Making a Distributed Storage System

Hardly any project today can avoid storing of a large amount of media objects (video chunks, photos, music, etc).
In our projects, we often needed our storage system to be highly reliable, as loss of content often results in service interruption (I think this is true for most of the projects). Moreover, as the service capacity grows, such characteristics as performance, scalability, manageability, etc., become of key importance.

To enable content storage, you can use different distributed file systems, however each of them obviously has its own upsides and downsides. So selection of an optimum file system is in no way a trivial task. Recently, we have been solving such a task for our Together project, an innovative mobile video content platform to handle user-generated content just like Netflix handles movies. Then, we have started using the platform in other our services, such as: PhotoSuerte to store photos and Veranda to store short videos. In most of our projects, the platform has proven itself efficient. In this post, we would like to tell you how to create a distributed data storage for a video platform. Continue reading

Alternative Audio Tracks in HTML5 Video


A major advantage of HTTP Live Streaming, and it is still unbeaten by any other standard, is that you can use any technology to compose multimedia content. You don’t need expensive media servers to handle media streams. You can easily delegate media composition to some simple PHP / Python / Ruby / Node.js modules. As a long-time Flash lover I was somewhat prejudiced against the Apple’s video delivery standard. But as a developer, every day I use it to solve tasks which have been almost unattainable with the previous stack (or required expensive software). Adobe HDS playlists have been really hard to deal with. Just think of binary data in f4m playlists. They require much more time to develop & debug the solution. MPEG DASH is also far from being intuitive.

In this post, we are going to discuss how to make an alternative audio track for your video. Although HTTP Live Streaming can streamline this task, yet there are some limitations, so you need to make certain hacks on the client side. In our Together project, we had to implement alternate sound tracks for user videos. Luckily, we use HTTP Live Streaming throughout the system. Continue reading

Parallax in iOS Applications


The idea of using the phenomenon of parallax in mobile application design is in no way new. Like many other ideas, parallax was borrowed from the Web design realm, where initially it had been rather popular. Parallax enriches your design with an impressive illusion of depth and space. By now, due to certain encumbrances of Web application development, the fashion for parallax in website design has somewhat subsided. The mobile applications world, however, is quite on the contrary. There the parallax is live and kicking and reluctant to retire. Moreover, it has even become a default home screen in the new iOS 7.

In this post, we are going to tell you of our new DVParallaxView component and show you how to enhance your applications with the parallax effect similar or probably even better than the iOS 7 home screen. Continue reading

The Art of Core Motion in iOS


With emergence of accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer on iPhone devices, new opportunities have opened up before iOS application developers. However, although their APIs have been announced for several years now, not much on them can be found on the Web today. On the one hand, this topic is really not so vast to dedicate a book or series of posts to it. But on the other hand, there are certain specifics and pitfalls you have to be aware of. This post is intended for developers who are willing to befriend accelerometer and gyroscope in the iPhone. Continue reading

How to Design a Video Platform

video platform architecture

In this post, we are going to dwell on the process of video platform design for our Together project. From the technical viewpoint, this project is remarkable by containing the entire content lifecycle, from its creation on mobile devices to distribution and viewing. While designing the platform, we sought to attain solution flexibility and cost-efficiency. With the new video platform you can receive, store and share videos. All video management tasks were implemented on Apple HLS. Continue reading


http streaming hero

Having been involved in the Together project, I was assigned a task to enable Apple HLS video playback on the Flash platform. Video content delivery in a single format (HLS in this case) is usually very easy and offers many benefits. To process video, Flash has an open source OSMF framework that can be easily enhanced with various plugins. But there is one problem: the framework is absolutely HLS-agnostic. Adobe promoted RTMP first, and only then offered HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) as an alternative to Apple HLS. In this post, we’ll cover a free HLS plugin that we have developed to run HLS in OSMF-enabled video players. Continue reading

Push Notifications: Tips and Tricks

push notifications service

Push notifications is a really great mechanism available to all mobile developers (and beyond). With notifications of this type, you can notify users of important events, so that they can respond as quickly as possible, even when the application is not running. Moreover, with this approach you can boost user awareness of your product. In this post, we are going to share our hands-on experience in implementing such functionality in our large-scale projects and provide a number of tips and tricks. Continue reading

Blur Effect in iOS Applications

For any iOS application, interface appearance is a key driver to success. Sleek and elaborate design combined with impressive look and feel of your app, can enhance user experience and add points in favor of your application in the App Store.

How can you best impress the user? Nice appearance can be achieved in many ways, one of them is to apply effects on different parts of the interface and the image as a whole. Among all these, perhaps the most commonly used effect is Blur, and we are going to discuss it in this post. We will tell you how to apply Blur using different frameworks, and also we will experiment a little to benchmark performance of different methods. Continue reading