Blogs

Drupal Multimedia Book Announcement at Drupal.org

So I just made a formal announcement of the pending publication of Drupal Multimedia to Drupal.org, which was promoted to the front page of d.o!

What a fun and nerve-wracking task that was. Trying to distill several months of work into a small list. Tweaking every word to make sure it's right. Then even in the end, realizing I'd made the post in third person, but left my signature in first.

But this is nothing compared to the book! We've just started the editing process, and it's really great, seeing the words from the first chapter I wrote months ago, and having to face the reality of their obsolescence. I knew taking on the project that I wanted to write the book for Drupal 6, which didn't even exist at the time. So the first half of the book was speculative in a very real sense; few of us knew in October what merlinofchaos had planned for Views 2!

That's what the editing process is for though. We're making sure the book is relevant for Drupal 6. (And I'm trying to keep in the necessary parts to ensure it's still useful for those still using Drupal 5, even if those are relegated to hint and tip boxes.)

It's amazing how far Drupal has come over the years. That we can devote an entire book to integrating multimedia into Drupal is a testament to that. When the book is finally in your hands, I hope reading it will be as helpful for your continued learning as writing it has been for mine.

Though my next book might simply be a blog...

Wii Couldn't Help it...

So Lullabot just bragged on Drupal, rightfully so. I was thinking, "Well of course, they can handle 20k comments in 24hrs... Drupal is scalable!" Still, it's nice to see that in action.

DrupalWii

Of course, as my family and I finally broke down and got a Wii this summer, the first video gaming experience my wife has finally admitted to liking, I had to go and enter the contest for a Wii Fit.

Of particular interest to me, although admittedly off on a tangent for this example, is that I've just finished writing the last chapter to Drupal Multimedia (available in September!), where I pontificate a bit about the future of multimedia handling in Drupal. And I just had to bring the Wii into the fray.

I believe that just around the corner, we'll see tactile media become of interest to the Web. And of course, once something's available for the Web, there will quickly be a dozen related modules making use of it for DrupalWii. Second Life is already showing the way to 3D navigation; once we have touch, for which the Wii is an early adopter with its control stick "rumbling", we'll be on the fast track to virtual reality on the web.

I already now have an excuse to do some occasional QA on the Wii, or Second Life for that matter, even without that, since they both use the Opera browser...

And sorry about the pun, wii couldn't help it... ;)

Embedded Media Field a Media Essential

Embedded Media Field has grown exponentially in the last year since I've begun developing it. From its humble beginnings as a brainstorming session at DrupalCampNYC last spring, it has grown from a quirky method of make embedding YouTube videos easier for editors to a full-featured suite of modules allowing for drag-and-drop placement of third party videos, images, and audio clips.

Used on a wide range of sites, such as Air America, NRDC, and Drupal Dojo, the module is a flexible and powerful solution for embedding multimedia.

Read on for its strengths and weaknesses...

Playlist Sorting at Air America Radio

Advomatic just launched a new feature for Air America's player. Users are able to create their own play lists of favorite audio and video clips, and sort them in their preferred order.

To see this functionality in action, you'll need to go to the Air America site, and create a user account. After doing so, launch their player, by pressing on the big Listen Live button on the top left of every page.

Add two or three audio clips by pressing the "+" next to a clip, then go to the video tab and do the same thing.

Finally, go to the Playlist tab. Here, you can click and drag clips to sort them as desired. Go ahead. It's all saved, which you can confirm by going to another tab, logging out, logging back in, etc.

Site recipe follows!

YouTube API Sneak Peek!

As referred to in YouTube API for Drupal on the Way, beeradb has now opened the YouTube API module for development. He and I have been working to polish it up and make it ready for release.

You can take a look at the YouTube search on this site if you want to try it out! You can currently search YouTube for tags or users from the form, and see the results right here.

Obviously, that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are some cool things planned for it in the near term, such as integration with Media Mover, Embedded Media Field, and yes, Rob, I haven't forgotten about Annotation Field...

And of course, the holy grail of single site integration of a YouTube video upload from your browser...

YouTube API for Drupal on the Way!

