Thursday, December 09, 2010

Flash video is back for good!

Woot!
First great news like in ages from the Flash land!
Is it a bird?
Is it a plane?
NO, it's
StageVideo!!!

Iashido told me last evening that he dropped by Flashcamp@Bucharest and got me a Flash tshirt. Finally I will own a Flash tshirt :)
And they showed a flash StageVideo demo. And it was awesome!

I actually saw it yesterday mentioned on the web with some screen shots on OSX. Impressive CPU usage drop. By impressive I mean jaw dropping...
Video performance in the Flash player was always a problem. Grab the Adobe Player to see for yourself. I mean it was almost embarrassing. I guess being the suckiest video playback technology worth using is just the reverse of the coin to being the most wide spread one.

But I'd understand if anyone reading this would be a little unnerved by my enthusiasm. You do not get it and that is ok. I will explain.
Desktop video playback was always a problem for me as a Flash multimedia developer. Back in 2005 we had only flv and that sucked too. On a project I worked on that required building a kiosk that showed some videos flv performance for screen wide video was to cry about. I had to hack around it by deploying the kiosk as an Internet Explorer web page with:

  1. the flash GUI on the bottom html layer
  2. Windows Media Player on top of the flash gui on the upper layer
  3. a custom video controller (only the buttons really) on the 3rd layer to have controls on top of the video. This one was build using flash and MProjector and it was an exe
Now try to imagine the bag of tricks needed to orchestrate this kind of video playback. With swf to html to WM ActiveX communication and events all thrown inside Internet Explorer :)
I'm not saying this wasn't fun. But it was quite awkward.
Next project like that we build and deployed on OSX with Safari, AppleScript, Dojo and in browser Quicktime. It was a bit less awkward. Not much less but it was about 20 different small apps so doing it in HTML with Dojo templates was way easier and def more flexible.

So this problem of not having a decent way to build a video player using the excellent cross platform Adobe AIR had it's constant place in a corner of my brain even for as long as Flash Video was invented.
That's a long time.
My last idea was to build the player using pyglet and the gui with pyjamas or AIR. Some tests I did were promising. I think I'm still gonna do it just 4 fun like it's the 01's all over again :))

But if this StageVideo is what it looks to be then kudos to those Adobe engineers who still know that solving the real problems is as important as inventing new ones!

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