Tag: thePlatform

Comcast – Versus – Tour De France Interactive Map 2010

The latest (I’ve been so happy and honored to hopefully make this an annual project for me) Tour De France interactive map was a great ride. Last year’s map we all felt was a good start but if we had more time, there were ideas left on the table. As always, it’s great to meet with the Versus team and brainstorm some ideas on what to do for this year’s map. After a few conversations, we had a comp, an idea and I went to town. Versus usually gives me room to develop with creativity and there were multiple times I was able to give creative input and make a difference.

This project was built in Flex Builder 3, a pure AS3 project and I used a couple libraries to speed up development. As always, I use casalib, I used as3coreLib, greensock, and yes, the thePlatform PDK video player was used for video playing clips of each stage. I would think I stayed a bit more true to the MVC framework ideal than I ever have before (and not letting little details and ‘proper’ format get in the way).

This is the full page when hosted on the versus.com domain.

The 2010 Tour De France Interactive map

Here’s a view of the map when a user selects a stage and is viewing the stage detail view:

Versus.com Tour De France 2010 Stage Detail View

Clicking on any of the images above will take you to the current live site. I think the two images above show in a nutshell what the app was all about. The detail view has a stage image, stage description, video highlight of the stage course, an RSS feed view and some external URLs for more content per stage. The current structure of the versus.com website and this full stage map, has really filled the need for a ‘higher-level’ view of the tour.


Comcast – Versus – Camp Versus

Well, here’s a quick hitting project that ended up looking pretty sweet. This project uses thePlatform video player, the dreaded/not-so-bad/awesome/hair-pulling/ETC thePlatform PDK player. I was able to build a pretty cool wrapper for the player and can now pull in a PDK compiled player into a project. I still need to get a few more features added, but I’m now able to at least push in a PDK compiled player into a project and smile.

Built in Flex Builder 3 as a pure AS3 project, some casalib thrown in, of course the PDK video player, I used a standard .FLA for assets compiled out to a .swf that was embedded into the pure AS3 project. Overall a nice practice on my MVC directory skills.

Welcome to Camp Versus

Why not take a quick stroll through the camp and see where you fit in?

(my best late night attempt at getting you to be amused)

Update:Seems the initial push for Camp Versus is over, so the link has been changed to a local beta build on this domain…


Comcast – E! online – web video gallery

This one was a great project to be a part of and I got a chance to work with a great guy in the Flash community. While working on FEARnet.com’s video players (will be posting those projects in the near future), I worked with Felix Turner as he was also doing some contract work with Eonline.com. We wrapped up a pretty cool ‘year in review’ celebrity project and he began work on a video gallery for E! I went to another project and eventually was handed his work. Can’t say enough good things about Mr. Turner and his code.

So I picked up this project and continued development for a good 6-7 months. It supported Brightcove’s video platform (they migrated over to thePlatform’s feed services) and uses DART video ads. Most of the work I did for this was refactoring, adding new features, and bug squashing. A project I’m proud to say I was a part of.

The Video Gallery with a stream open and showing video

E! Online Video Gallery with a video playing

The Video Gallery with the video player closed and all streams showing

The gallery in a closed state

The E! Online Video Gallery with the video player closed

Working with the team out in LA was a great experience for me, I was able to work on this very cool project, went out to the E! Offices in LA a few times (once was in January with freezing temps in Philly and a sweet 70-ish temps. People were wearing coats out there…). Hopefully our paths will cross again and we’ll get to do more work together.

Here’s the live version up now

(it’s been updated since but you’ll see how cool it is :o)


thePlatform PDK – get a player up and running – some tips

So, I’ve got another project (a few actually) that will be integrating thePlatform’s video player. I’m slowly but surely getting a grip on how to use this player but I admit, it’s not the easiest API to work with. I guess my biggest gripe is how I want to so badly just load an instance of the PDK player and just call something like player.loadPID(videoPID,true) with the second arg being a start on load boolean and if false, show the video thumbnail. Just having a player.stop() so I can directly just stop a video would be nice. Instead you need to go into the player component, to the controller, then HOPE and PRAY the function or property you’re looking for is there….[/vent]

/**************** Put on AS3 Code Speak hat *********************/

That being said, here’s a tip: Create a class that extends the PDKContainer: example:

public class your_videoPlayer extends PdkContainer
{
//add whatever props you need here
public var _pdkPlayer:Player;

public function your_videoPlayer()

