Omar Abou Mrad

Asciinema --max-wait sanity

Asciinema 1.0 added an amazing new switch to the command line interface that allows you to set a terminal's maximum inactivity time.

The switch is: --max-wait [seconds]

You can refer to the release post on asciinema blog here

Terminal inactivity refers to output and not how long it took a process to complete which makes this switch not function properly for commands that incrementally report progress.

Example

$ asciinema rec local.json --max-wait 2
$ sudo apt-get update
   ...
   Get:7 http://archive.ubuntu.com trusty/universe Sources [7926 kB]
   10% [5 Packages 300kB/7589 kB 2%] 400kB/s 1s

Even though the above works perfectly fine if your command has progress notification (similar to the apt-get), --max-wait will be unable to do its job properly.

The obvious solution would be to just redirect the output of a command to /dev/null though this will completely drop the output which you don't want to lose.

$ asciinema rec local.json --max-wait 2
$ sudo apt-get update > /dev/null

A better solution is to find a switch for the command you're trying to run that can suppress the progress only. In the apt-get case you can resort to the -q switch as seen below.

$ asciinema rec local.json --max-wait 2
$ sudo apt-get update -q
...
Get:7 http://archive.ubuntu.com trusty/universe Sources [7926 kB]

The command will no longer report any progress, allowing Asciinema's --max-wait to function as intended when playing back a recording.


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