Vertov - Why not using the videolan-plugin?


Without even using Vertov (lack of time), I think I should ask an important question.
Why didn't you use the excellent firefox-plugin of the vlc-player. It's open-source, it plays back virtually everything, it installs easily cross-platform. It is highly configurable (beyond anything qt offers, afaik). The installation does not require the bulky installation of quicktime.
This would even allow you to annotate dvds from within the browser (which, to my knowledge makes more sense than annotating files, when it comes to films).


  • jvlc is neat and might be the answer to the Linux side of things... but may only be Linux-based (very likely only, as it'll make native interface calls to do it right, which is also what quicktime does, but limited to mac/win).

    Keep in mind that we're not using a quicktime plugin, we're using native access to a video playing widget library (provided via quicktime) from within a higher language. The VLC plugin looks like it's pretty well rounded (although I daresay quicktime has a better market penetration). Video playing plugins were considered, in general, but would end up requiring any additional interface to be written in javascript, which was the primary reason for using Java and players within Java.

    The choice of quicktime was because that's in popular use and works very well. I can assure you I'll be giving jvlc a real hard look for addition to the linux players, for exactly the same reason.

    I'm not sure what you mean about annotating files. Vertov will annotate any video/audio it recognizes (and the addition of new media players for it is pluggable, meaning it can support both quicktime and jvlc, in theory... although at that point I'd probably split the distributions)
  • @mheim I downloaded the vlc plugin but still am not able to load a DVD in my browser. Are you sure it's possible with vlc?
  • @erazlogo
    Yes, I am quite sure (Works for me). Simply copy the following into an HTML-file
    <embed type="application/x-vlc-plugin"
    autoplay="yes" loop="yes" width="400" height="300"
    target="dvdsimple://" />

    On correctly authored dvds this should bring up the film. Otherwise there are options to bring up a specific stream, subtitle, audiostream, etc.
    You might need to play a dvd in the vlc player first, so that the program knows which drive to use for dvds, but it should work.

    Having read sthiel's answer to my question, I realized that you do not actually use the quicktime plugin, but rather use quicktime inside java.
    Since I am actually working on a phd in cinema, I would gladly welcome a zotero-plugin like Vertov. Esp. linking articles and notes to passages in films seems like a dream come true. There are a couple of things that bother me about the solution however, most of them technical.
    1. I use dvds, not files. And on top of this, I have not yet figured out how to open avis or mpegs inside firefox on windows, the quicktime plugin only comes up when opening mov (I somehow doubt that qt on windows supports avi).
    2. My zotero database is big enough as it is, the addition of movies would make it impossible for me to keep backups of multiple versions.
    3. java and quicktime

    The way I see it, the current functionality of Vertov could easily be implemented in javascript with vlc. The plugin would instantly give you additional functionality, like fullscreen playing, dvds, in fact every format imaginable.
  • edited March 26, 2008
    @mheim Thanks for your comments. DVD support and annotating of files stored outside of zotero are planned. The latter should solve your storage issue. We'll look into your vlc-related suggestions.

    In the meantime, we added over 50 file formats to Vertov--it can now support any QuickTime compatible file on Windows and Mac, including flvs on Macs with Perian installed.
  • There's more than just being "able to do something" involved in the choices of language or utility. I could probably write vertov in a dozen languages. However, a language that is strongly typed and provides better tools for automated testing, has more mature IDEs and more powerful libraries, has lower risk and will be easier to maintain (and can probably be done more quickly). There are probably lots more reasons as well, but I'd like to actually hear someone back up the suggestion of the use of javascript besides providing vague notions of how easy they think it would be (java runtime environments are pervasive). The more advanced Vertov becomes, the more leverage will be had from using a higher level language.

    Many people have been suggesting that I use this player or that player. Vertov will support any player supported in java, and new players can be added in without actually changing Vertov's guts, meaning some movies could play with QT, and some with vlc.

    Just like Quicktime has QTJ, which is currently the only player being used, vlc has jvlc, which will be added as needed (probably for all of linux, but perhaps exclusively linux). If I'd developed with jvlc, everyone who primarily uses quicktime (a larger number of the target audience) would have complained in that direction. Eventually vertov will probably support both, and probably a few other players.

    1) QT on windows supports pretty much everything supported on mac (I've heard mixed feedback about dvd playing, and there's no Perian for windows), and what firefox will open has nothing to do with what vertov will open (vertov opens 50 or so different formats right now, and checks against (among other things) a Zotero item's url field).

    2) Vertov doesn't require a local copy to be stored to play something, although it will download and play from a temporary file.
  • For point 2, you want Vertov to run independently of Zotero? Technically it does, but there's no alternative to storing the annotations when Zotero's not around, so it effectively tries to store it in a non-existant system.

    Vertov standalone system has been flagged as low priority.
  • edited March 26, 2008
    Yup, it's possible to annotate files stored outside of Zotero--see instructions.

    So if your media file doesn't open in Firefox but you still want to store and annotate it in Zotero, you can import it into Zotero by dragging it over a parent item, then paste into the URL field of the parent item the path to the copy of your file in the Zotero storage system.
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