23 Feb 2019

asciinema for recording command-line terminal sessions

Live coding screencasts are way more awesome when the text can be copied. asciinema makes this possible.

Today I attended IndieWebCamp Austin 2019. IndieWebCamps are two days events for web creators to meet up to share ideas, improve their personal websites, and build upon each other’s creations. After a morning keynote, all the attendees (there were about 20 of us) gave a short demo of some of our web creations.

asciinema was something that struck me as immediately useful. It is a lightweight, text-based approach to terminal recording. Because it’s text-based, people watching the screencast can copy the text from the terminal! I had to try it out.

Getting started was pretty straightforward. I used brew install asciinema to install it. Unfortunately, the record command, asciinema rec, returned an erro, but (luckily) there was a GitHub issue with a solution! I ran brew postinstall python3, and it worked! I used asciinema rec to start a screen recording. I chose to follow a few of the commands in the Software Carpentry Unix Shell Lesson on navigating files and directories, which only goes into pwd, ls, and man. Once I typed exit to end the recording, instructions for how to post to the web were printed directly on my screen. Then I used asciinema auth to authentic myself as a user so that my videos could be stored on the web.

Check it out!


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