Big improvements on S3Media Stream for Joomla!

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S3Media Stream is a powerful tool to publish private streaming video and audio with S3 CloudFront on Joomla sites. We are happy to announce big improvements on this extension. So far, it worked with a module to display the rich media. Like its WordPress version, it also has protected download links for all sorts of files. This is useful for paid subscriptions where members can download documentation, video, audio, applications and so fort. For a full explanation about what the extension can do, go to www.footprintaddons.com. At the bottom of this article, you will find a list of features.

A modules is nice, but a plugin is better

The advantage of modules is that you can put them on any position in your Joomla site and with a small work around, you can place them in articles as well. The disadvantage is that if you have many videos or audios, you need to create a lot of modules. Quite a few users  complained about this, so it was time to improve the production flow.

Therefore, we enhanced the extension with a plugin to add videos, audios, eLearning projects and download links directly into the articles.  This speeds up production time considerably. With this plugin, adding hundreds of videos is no problem at all.

plugin-interfaceWith an insert button in the article editor you get a popup with the same  fields as in the module.
Once you filled in everything, you click on Insert and the shortcode is placed in the article.  If you forgot something to add, you can adapt the shortcode in the article directly. The shortcode is easy to understand,  making changes by hand is therefore simple and straightforward.

We kept the module feature in case you want to place a related video or audio next to an article, for instance.

Default settings

We also added a whole range of default settings, so that you do not need to fill in everything from scratch for each new media.
For instance, you may want all videos/audios to show up with the same width and height on your site, just set the default options and you do not need to fill those in per instance.
The more default  settings you fill in, the easier it becomes to add rich media. You can override the default settings per instance, so if there is an exception, you fill in the changes on the spot.

Playlists

We replaced the related playlist with a regular playlist because the new version of JW player supports regular playlists in HTML5 mode.  This means that you can have playlists on iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices.  This is not possible with related playlists, alas. If this changes in the future, we will add the related playlist option on top of the regular playlist. Related playlists can link to any page, whereas a regular playlist remains on the same page, showing the selected video or audio. Both are useful in their own way, so we hope to be able to offer them next to each other at some point.

Analysis tool

Some users have problems setting up their S3 Amazon details.  The new analysis tool runs a check on those settings and checks if the required php librairies are installed. If something is wrong, the tool will help pinpointing eventual problems.

A new site: Footprint Add-Ons

We pride ourselves on giving premium support, especially on configuring the S3 Amazon/CloudFront account. Therefore we setup a brand new site with a forum, FAQs, and manuals that explain setups per case.  So far, we had a full manual with all the features, now we have split it up in the following manuals:

  • Preparations upfront
  • Component settings
  • Default plugin settings
  • Shortcode list
  • How to setup progressive download videos
  • How to setup progressive download audios
  • How to setup private streaming videos
  • How to setup private streaming audios
  • How to setup a protected download link
  • Full manual with all the features

On top of that, you are entitled to one-to-one support if you run into unexpected problems.
In some cases we arrange a Skype call if your problem cannot be solved by email.  Both S3Media stream for Joomla and WordPress have an excellent reputation regarding support and we plan to keep it that way.

We also provide articles on how to create playlists, subtitle/captions files and other useful articles related to CloudFront and JW player.  These are freely available to everyone http://www.footprintaddons.com/news-articles, the support section itself is restricted to customers.

Rewritten from scratch

To make those changes, we had to rewrite the extension from scratch.  Anton Skvortsov from starlingwebdevelopment.com did a wonderful job on this.
S3Media Stream version 5.8 is compatible with Joomla 1.5, 1.7 and 2.5.  We intend to keep supporting  Joomla 1.5 because some sites have a complicated structure with lots of extensions, so it is not evident to upgrade so easily. However, if you have already an older version of S3Media Stream without the plugin on your Joomla 1.5 site, you will lose the existing modules you created. We apologize for that, but there was no way to preserve the module as it was. Therefore, if you have already many modules, best keep the version you currently have.

List of features:

  • Public and private progressive download videos and audios.
  • Public and private streaming video and audio.
  • Play external videos from YouTube and other sites(Vimeo is not possible).
  • Playlists for streaming video and audio, progressive downloads, Youtube and other media not located on S3 Amazon.
  • Subtitles/Captions for subtitling of Closed Captions behavior
  • HD switching to jump automatically to a HD version of a video or a high quality audio when the visitor clicks on Full screen.
  • Watermark with a link to any page. This can be placed on audios as well.
  • Skins (HTML5 compatible) to change the look of the player.  You can even create your own.
  • Poster image to set as a poster for the video.  This can be placed on audios as well.
  • HTML5 Fall back switches to html5 when a non Flash browser is detected.
  • Protected download links are temporary links to any document/file type for download or view.
  • AdSolutions channel which shows ads from the AdSolutions network of LongtailVideo, to create extra revenue.
  • Start/duration gives the option to start playing anywhere within a video of audio

Back to top

The extension ships with a commercial license of JW player.  You do not need to install JW player separately.  Existing owners of a license for JW player get a discount.
Here is a link to the possible subscription plans: http://www.footprintaddons.com/buy-subscribe/buy-s3media-components
Plans include a full year subscription to support and updates.  Customers who wish to renew their plan can do so at a considerable discount.

What about S3Media Stream for WordPress?

Behind the scenes, we are already working on an improved version of s3Media Stream for WordPress. We are streamlining both Joomla and WordPress so that is becomes easier to switch between platforms.  Currently, there are quite a few differences between both versions.  See a comparison list below (we show only the differences):

S3Media Stream™ Joomla! WordPress
Placing rich media directly in articles:
Wizards to place media:

1

4

Preview of media:
HD switching:
AdSolutions:
Regular Playlist:
Related playlist:
Analysis tool:

Modular placement of media:

Repeat play automatically:

Some of the differences will remain, due to the nature of the CMS involved. WordPress does not have modules, for instance. The preview will disappear in the WordPress version once there is a wizard directly in the post/page editor. You can preview articles just as easily and it will show all the features which is not the case with the current preview.

The Joomla version has a better readable shortcode, making it easier to adapt videos directly in the article.  With the WordPress version, we made the mistake to want to keep the shortcode literally short.  we thought it would improve production, but it actually does not, because the order of attributes is important, while with the Joomla version, order does not matter. So, we plan to improve that as well. We expect to ship version 5.9 in July. This version won’t be compatible with previous versions, but we will provide a tool to translate old shortcode to new shortcode, so that you do not need to start all over again.

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