This is the annual release of my external-videos wordpress plugin and with the help of Andrew Nimmolo I’m proud to annouce we’ve reached version 1.0!
So yes, my external-videos wordpress plugin is now roughly 7 years old, who would have thought! During the year, I don’t get the luxury of spending time on maintaining this open source love child of mine, but at Christmas, my bad conscience catches up with me – every year! I then spend some time going through bug reports, upgrading the plugin to the latest wordpress version, upgrading to the latest video site APIs, testing functionality and of course making a new release.
This year has been quite special. The power of open source has kicked in and a new developer took an interest in external-videos. Andrew Nimmolo submitted patches over all of 2016. He decided to bring the external-videos plugin into the new decade with a huge update to the layout of the settings pages, general improvements, and an all-round update of all the video site APIs which included removing their overly complex SDKs and going straight for the REST APIs.
Therefore, I’m very proud to be able to release version 1.0 today. Thanks, Andrew!
Enjoy – and I look forward to many more contributions – have a Happy 2017!
NOTE: If you’re upgrading from an older version, you might need to remove and re-add your social video sites because the API details have changed a bit. Also, we noticed that there were layout issues on WordPress 4.3.7, so try and make sure your WordPress version is up to date.
This past week was amazing, not because of Google Wave, which everybody seems to be talking about now, and not because of Microsoft’s launch of the bing search engine, but amazing for the world of open video.
- YouTube are experimenting with the HTML5 video tag. The demo only works in HTML5 video capable browsers, such as Firefox 3.5, Safari, Opera, and the new Chrome, which leads me straight to the next news.
- The Google Chrome 3 browser now supports the HTML5 video tag. The linked release only supports MPEG encoded video, but that’s a big step forward.
- More importantly even, recently committed code adds Ogg Theora/Vorbis support to Google Chrome 3’s video tag! This is based on using ffmpeg at this stage, which needs some further work to e.g. gain Ogg Kate support. But this is great news for open media!
- And then the biggest news: Dailymotion, one of the largest social video networks, has re-encoded all their videos to Ogg Theora/Vorbis and have launched an openvideo platform. The blog post is slightly negative about video quality – probably because they used an older encoder. The Xiph community
has already recommended use of recommends experimenting with the new Thusnelda encoder and the latest ffmpeg2theora release that supports it, since they provide higher compression ratios and better quality.
- That latest ffmpeg2theora release is really awesome news by itself, but I’d also like to mention two other encoding tools that were released last week: the updated XiphQT QuickTime components, that now allow export to Ogg Theora/Vorbis directly from iMovie (I tested it and it’s awesome) and the new GStreamer command-line based python encoder gst2ogg which works mostly like ffmpeg2theora.
Overall a really exciting week for open media and HTML5 video! I think things are only going to heat up more in this space as more content publishers and more browsers will join the video tag implementations and the Ogg Theora/Vorbis support.
Today, three of the worlds that I am really engaged in and that tend to not have much in-common with each other seemed to come to a sudden overlap.
The three worlds I am talking about are:
- Social video publishing (through my company Vquence)
- One Laptop Per Child (I am really keen to see more OLPC work in the Pacific)
- Open media software and technology (through Xiph and Annodex work, as well as FOMS)
I was positively surprised to read in this blog message that Dailymotion and the OLPC foundation have partnered to set up a video publishing channel for videos that can be viewed on the OLPC. The channel is available at olpc.dailymotion.com. You can view it on your computer if you have the appropriate codec libraries for Windows and the Mac installed. Your Linux computer should just support it.
To understand the full impact of this message, you have to understand that the XO (the OLPC laptop) does not support the playback of Flash video by default. OLPC cannot ship the official Adobe Flash plugin on the XOs because it is legally restricted and doesn’t meet the OLPC’s standards for open software. Thus, children that receive an XO are somewhat cut off from social video sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Blip.tv, MySpace.tv, video.google.com and others, even though there are lots of education-relevant videos published there.
The XO however ships with video technology that IS open: namely the Ogg Theora/Vorbis video codec and software. This is incidentally also the codec that the next version of Firefox will be supporting out of the box without need of installation of a further plugin.
Unfortunately, most video content nowadays available on the Internet is not available in the Ogg Theora/Vorbis format. Therefore, Dailymotion and the OLPC Foundation launching this channel that is automatically republishing all the videos uploaded to the Dailymotion OLPC group is a really big thing: It’s a major social video site republishing video in an open format to enable it to be viewed on open systems.