Youtube your Drupal Site

Having visited both the OSCON 06 Europe and the DrupalCon last week, I have lots new ideas and fresh content to blog. I'll try to post some of the ideas and most interesting sessions the comming week.

From the DrupalCon, the session about how to "youtube your Drupal install", was rather good. From the site: is a drupal site which allows users to upload .mov and .avi video files to the site, convert them to flash video files, and allow users view the videos using a flash video player. This site uses Amazon's s3 service to host the media content.

The approach behind this site was to keep Drupal as stock as possible, utilizing cck, ciews, and upload modules as the primary elements. A secondary script interfaces with drupal to process and move media to the Amazon service.

So what this basically says is:

  • Let users upload video files in different formats
  • Transcode these video's to flash
  • Put the flash videos to an external webservice for cheaper bandwith and storage
  • Create a thumbnail of the video and store this in a browsable gallery
  • Integrate the video into your Drupal site
  • and optional, let the admin or the user manage the content in the normal Drupal way (e.g. add taxonomy or free tagging, rating of content or users etc)

My (current) employer did something like this for a site we host; We use IFRAMES for running the flashplayer (which is so 90ies) and an opensource flashplayer detection, so I hope we didnt charge money for this part of "the player" and it took us 3 weeks to implement it (which was compared to competitors still rather fast) but the project while working isnt finished at all, there is a lot to be done underneath the visable layer!

While using Drupal for this, should have been extreem simple. In fact, there is a "howto" online which a savy Linux administrator / Drupal implementer should be able to implement within 2 days. And it would have been better, since all content is stored at Amazon's S3 service. While I was rather sceptical about using this service as a corporation, I am a Believer now! The terms and conditions are good; one owns the content and can even use encryption so Amazon sysops cantsee it. It does have a high uptime, it is sort of global load-shared (not balanced!), can be bittorrent enabled and EXTREME cheap. Storage costs are $0.15 per GB-Month of storage and bandwith use $0.20 per GB of data transferred. There is no minimum fee, and no start-up cost and all the services need to access the data are open, well documented and have standard implementations to "mount" the S3 service. So yes, I am a big believer when it comes to using services like this, not just for webservices but also for on the fly SAN capacity for office automation, you just cant beat the price!

So the Howto Youtube your Drupal site (like we need another youtube :-) ) descibes

  • how users can upload files using an AJAX form (users can see the progress unlike regular HTTP POSTS),
  • how one should do the automatic transcoding using ffmpeg,
  • how you can move the files to the S3 service with webservices authentication preventing hotlinking the videos,
  • embed the video in a flash player (for example use this or this player,
  • and then embed the content in your Drupal site like any other node. So you can use voring or taxonomy/folksonomy for tagging and searching the video archive as well as generated thumnails
  • .

    All in all this is great stuff and shows the "platform" bit in "Drupal, the best opensource content management platform". He3nce, you can use the platforms capabilities for access control and content management and expand it using videos in just a couple of days, nearly out of the box. You just need to use a set of modules like CCK and for example views. Great stuff and a very good presentation! See this example site on where this Youtubbing your Drupal site will get you!

    There is more information online as well.

    Now a couple of (former) colleagues just quited their job to start selling what they call "the flash player" and I wish them the best of luck. With Drupal being able to do all they want and way more, they will find that this market -while booming- is so commoditized with opensource products like Drupal being able to deliver nearly out of the box, that they will have a hard time selling "the player". But still, best of luck! (you need it! :-) )

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more information on thi session

and this site is using drupal and is a flash community site:

groets, bert boerland


bounty in progress

groets, bert boerland


The above line should read

"The approach behind this site was to keep Drupal as stock as possible, utilizing cck, views..." not ciews