The Brightcove 3 Platform has more than a million and one things you can build on it. Fact.
Here in the Brightcove Best Practices team we work tirelessly with our publishers and partners to get the most success possible from their online video initiatives.
When developing with the BC3 Platform we've come across our fair share of helper tools that really helped to accelerate the development process. I want to share with you 3 of my favourites.
Please note these 3 tools are all made to be used by the Firefox web browser. Today Firefox has one of the best browser plugin extension models on the market (like Brightcove!) and, somewhat more importantly, has one of the best plugin developer communities (like Brightcove!) - net effect is there are realllllllly helpful tools out there to accelerate you towards your goals.
The Brightcove Player architecture is Adobe Flash based. Its extensible BEML plugin architecture can accept any number and type of custom modules built using ActionScript 3. This is great news for people really wanting to push the boundaries of the video consumption and interaction paradigms.
One problem that has plagued Flash from its inception is its lacking debugging model. You compile the SWF, you put that onto your website, you run it and you Trace Trace Trace. Usually via visual tracing pop up dialogues.
Enter Flash Tracer from Alessandro Crugnola at sephiroth.it. Simply put a great tool that allows you to watch the Flash Debug trace real time beside the page as it loads up.
It's invaluable for anybody looking to develop a Brightcove 3 custom player component and/or plugin.
Download it here: http://www.sephiroth.it/firefox/flashtracer/
This is another one from Alessandro at sephiroth.it which works very well with Flash Tracer.
Just like web browsers, Flash has a wide spectrum of player versions out in the wild. At the time of writing you can get anything from Flash Player v184.108.40.206 up to v10.0.22.87
On top of which you have debugging versions of each. Making sure your SWF runs across all necessary versions can be a headache as you have to un/re/install the different versions to test.
Add to that the hassle of running the debug version of a Player for standard browser usage and it quickly becomes impractical due to all the errors it throws up during everyday browsing.
Flash Switcher lets you download each version of a Flash Player, keep them in an isolated directory and switch them real time via a toggle in Firefox - nothing short of brilliant. No need to un/re/install all the various version of Flash to test your SWF.
It does take a little bit of a set up, and you need keep the Flash versions up to date yourself but once up and running it is invaluable.
You can download it here: http://www.sephiroth.it/firefox/flash_switcher/
Charles HTTP Proxy
More often then not when it comes to custom integrations we need to look under the hood of the Brightcove engine to see how clear are the lines of communication between custom components and the BC3 platform.
This means watching the chatter between various platforms and there's nothing better then using Charles for this tool. It is a standalone app available for all platforms and comes with a Firefox plugin that allows you to watch with a great degree of granularity exactly what calls, and responses are being made from the various applications that makes up your technical architecture.
Especially useful when seeing what happens between Brightcove and your Ad Server or Analytics Server.
You can download Charles application and Firefox extension here: http://www.charlesproxy.com/download/
These are just 3 tools that we use daily here in Brightcove. Others to check out are
- Firebug (Defacto web development tool for Firefox)
- EditPlus 3 (Great text and code Editor)
- Aptana Studio (Fantastic software development IDE)
Let us know if you have any great tools that help accelerate your Brightcove 3 development efforts!