Updated media tagging
We intend on releasing updates to our official add-ons to add support for tagging.
As with XenForo 1.5 there are two possible positions for displaying tags. The top position in the gallery is just below the media title:
And the bottom position is just below the media, controls, and author information:
Adding / editing tags works in exactly the same way:
And they also appear in the same way as they do on threads:
There are some permissions relating to the ability to tag media which are similar to the permissions for thread tagging. In addition to a moderator permission that allows managing the tags of any media:
It is also possible to specify a minimum number of tags to be required for media on a per category basis or globally specify a minimum number of tags to be added to media in albums.
When upgrading to XenForo Media Gallery 1.1, we will automatically transfer the tagged content to the new system.
One of our most popular suggestions is to allow the uploading of videos. This is switched off by default, but it can be set, like the other media types, on a per category basis, with permissions to allow it to be used in Albums.
The main concern with handling video uploads is one of compatibility, various pre-requisites and your server's ability to actually be able to handle the process. The solution we have implemented has been designed to ensure most of these concerns are mitigated in some way.
The good news is, this feature doesn't actually require any pre-requisites to be installed to be used in a basic way. Out of the box once you have set up permissions and some other options (see below) you can start uploading videos.
Once a video is uploaded we attempt to ascertain whether or not it should play in most modern browsers without the need to transcode it (typicaly this would be a H264 video and MP3/AAC audio). If it can't be, this error is shown:
This really gives the ability to very easily support video uploads for what is probably becoming the most prevalent video format, straight out of the box without any configuration.
However, this does lack some desirable features. Aside from not being able to transcode, by default generating a thumbnail from the video isn't supported either. This is where FFMPEG comes in.
FFMPEG is a cross platform solution used to convert audio and video formats. Setting this up should be simple. It should just be a case of downloading the binary files supported by your server OS and specifying the path in the options.
By default, providing the path to the FFMPEG binary doesn't actually enable anything. There are two things it can be used for. It can be used to generate video thumbnails. So, even without enabling the ability to transcode videos, you can, at least, allow thumbnails to be generated automatically from the supported videos you upload.
FFMPEG can also be used to transcode videos to a supported format when required. Given the same WMV file that caused an error above, this will now upload successfully:
The video library used to actually display the uploaded videos, VideoJS, is actually included in the XenForo 1.5 package so it can be used for other uses if you wish.
Of course transcoding a video isn't a quick process, but the process is completely transparent to the end user. When saving media which includes some video that needs to be transcoded, a notice is displayed briefly notifying them that their media needs to be processed.
As you can see from the options in the screenshot above, you specify the path to your PHP binary and you set a limit to control how many videos will be processed at once. When a video requires processing we add it to the queue. Once the videos start processing, we defer this process to the command line which is then handled by the aforementioned PHP binary. This avoids various limits such as max_execution_time.
Once the processing is complete, the user receives an alert:
Similarly if the process fails, for any reason, the user will receive another alert and an exception will be logged with more details in the Server Error Log.
As you would expect, there are options relating to the maximum file size and supported file extensions in the options in the new Video Options tab on the Gallery Options page.
Redesigned "Add Media" page
The first change is mostly aesthetic in nature in that it serves to slightly simplify the interface when adding media:
We now hide certain elements on the page unless they are selected, e.g. the album drop down and the image upload URL field. We've also removed the rather sizeable block of quota details into a more subtle banner which includes the full quota details in an overlay.
The biggest changes, however, are slightly more functional in nature. Rather than the familiar grid format, when you are adding media, each media item now has its own row:
Each media item being added can be expanded to reveal some additional options:
This has enabled us to implement another one of the more popular suggestions which is to allow media to be tagged and have custom fields populated while the media is being added. We don't automatically show all custom fields when media is being added. The specific ones shown are controlled on a per-field basis:
There is also a new option to set a field as "required" thus ensuring a field has to be populated if it is shown.
The changes to the add media form also extend to the edit media form, which is now also where custom fields are edited when adding media. When editing media, all custom fields applicable to the category/album will be shown.
This one is mostly self explanatory - when a moderator is editing or deleting media, albums or comments they also have the ability to send an author alert.
Sorting and Filtering
We have redesigned the media/album index pages so that the sorting and filtering controls are somewhat more subtle and simpler to use:
We have replaced the tabs with menus which should allow a more consistent appearance on various devices with different styles. The sort options are the same as you're used to, just accessed from the menu instead of clicking on a tab.
We have added an additional filter option too:
In addition to being able to filter down to media in categories/albums only, you can also filter down to a specific type of media.
This HYS thread actually concludes everything we have to tell you about XenForo Media Gallery 1.1. All that's left to do now is to install a preview of the new version here... soon!