Once again, another post about video in WordPress. “Why so much attention on the subject, BigBri?”, you ask
I’ll tell you… I’ve spent hours upon hours testing and migrating between different plugins for embedding video. I guess I’m a hard customer, because I want flash videos, quicktime, and WMV to work flawlessly across all browsers.
I was excited to see that WordPress includes some hot new ways for handling and embedding your media. Unfortunately, my excitement turned to dismay as soon as I tried to actually use it.
First, let me say that I had a blog that I hand coded in HTML before I ever started using WordPress. Back then, I used a folder on the server called /media that housed all my images and such. When I migrated over, I just continued the tradition of FTPing my files up to the media folder and hard coding the links. Eventually, I grew fond of the idea of doing everything with WordPress, so I let it handle all my junk in the wp-content/uploads/ folders. This is awesome for images when you want a thumbnail, or if you want to just put an image straight into your post.
When I saw the new “Add media” buttons at the top of my editor I was elated. I promptly tried to upload a video. ERROR. I assumed this is because I can’t upload more than 10MB through WordPress. Lame. Next, I created a folder in the wp-content/uploads folder according to the conventional hierarchy and shot my video to it through FTP. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t know about it when you do it that way, so I couldn’t access it through the media browser. Determined to use the new features they designed for me, I moved the file to my old /media folder. Then I used the add by URL dialog, hoping that this would tell WordPress where my video was. All it did was insert a link in my post, and I still couldn’t see the file in the media browser.
Having given up completely on that feature, I installed my Coolplayer plugin and got to work. While searching for the coolplayer button in the editor (it’s not there – probably incompatible with the new version) I found the “insert/embed media” button. I decided to give it a whirl. Here’s all my gripes with this piece of crap:
The dimensions you define in the embed media dialog are the dimensions of the entire object, including all the control buttons. Dimensions should be the dimensions of the actual video footage. Also, you can shrink a video using the dimensions, but you can’t zoom a video that way. It just adds a black border. Weak.
When using IE, if you use the button in the editor to “edit” your media, it causes you to lose all your settings under the advanced tab, and it deletes the URL of your video! WTF!?
It occured to me that this whole dialog should be integrated with the media browser thing so that WordPress can manage your videos just like it manages your images. Too much to ask? I don’t think so.
All the plugins that enabled video embedding used quicktags to do so. That way, very little information was stored in WordPress itself – just the URL, the dimensions, and a few other things. This method lends itself to easy upgrading and compatibility changes, because nothing is really hardcoded. The WordPress embed function uses the <object> tag to embed your media and slams everything right into your post. Here’s an example of why you should be more flexible: Recently, our friends at Micro$oft made some security “enhancements” that required you to click on a lot of controls to “activate” them before you could actually do anything with them. There was a simple workaround, but you had to change your markup. If WordPress used quicktags, then an upgrade to the application would be sufficient to fix little issues like that, rather than having to edit all your posts.
Finally, I was working with some stuff in Safari – and the videos worked fine in the preview dialog, but when I viewed the posts on my site, they were broken! What the hell?
I might have time to say some harsh words about the changes to the sidebars – Why can’t we just click and drag stuff anymore, huh? Now I have to click a combo box, choose my sidebar, click show, click edit, click remove. That’s five freaking clicks when I could just drag it away before! DAMMIT!
If you feel strongly enough about this crap, or you were with it enough to hang in and read this whole post, visit my idea on wordpress.org and rate it high. Maybe someone’s listening.