{ super(“your_videoPlayer”,0,true); //the true parameter is a ‘wait for stage’ boolean which without it, will cause the container to think it’s the only class being loaded and probably give you null values when it tries to access the stage

//Do everything else you would normally and assign the player to the _pdkPlayer class propert

//Ok, that being said, in your class that creates this “your_videoPlayer” instance example:

var yourVideoPlayer:your_VideoPlayer = new your_VideoPlayer();

// I just created a thumbnail loader (Thanks again casalib!) that would load the thumbnail for the video and on press calls

yourVideoPlayer._pdkPlayer.controller.setReleaseURL(releaseURL,true);

/**************** Take off AS3 code hat – Put on Nerd Speak Hat *********************/

with the releaseURL being the targeted releaseURL you have for the video you want to play and the true boolean being start the video on loading.

I couldn’t find an easier way to get the player to behave with loading the video thumbnail consistently, having consistent control over the player. I have yet to figure out how to get ads to load properly but will post the solution to that if I can (in talks with thePlatform’s support team now).

Hopefully this helped someone out there in internet-land that is a flash dev working with compiling the thePlatform’s PDK.


Versus – thePlatform Syndicated Video Player

This project was a roller coaster ride to say the least. It’s built with thePlatform PDK. We used thePlatform’s component video tools and used their CMS data backend for all the video storage and delivery. thePlatform’s backend data services are very, very powerful, but my past experience with a earlier version of thePlatform’s PDK left me hoping it matured since then. There’s just so much focus on easy it is for anyone to put together a video player with their online tools, but every client/job/project I’ve ever had: we want our own custom touch, we have our own custom needs and we have sWalt (that would be me, the flash developer that we’re paying to do this custom stuff) to code it all.

Sooooo, that being said, the story continues:

Versus thePlatform Video Player

Versus needed some custom features and wanted more control within the player, so we took thePlatform’s PDK and got started. I built the player in Flex Builder 3  as a pure actionscript 3 project and after working closely with thePlatform’s support team, we were able to get their ‘demo’ player up and running.  For the video, we created custom feeds for serving video streams and let the video team handle uploading content.

So using the thePlatform’s “piece-by-piece” video tools, I was able to get a new player up and running pretty quickly, it was getting the Versus requirements all working together that was a challenge. We were ‘strongly recommended’ not to dig into their SWC files to write our own code. So for me, it was playing with black boxes and hoping to figure out the documentation enough to get things working. The only issue was, not only did I not understand why some features were having issues working, thePlatform’s support team couldn’t figure it out. We were able to get new SWC files compiled with ‘fixes’ that in the end, followed the documentation I was working with. After getting the player list, header populating and video running smoothly, we did some custom skinning for the video player (we created some custom visual assets and used external FLA libraries) . The video player supports DART video ads, with a supporting banner ad shown, all within the single SWF. We also have the player sending tracking data to DART and to some custom platform backend tracking fields.

If anyone says ‘use the canvas tools’ to me again, I’ll go nuts. Why? because we were ‘baking’ settings into the single SWF and not using the typical HTML canvas process.

The biggest challenge for this player is that we needed a single SWF, hosted from the Versus CDN to be syndicated out to Versus’s partners. Mainly the yardbarker.com domain and it’s sub-domains. We ran into the typical cross domain issues, both from my test domain and the Versus test domain, no biggie there (after developing in Flash for 10+ years now, the cross domain stuff was easy). Then the issue was, “how can we get custom embed codes for each of our partners that we can trust to actually work?” Sooooo, I created a simple configuration app that the syndication partners can create their own embed codes. The app allows users to choose what categories they want to provide, any configuration options we wanted to allow and the app creates the correct embed code. We were able to get the player launched, have a single SWF on the Versus CDN (which allows us to easily make any needed updates without numerous domains doing anything), get the full power of thePlatform’s backend data feeds and have everyone’s content update as needed. It felt great to make some needed updates after launch and push to the CDN, see the changes filter out and have a beer watching it all come together. Working with the team at Versus (Hi Jack and Neil!) is always a pleasure and it was awesome knowing that your client ‘gets’ it, sees that there are some issues to work out and no: Flash isn’t broken.


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