Burnstation Plumi Updates

Introducing the Burnstation project

EngageMedia and Unweb have started development work on a prototype of a Burnstation module for Plumi. This module will allow a Plumi system to burn DVDs of videos from its collection.

Derived from the concept behind the original audio based Burnstation that provides disc burning systems in public places, the intention of this Plumi module is to facilitate distribution of video content to areas where Internet connections may not support streaming video online, or provide additional distribution options.

The Burnstation module will allow someone using a Plumi based system to select a list of videos and burn them to a DVD. At first we are producing a prototype system that will demonstrate the feasibility of taking a selection of Plumi hosted videos and producing an ISO format DVD image that can be burnt to disc using any standard disc production software. While the prototype will perform the bare minimum functions required, the final version will include a streamlined interface, total disc size checking and more.

We will produce further blog entries about the Burnstation project to capture the decisions we make during design & implementation of the prototype. Watch this space!

Burnstation Code and Documentation Plumi Updates

Burnstation Prototype – Design decisions relating to DVDs

When first envisaged for Plumi, the Burnstation module was to produce either VCD or DVD format discs for distribution. During the design of the prototype, it was decided to focus solely on DVD format discs for the following reasons:

  • DVD is more popular than VCD and more people are likely to have DVD players than VCD players
  • DVDs use mpeg2 encoding providing a higher quality and more compressed file than the mpeg1 encoding used by VCDs
  • No need to ask the user to select VCD or DVD

The Burnstation prototype will take video files that have been mpeg2 encoded by the transcode daemon (as normal), convert them to VOBs and then produce a DVD ISO file using the tovid utility.

The restriction to solely produce DVD format discs will also need to be reassessed. Research is required to determine whether the VCD platform is still common in Indonesia and other parts of Asia or whether it has been replaced by DVD players and is no longer required.

Burnstation Code and Documentation Plumi Updates

Preview Information about Installing & Using the Burnstation Prototype

As part of the Burnstation prototype’s package we’ll be including a README.TXT that provides:

  • Instructions for installing the Burnstation prototype’s components on a Plumi system
  • How to use the Burnstation prototype
  • Instructions for installing the Burnstation prototype’s components on a Plone system (without Plumi installed)

A preliminary copy of the README.TXT file is available for you to review on the Burnstation section of the Plumi Wiki. This is a sneak preview for you to review but we do not recommend installing the Burnstation prototype as it is not yet ready to be deployed into the wild.

Click here to view the preliminary copy of the Burnstation prototype’s README.TXT file,

Burnstation Code and Documentation Plumi

Burnstation Prototype is Ready for Testing

EngageMedia and Unweb have made a preliminary copy of the Burnstation prototype available for you to experiment with on the Plumi test site. As you might expect from a prototype, it has a very basic front end but the concept is there. You can select a number of videos from the site then create a DVD ISO file that you can download then burn onto a DVD.

The Prototype Read Me file on the Plumi Wiki will give you an idea of how to use the system (see the How to use section). We will be creating a more detailed guide to using the prototype shortly.

Please feel free to try out the site and send an email to the plumi-discuss mailing list or post a comment in #plumi to let us know how you went. We’ll update this blog when there’s more news about our progress with the Burnstation prototype.

Burnstation Code and Documentation Plumi Updates

Burnstation Prototype – Design decisions relating to the User Interface

The user interface provided with the Burnstation prototype presents minimal information to the user. There are no icons or layout considerations in the portlet & the Add to Burn Queue link that the prototype provides.

When a video is added to the queue, the user is returned to the home page and must remember to look at the Burn Queue portlet to confirm that the video has indeed been added. As the ISO file is being produced there is no “time remaining” indication and the user has to keep refreshing the home page to see if the “Get ISO” option has appeared in the Burn Queue portlet.

We discussed options for improving the user interface but it was agreed that because this was a prototype system, the user interface could be kept to a minimum as:

  • The purpose of the prototype is to confirm that videos can be combined into an ISO file that is subsequently burnt to DVD for distribution.
  • A barely functional user interface is sufficient to allow testing of the concept.
  • Initial users working with a basic prototype are expected to be able to review documentation & operate the system without requiring extensive user interface guidance.
Burnstation Code and Documentation Plumi Updates

Burnstation Prototype very close to being released

EngageMedia and Unweb have been keeping busy this week testing and tweaking the Burnstation prototype system. As a proof of concept it’s being kept quite basic, especially its user interface and error trapping. The tweaking has involved making it a little clearer to operate and correcting a couple of issues that would prevent it from creating an ISO file.

We set up a summary page on the wiki showing an overview of the work remaining, some of which was not logged as tickets in Plumi Trac. We also occasionally included some high level notes here to give more of an overview than just viewing the tickets in Trac.

We’re now very close to releasing the prototype as the final tasks remaining are primarily around documenting the How To Guide and the work required to produce a production version. We’re expecting to get everything wrapped up in the next couple of days.

Burnstation Plumi Updates

Burnstation alpha tagged

(Via Mike of Unweb)
The burnstation alpha is tagged and is ready to be further tested. It has been tested and works with Plone 3.3 and Plone 4.

You can install the standalone burnstation prototype by running the buildout (it requires python 2.6) with:
svn co burnstation

$ cd burnstation
$ python2.6
$ ./bin/buildout

Wait for buildout to end, and start up zope with ./bin instance start and the transcode daemon with ./bin/transcodedaemon start

Install the burnstation product, and upload a video file as a new file in your Plone instance to test it.

Alternatively if you want to test burnstation on top of an existing plumi installation, you can add the burnstation source
to your buildout egg sources.

You will need to grab the transcodeMpeg2 and makeIso scripts from the egg and put it in the /scripts folder. or you can run the plumi-burnstation buildout for a new plumi-burnstation instance:

$ svn co burnstation
$ cd burnstation
$ python2.4
$ ./bin/buildout Start up zope and transcode daemon, install plumi and then install the burnstation product.

Plone Burnstation was produced by EngageMedia and Unweb.

More info at