The webcam software I use is called Webcam32. I found it in late 1999 and purchased a copy for twenty-five dollars (it eventually got up to around forty dollars). Not only does it have a lot of really great features, but new versions of the software are free.
Pretty great, right?
The last update happened years ago, but several features still don’t work that well (and never have). From time to time, I would check out the website of Surveyor Corporation, the company who made Webcam32, to see if there were any updates. About a week ago, I checked and found this:
“After September 15, 2006, we will no longer be selling Webcam32.”
They’ll continue to support registered users (like me), but they’re selling their source code (which, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, means that no further updates are coming).
In light of this, I have been looking around at other webcam software. Webcam32 will continue to work for me for a while, but eventually I’m going to have to make a change. With that in mind, I’d like to get the upper-hand on the situation. I could buy another program, but the one I like the best (webcamXP Pro) is about eighty dollars.
So here’s where I’m going with this. I know at least one of my readers is a programmer. I’m hoping that he (and perhaps a few others) will join me in attempting to create webcam software that is both good and open source.
I say “both good and open source,” because there are a few open source webcam programs out there, but they’re all pretty mediocre. I found three (for Windows), and they are:
Fwink – This is by far the best of the three. It has the most features and a fairly decent UI.
Dorgem – This seems to be the next best. The UI is pretty dull and the features are limited.
Webcam2000 – Boring UI and basic features.
So what features would I want to see in webcam software? This isn’t a comprehensive list, but a few obvious ones are:
- Works in Windows 9x+
- Support for pretty much any camera that you could plug into the computer.
- FTP uploads
- Upload images in multiple formats (jpg, gif, png, etc)
- Upload multiple images (main, thumbnail, etc)
- Ability to define size of main and thumb (640×480, 320×240, etc)
- Overlay – text and images (esp. png files with alpha channels)
- Upload timer (e.g. Once every N seconds)
- Countdown timer
- Local save
- Motion capture (based on % change)
- Basic image processing (flip, rotate, etc)
- Support for multiple video sources (camera rotator)
- Offline image (with rotator)
- Minimise to tray
Take a look at the features in Fwink to get an idea of what I’m looking for.
I think we have a unique community who will be able to develop a program that will look good and operate well. I don’t really have a timeline or a deadline, so this isn’t a high priority. It’s pretty much a, “whenever you have time to work on it,” type of thing.
So, who’s on board?