I blogged briefly recently about YouTube's new and improved API. Soon thereafter, there was a flurry of discussion about creating a Google Summer of Code project to integrate it with Drupal, including a proposal that wasn't accepted, but I believe nothing further happened from that point.

Until now.

Brad Bowman (beeradb) has stepped up to the plate and created a YouTube API wrapper. He hasn't released it yet, though he indicated that he plans to early next week. I have had the honor of an early review, and it is nice to work with.

I set it up on a test server, and was able to upload a video to its file directory and have it also uploaded to YouTube, showing up in my user account almost immediately. The API also let me view my YouTube video user feed, so I could verify the results without leaving my site.

Additionally, when retrieving videos, you have access to everything stored at YouTube with that video, including video duration (as shown in the screen shot), description, and user comments.

Read on, anxious reader...

Future of Drupal FTP

On IRC, Károly Négyesi (better known as chx) asked me about the status of the Drupal FTP project. He was concerned that it stores FTP usernames and passwords, which could open up the possibility for security holes and malware if extended or used improperly. Additionally, one of its stated goals was as a possible means to automatically download and install modules on one's site, which is also a stated goal for the Plugin Manager Summer of Code project.

At first, I said that I would remove the project entirely, as I hadn't worked on it in over a year, and had no intention of continuing development in the near future. Even at that time, although I saw the possibility for using it to install modules on your site, I wasn't really that interested in pursuing that aspect, as I really didn't want to get into the security issues involved.

However, I decided to post to the Developer's list first, to get further feedback before removing the project. I had had a few queries regarding the project over the past year, and suspected that there might be some developers actually using it. Additionally, I wanted to find out if there were any compelling reasons to actually keep the module in the project repository.

Turns out to have been a good thing, it looks like. Not only are there a few people actually using the module, I was reminded of other efforts to use FTP with Drupal, most notably Media Mover and, of course, the upcoming Plugin Manager module.

Read on...

5 Second Game Widget Mock-Up

Here is a rough mock-up for a widget for the upcoming 5 Second Game Drupal module that Morbus Iff and I are developing.

It doesn't do anything yet, but check back soon...

Basically, this mock-up is for one of several planned widgets that are meant to be embedded in blogs and other posts. As a user of the game, you would post a widget featuring your character (at the bottom), and other people viewing the widget could fight your character, using an anonymous character, or logging in and using their own.

Read on for more details...

No More Teasers!

I just read We don't need no Pagination, which describes a technique to replace the read more of a page with an automatic page loader for the next section. I think this could easily be done in Drupal, maybe as a plug-in for Views and teasers.

As a start, I could easily envision teasers automatically loading the rest of the content on mouse hover. Or a page view loading the next batch of results when scrolled to the bottom. Probably other uses as well, although they might be more theme/site specific.

Is there already something that does this? If not, I'll probably start a new project for it. Maybe something like Automatic Page Loader or something...

Aaron's Project Plans in June

This list is partly to inform interested others of my personal Drupal plans this month, partly to get feedback, and partly as a reminder for myself when I see my blog. The order is roughly in order of priority for me. We'll see how it actually pans out...

  • Finish writing Drupal Multimedia! (I've finished 10 of 12 chapters, so I'm on the home stretch...)
  • Upgrade Embedded Media Field to Drupal 6. (There are several folks working on this, who have been instrumental in current progress.)
  • Write the engine for 5 Second Game. (Morbus Iff has jumped on board as a co-developer, helping to ensure the highest quality for this fun project!)
  • Expand GetID3 functionality. (Thanks to Rob Loach for his ideas and push to get that going. The next stage of development for this is to create an API to better handle Metatag storage.)
  • Make a tutorial for XSPF Playlist + Views recipe. (I just finished writing an awesome tutorial for this in the book, but want to make a video tutorial available, probably for Drupal Dojo.)

There are other projects on the back-burner I'd like to get to as well, such as upgrading some of the other modules I work on, creating official releases, etc. I plan to revise this list next month, and see where things are.

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The Society for Venturism has chosen me as the recipient of its charity for this year, to hopefully offer me cryonic preservation when the time comes. And this month, Longecity, an excellent forum for the discussion of issues related to extending the lifespan of humans, has offered up a matching grant of up to a thousand dollars to help out! So help out! Please.