Monday, February 4, 2008
Our Move to Flash
The latest release of DigitalChalk includes many new features. Some of the most important focus on our media player. Accomplishing our technical goals and delivering to you exactly what you have been asking for has been a ton of fun for us. We started on RealPlayer over a year ago now because it was able to handle many different formats and provided support of the SMIL standard for media. The problems soon outweighed the advantages. RealPlayer caused a barrier to entry for our customers because they had to download and install software into their browser. I spoke with RealPlayer because it really did provide exactly what we wanted in a solution that did not corrupt the video stream. They were unwilling to help or change the way that they deliver, so we moved on... I am glad that we did! We have now released our own Flash end to end solution which has been very exciting. The new DigitalChalk Flash Player and DigitalChalk Streaming Server has been a blessing. Our customers can use DigitalChalk without going through a cumbersome install process because 98.8% of internet users already have it installed, and those that don't have it barely notice as it installs for them in most cases. Being forced to write our own Streaming Server technology has been a blessing as well. The ideas coming just from the team and exercise in doing that have been too numerous to count. Users can now upload a video or audio file of almost any format to DigitalChalk and it will be converted to Flash and pushed out to their students. We can dynamically scale to meet demand, do two way communication instead of just push and prepare for some really cool features we are working on right now. One of those features is being able to stream closed captioning of the video and audio files to the students if they choose to see them. The doors have been flung open with this move to Flash and we want to know what you want to see next? What technologies or features would you like to see us incorporate into the flash player or into the learning experience? Who knows, it could open up whole new ways of learning!