Thursday, September 13, 2007

Embedding a Flash-based media player

I've been searching for some kind of easy-to-implement Content Management System for my music catalog. Being a bit of a geek, I've tried to put a few things together in the past: a simple SQL database (more complex than it first seems), a PHP-based catalog system (freeware is never very flexible), and none of them really worked very well.

My latest idea is to simply use an embedded Flash player with a list of URL's to play. Scouring Google, I found Jeroen Wijering's player available under a Creative Commons license. It was a cinch to download, and install on my server (simply copy the files over with WinSCP). Jeroen has a handy config utility that allowed me to customize a few options in the player, and simply paste his code into mine.

There was only one "trick" to getting it all together: generating the XML file that his player uses to create a playlist. I tried a few products, but ended up using a trial version of Tristana Writer. Tristana's product was interesting because it would scan an existing web page, and create an XML file based on it's structure. I had some minimal editing to do after it's scan, but within ten minutes, had uploaded an XML file of my music catalog, and the player was working.

Photo by Flickr's blinked.