Aug 2, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Coding
Many modern web browsers have early support for the <video> and <audio> elements in the HTML5 spec. Unfortunately, their implementation varies depending on the ideals of the various browser developers. Safari expects video to be encoded in the high-quality H.264 codec, other browsers prefer Ogg Theora. Google is trying to push their own freely-licensed VP8 codec, which Mozilla is showing signs of adopting. Then there’s Internet Explorer, which doesn’t support the <video> element at all.
Thankfully, there’s a way to fairly easily support everything. You can offer HTML5 video in one or more formats and fall back on Silverlight or Flash if necessary.
MediaElement.js allows you to do that with a little bit of jQuery voodoo. After including all of the required files, you can serve-up an H.264 video for Safari and iPhone/iPad users like so:
<video src="myfile.mp4" type="video/mp4" width="640" height="360"></video>
There is also a way to specify more than one video type in the <video> element, if you have re-encoded it into more than one codec:
<video width="640" height="360">
<source src="myfile.mp4" type="video/mp4" >
<source src="myfile.ogg" type="video/ogg" >
<source src="myfile.webm" type="video/webm" >
You will want to check it out if you’re interested in cross-browser compatible web video.
Oct 31, 2008 by Matt | Posted in General
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan on full-Flash websites. They’re not very usable, search engines don’t really like them, and permalinks are near impossible. (There are a select few Flash sites that are just so cool that I can’t help but liking though.) However, there are some cases where Flash is a good idea. Streaming video is a good example. Animated, talking banners ads that fly across your screen are too. Then you have casual web games, and other things I’m sure.
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Sep 15, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
Do you produce podcasts, or otherwise make use of audio files on your website? Here are a few Flash players to enable your listeners to easily stream audio from your server.
JW FLV Media Player
Jeroenwijering’s player is one of the wider-known ones, and one of the first. It plays MP3s, AACs, H264 video, FLV video, and it can even stream video from YouTube. It’s very customizable too. Get it here.
1 Pixel Out Audio Player
This one is very popular among WordPress users. It’s available as a WordPress plugin or as a standalone solution. It’s very compact and simple. Get it here.
Dewplayer is the “new guy.” It’s lightweight and compact. It comes in three versions with varying amounts of buttons. Get it here.
Jul 22, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Design
Earlier this month, Google and Yahoo announced that they will soon begin reading and indexing Flash files. This means that the search engines will be able to read through the content inside a full-Flash website (example) and commit the content to the index, where it will be ranked like any other website.
Flash developers are still celebrating, and I’m sure this is good in some ways, but…
I really don’t like the idea of Flash sites being indexable. People are going to start thinking it’s okay to build entire sites in Flash again, and believe me, we don’t want that. Though they will soon be indexable by search engines, Flash sites still
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Jun 27, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
One thing I’ve found interesting of late is Flash Page Peel Ads. They’re an intriguing form of advertisement. You’ve probably seen them in some form or another by now. In a textbook case, a page with one of the ads on it appears to have a “dog-ear” fold in the upper right corner. When hovered over, the corner peels back to reveal an image, often an ad, underneath. Unobtrusive, and kind of fun to play with.
There have been debates over whether the ads are a good idea or not, though this isn’t really a topic you can go off comments from other people. The web is full of people who would call a single 125×125 ad “annoying” simply because it’s an ad. What do you think of them? Annoying or not? A good rule of thumb when deciding on such matters is “would it bother you if you ran into it on a site you frequent?”
Personally, I think they’re a good idea because they stay out of the way until a user requests further interaction. They’re noticeable, yet can be ignored very easily since they take up so little space on a page. It’s fun to hover over the ad to make it peel open and close too. (Not to mention you have a large ad that can be priced highly, yet takes up little space on the page.)
They’re an interesting concept, though one that’s been earning some bad rep from “Make Money Online” blogs, which I find annoying in themselves, implementing them in annoying and shoddy ways. Personally, I’d like to see this new ad format go into more serious use. They lend to cleaner pages, and they’re kind of fun.
Nov 28, 2007 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
Do you use Macromedia Flash in your websites? While it gets some bad press (SEO and usability-wise), it’s got a lot of good uses. YouTube, and other video-sharing sites, use Flash to play videos. Some sites have Flash-animated logos. A lot of online games are made with Flash.
A common annoyance with Flash “movies” (the term for Flash files) is that they have a static size. While you can scale them by hard-coding pixel values into the embed code, there’s no easy way to have a Flash movie automatically scale itself to fit its parent element.
FitFlash looks like a great library, though I (currently) don’t have much need for it. If you work with Flash a lot, look into FitFlash.