SWF / FLV Video on Your Website

A little history…. Ever since the Eolas v. Microsoft patent lawsuit, the act of simply embedding an active object into a web page has become a problem. The nature of the lawsuit had to do with how web browsers displayed embedded objects such as video media files, and the fact that EOLAS owned a patent and Microsoft did not want to license the technology from them. In short, rather than pay, Microsoft developed a work-around which included using Javascript. The debate over whether to use the html <EMBED> or <OBJECT> tag became moot, and the Javascript method has become the defacto way to work around the EOLAS patent and provide a browser-independent method to display video.

The solution: (Note: this may seem complicated the first time you implement it, but get relatively easier for embedding subsequent Flash Video, (.FLV), and other types of media files into a website).

Here’s the software you need:

1. a video saved in .FLV format

2. a Shockwave/Flash, (.SWF), video control — this is “the player” whic his usually a frame that surround the video and contains (minimally) a Start/Stop button, and usually a volume control.

3. an HTML file you wish to embed the SFW/FLV player and video into.

4. a Javascript library which interprets the parameters passed to it from the HTML which in-turn initializes the SWF/FLV player and displays the video.

Without rehashing all the details of the Javascript library, and the capabilities of the various vendors who offer the software components, I’ll just say they all basically work the same way, and provide workable examples that you can copy and modify, followed by links to the vendor websites. For non-commercial sites, you can get all the software for free. Of, course you can code one yourself even for a commercial site and do that for free also — but in general the vendors charge approximately $20.00 (US or EUR) so that is probably more cost effective than re-inventing the wheel.

Where to get the software:

Jeroen Wijering’s FLV Playersimple, easy to use Javascript library and .SWF control. The player can play FLV, MP4, MP3 and AAC files and also display JPG, PNG and GIF images for use as an image rotator for photo galleries. download the .ZIP file, uplpad the .JS and .SWF files to your website and copy the example to have a video up and running in 5 minutes. There is a “wizzard” on the site that produces the HTML code for more complicated settings, (e.g.- playing multiple files, setting up a static opening screen before the video plays, skinning the player, etc). Free for non-commercial, $20 for commercial sites, (Creative Commons license).

After uploading the .JS library and and .SWF player (extracted from the file: mediaplayer.zip), and your .FLV video file to your site, you would :

– cut and paste the following line into the <HEAD> if you page:

<script type="text/javascript" src="/embed/swfobject.js"></script>

– cut and paste the following <DIV> and <SCRIPT> code into the body of your page:

<div id="player">This text will be replaced</div>

<script type="text/javascript">
var so = new SWFObject('embed/player.swf','mpl','320','240','9');

Get the JW FLV Player code at: http://www.jeroenwijering.com/

Wimpy Player, (Plano Software, LLC), is a similar set of files, (with more options). Wimpy can be used as a simply “button” to play .MP3 and other audio files, all the way up to their Wimpy WASP and Wimpy RAVE products which are skinnable audio/video jukeboxes that can run XML playlists and be styles to look just about any way you want. The software is easy enough to use and very dependable. You can download their tools which generate all the HTML code needed to cut and paste into your website or use their online code generator. You have to pay for the WimpyPlayer software even on non-commercial sites after the 15 day demo expires. The paid versions cost from $19 and up depending on features. http://www.wimpyplayer.com

Abode, Inc. – Adobe owns the Shockwave Flash and Flash Video formats, and offers several commercial tools for embedding flash video in your website including DreamWeaver [DW] and other flash and video authoring tools in the Adobe Creative Suite (CS) packages. Visit Adobe’s Flash Developer’s Center at: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/ for more info.

Please let us know if you locate any other vendors who produce software to play .SWF / .FLV video on your website.


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