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Playing With The New COVE API

by David Dickinson, Online Manager at Wisconsin Public Television

WPT recently updated our homepage video player. The old player was pulling only local productions, displayed nothing if the user didn’t have Flash installed (looking at you, iOS) and consisted of a 21-step process including FTPing and editing an XML file. Yuck.

Moving forward, we hoped to make use of the COVE API to pull in national programs to promote. We also wanted to build a lightweight CMS to update the player, adding features such as scheduling to make it easier for the folks keeping content up to date.

We’ve been contracting backend work with a fantastic developer, Chester Lee. Chester was able to download and parse the COVE SMIL file to extract program info which we store in our database. We’re able to write descriptions for both local and national video, schedule new videos to appear at a given time, and more. The player itself is the JW player, modified to include playlist functionality and be more consistent with our design. It’s HTML5 compatible, so when COVE content supports it our iOS users will be able to watch video. Currently those users see a promotion for watching our content in the PBS iPad app, with a link to the app store.

You can check out a screenshot of the admin here: http://imgur.com/ofOKh
Please let me know if you’re interested in learning more or taking a peek at our code. Feel free to leave your comments below.

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