Flash Forward Video

These are just some quick notes on Lisa Larson’s talk at the Flash Forward event in September. She has been playing around with Flash Media Server for the last few versions and was showing some of the new stuff in version 3.

 The main gist of the talk gave some of the benefits of using FMS3 and showed how interactive apps could be set up quite easily. The use of RTMP rather than HTTP allows a socket connection to the back end. The server can have shared objects that may be updated by either/all of the connections to it, so that the other connection get an event for the update as well. This could be used for games where players are interacting with each other; it could also be used to update the stats display if the viewers are watching a live match. The scripting in the server is still Actionscript v1, so is quite ancient. The FMS server is quite restricted in what you can do, although it now allows plugins written in C++. As well as shared objects, the software has access to camera and microphone as well so there are some interesting apps coming out. Perhaps the use of an Air app would make things even more flexible; the ability to save pictures to disc, to do recordings etc.

She showed a few examples of sites using it well,

eyejot.com, userplane.com (now AOL), scrapblog.com, huddle.com, iFoxCam.com (which is a remote monitor for a web cam)

A couple of hosting providers were mentioned,

Influxis and UVault

 Alternative servers could be a better option. The commercial ones mentioned were WowzaMediaServer and ElectroServer (more for games). The open source equivalent would be either Red5 which has a Java backend, or haXeVideo which is a lightweight video server.

Her code will be at flashconnections.com. The talk is now on lynda.com.  

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