CXO

Scratching an Itch

In the wonderful world of software it is unlikely that your next big idea is original. In the modern world of collaborative development over the Web it's also likely that someone has belted out some code for it too.

In the wonderful world of software it is unlikely that your next big idea is original. In the modern world of collaborative development over the Web it's also likely that someone has belted out some code for it too.

Recently I've been pondering the idea of a "Youtube Jukebox" that would play all the clips you want in a playlist, hopefully fullscreen and preferably without the Youtube controls. Then I took it one step further and decided it would be an even better idea to be able to use any flash video source (Google Video, Yahoo Video, or MySpace for instance) and also use local video as well.

I had an itch, but was hoping someone else had had it too and it was already scratched.

Much searching around the Web was done but I was dismayed to find nothing. I asked people about whether they had heard of a similar application, all said no but agreed it was a good idea. Surely somewhere on the great heaving mass of the Web, someone had made this application — someone who was less lazy, more savvy and quicker on the uptake than I.

But alas.

Then I stumbled across it — Democracy player. It's everything that I had imagined and more.

I cannot recommend this player highly enough. When Democracy first appeared I took a look and it's fair to say that I didn't "get it", I couldn't see its niche. At that time though, I had yet to build the computer hooked up to my TV.

One of the great features is that you can search a number of video sources from within Democracy and it will download and play the video. After messing around with a number of browser plugins to download flv videos, the fact that it just works is brilliant. If you do not tell Democracy to keep the file, it will automatically delete the files after a number of days.

Technically it is very interesting, Democracy is built on top of XULRunner, Mozilla's XUL runtime environment, and for playback uses VLC on Windows/OS X or xine-lib on Linux.

My one suggestion would be to dispose of xine on Linux and use gstreamer — but seeing that this is my own personal xine prejudice getting in the way, it's my problem and if it's really that big, I should solve it.

Thanks to Democracy, once more I am a happy camper. Not only do I have a program that suits my needs perfectly, but it is Free and based upon a technology that I had not seen running beyond Mozilla's own applications in any detail. It's everything a neotechnophile could ask for.

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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