guidance.

Sample: Click the green button to play
Looking for Open Source solutions in order to create demos on how to configure my project into the Eclipse, I found Wink - a freeware tutorial/presentation creation software. It is a very easy to use tool with a set of nice features, including a compreensive user guide. I spent half an hour to produce my first video, and two hours later I published the first presentation at the home-page of my project: How to configure Cejug-Classifieds into Web Tools for Eclipse.

Wink usability: a feature I have liked too much was the ability to create a video based on screenshots instead of a continous action - reducing the video size. It also provided me a chance to choice what screnshot will compose the video and also the chance to remove mistakes in the tool usage. A flaw I couldn´t work around was the absence of persistent text blocks, i.e., I can´t mantain a text box during more than one frame. The tool also gives me the chance to mix screenshots with continous image recording - cool!

I strongly recommend the usage of tutorials in your Open Source project. Presentations and tutorials are faster to produce and reduce communication problems. I know there are more sophisticated commercial softwares to create presentation, but Wink is a free alternative that offers a very good usability.

Aknowledgement: moments before publishing this entry I found a previous post by Vincent Brabant. Brabant first introduced the Wink through an elegant presentation about NetBeans. I will try to use those next button tricks in order to control the rhythm of my next presentations.

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