All entries for Wednesday 02 May 2007

May 02, 2007

Wowza Media Server – first impressions

Writing about web page

So today I finally got a good look at Wowza. We are using Wowza as an alternative to Flash Media Server because it sits on a platform more suited to our needs. So that we can develop and deploy applications easily Chris suggested I develop and test using a local version of Wowza. “Good idea” I thought, at least I did before spending ages faffing about because the server startup files resolutely refused to recognise my Java install – this was a bit strange, because I could do java -version via the command prompt and my JAVA_HOME and PATH settings were fine, but the Wowza startup always failed when invoking a java -version call to check which version was installed. In the end I had to edit the offending VBScript (ugh) to remove the check entirely and finally it started.

Wowza provides a JMX-based interface so its easy enough to monitor the server using JConsole. Client-side Flash apps are written pretty much as for FMS – there are some additional stream methods available but the client code uses the same NetConnection and NetStream objects to talk to the server. The server supports RTMP of course too.

The main deviation from FMS is the way applications are deployed and managed. In FMS2, any server-side logic (e.g. connection handling, custom methods etc.) is handled by raw Actionscript files. Wowza is a Java application, and server-side applications must also written in Java, usually packaged as a JAR executable. This is where I leave my comfort-zone; the manual does cover most of the basics, including how to make and a deploy an application via Eclipse, but I suspect there will be a significant learning curve involved for me. There seems to be an equivalent API for most of the native FMS methods however, although the API manual runs to well over 300 pages. This would explain why the file management functionality in Media Manager broke when we first migrated it across as a test a while ago, but it also means I can try and get to grips with the Java end of things with a simple example. The prospect of creating the kinds of complex state-sharing I used for the CEDAT conferencing application fills me apprehension however.

One final thing to note – porting Media Manager to Flex will be near impossible now because Wowza currently only supports the older AS and AMF formats, which means I’ll have to stay in Flash for a while longer. This is moderately annoying because I wanted to use view containers for a new multiple-camera application and use the new improved (i.e. much faster) AVM. We’ll have to keep an eye on this because it’s likely that FMS and Flex are going to be closer cousins in future, and things like the VP6 encoding available in FME (and of course any live MP3-encoding solution, should it ever arrive) will likely appear within the Adobe family of products first.

So, reservations like those mentioned aside, so far so good. :-). Now where’s that Java For Dummies book?..


I just started replaying Katamari Damancy. Still rocks.


MXNA link



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    Black Pepper Software

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