Monday, March 1, 2010

HTML 5 video player for mediawiki now with fullscreen support

Michael Dale has been working hard on a new media player for the mediawiki projects. This media player is based on the HTML 5 <video> tag. You can compare it to the demo players of Youtube and Vimeo and DailyMotion. It should support Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome 3, Opera 10.5 and if you install the Xiph QuickTime components it works with Safari 4 for the Mac. If your browser doesn't support HTML5, the player will use the JAVA cortado player, like it does in the old version of the Ogg player.

Recently both Apple and Firefox introduced Fullscreen support for the <video> tag in their development versions of the browsers, and these features can now be used with the new player for Wikimedia. The controls automatically show and hide, and you can even add and display subtitles with it.

How do I test it ?

It is rather easy, you go to this example video. If you want to enable it for all videos, you need to be registered on Wikimedia Commons or the English Wikipedia. You go to your preferences. Then select the "Gadgets" section. Now enable mwEmbed and Save.


The first image shows the player after the page has loaded. The second image shows the options for selecting and authoring subtitles. The third image is a movie with subtitles enabled. There are two modes for subtitles, either underneath the video, or drawn on top of the video.


This kind of work is exactly what was needed for Wikimedia. Focused development of advanced features. As a former VLC media player developer I follow the work with great interest, and occasionally report some problems that I encounter. It may seem easy to develop something like this, but I know how difficult it is and how much issues you need to take into account. This project started in January 2008 and really got going in August 2008. A lot of that time was spent preparing the MediaWiki software for the more advanced, dare I say, Web 2.0 type of functionality. Much of this mostly Javascript related work has gone parallel with the Usability project. Truly a big thank you to the developer Michael Dale and to Kaltura, which is sponsoring this development.

P.S. The work is far from finished of course. I'm sure more refinement is coming, and the authoring of subtitles is only just getting started. Still I find that having it enabled on a daily basis is a positive experience, even with the occasional glitch.


  1. Thanks for the post TheDJ.
    Some notes:
    * if you use the withJS=MediaWiki:MwEmbed.js (instead of the mediawiki gadget name ) then you get a button to "turn on" the gadget at the top of the page.
    * The library is also supported as a stand alone component for use in web sites:

  2. Sorry bad link for library try: