ttyrec player for Unix
is a program for recording a Unix terminal session. It works much
script, but its output file contains timestamp
information in addition to the terminal data, so that the session
can be played back later in real time. A common use for this program
is to record games of
for other people to watch;
for example, does this routinely.
The simplest application for playing back a
is to write the data in the file to a terminal, stopping to wait in
between sections as directed by the timestamps in the file. It's
easy enough to provide features such as double or half speed, fast
forward and pause; but going backwards in time is very
difficult, since terminal data cannot be interpreted in reverse to
work out what was on the screen before the current time. So if
you're watching a
ttyrec and something interesting
flashes up on the screen and is gone before you can press Pause, it
can be very difficult to retrieve it.
IPBT solves this problem. It is a
ttyrec player which
analyses the entire
ttyrec file before beginning the
playback, and reorganises it into a form which permits
frame-by-frame forward and backward replay. So if something
interesting goes past, you just press Pause and then back up by a
few frames, and there it is.
The downside is that the initial analysis phase takes time. On a 2GHz Pentium 4, I find it takes of the order of five seconds per megabyte of input. So if you want to watch an 8Mb file, you'll have to wait for something in excess of half a minute before IPBT is ready to show it to you. (This is annoying, but for me at least it's more than made up for by the ability to rewind.)
IPBT works by reading the entire input file and running it through an internal terminal emulator. The terminal emulator used is the one from the PuTTY SSH client (simply because that's the one whose API I was most familiar with). Thus, IPBT is a derived work of PuTTY.
While reading the file, IPBT builds up a list of the screen contents changes which take place over the course of the recording. These are stored into an internal data structure which permits efficient random-access retrieval of the screen state in any frame.
After doing this, IPBT is ready for playback. Playback is performed
without any reference to the
ttyrec file at all: the
program simply displays the screen states that came out of the
internal terminal emulator, in whatever order the user requests, via
For more details, you can read the man page online.
IPBT is currently working but unpolished. I don't have the time and energy to polish it very much myself, so I'm hoping to receive contributions from other people.
For a full list of the things that need doing, you can read the file
in the source distribution. The big one, at the moment, is that it
could do with an
framework and some portability tweaks
to make it work with
curses implementations other than
IPBT is distributed under the MIT licence, so it is free to copy, redistribute, use and reuse. For more details, see the file called LICENCE in the distribution archive.
A Unix source archive of IPBT is available here:
If you want to see the latest state of development, you can check
the development sources out from my
git clone https://git.tartarus.org/simon/ipbt.git
Alternatively, you can browse the repository on the web, here.
Please report bugs to email@example.com.
You might find it helpful to read this article before reporting a bug.
Patches are welcome.