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Dec 26 2010

What’s been happening with VideoMonkey?

It’s been a long time since anything has been going on with the project, so I thought it was high time to get out some news. Truth is, I’ve been really busy at work and haven’t had time for Video Monkey lately.

But I’ve gotten a new drive to get more encoders into Video Monkey. The code is not in great shape for adding encoders. For one thing commands.xml, the file that contains all the rules and JavaScript code for telling the encoders what to do, is in dismal shape. So I went back to the drawing board.

First, I wanted to get a new version of FFMPeg, the heart of the encoding system. The version in use is ancient and is missing many bug fixed and a few features. You’d think it was easy to get the latest command line utility, but it is far from it. First of all, any version that is available online is either too old, doesn’t have all the needed encoders, or is linked with shared libraries. So I’ve been working at building my own version, which is another mountain to climb.

FFMPeg needs many support libraries some of which are really hard to build. This is the dark side of Open Source Software. You have to depend on the whims of those willing to do the work. For many those whims can be very fickle. Just look at Video Monkey, it has been stale for the last several months because it sole developer (me) was busy with other things. I am happy to be able to use the great work others. These libraries are outstanding and crucial to Video Monkey. I just wish some were easier to build and use.

My initial hope was to make a script that would build all the support libraries and then build ffmpeg. But that is too difficult at this time. So I’ve settled for just getting something to build. And I’ve succeeded at getting version 0.6.1 (the latest at time of this writing), working with the latest support libraries. I hope it works better and is an asset to Video Monkey moving forward.

Next, I wanted commands.xml to be easier to use. I think I’ve got  that, too. I am now using the latest ffpresets files, so H.264 (MP4) output should be better and faster. I’ve also made some improvements to the JavaScript interface. So I hope I am now set to write some new encoders! Look for encoders that output MP4 encoded video. After that I will look at how to encode to FLV, WMV and others. I might even be able to add MKV output (although I dislike the format strongly)!