Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Calling it a day

This is the blog post I've been putting off and hoping I'd never write. It's also the post that most of you have been expecting and I doubt whether it will come as much of a surprise to long-time followers of the project.

Over the past few years I've been facing two major problems:

(1) I've struggled with the project itself. For mainly personal reasons I haven't been able to keep developing the player myself and unfortunately the several attempts I've made to bring in other people have been spectacular failures. Even worse, I made some bad mistakes when sharing the code which has resulted in a messy situation that has made it extremely difficult to get back on track. I won't bore you with details but it's all about code ownership and licensing.

(2) More importantly, the situation with Flash has become more and more bleak. Apple's refusal to allow Flash in its iOS was a severe blow, and yesterday's announcement that Adobe is abandoning efforts to bring Flash to mobile devices was the last straw. Frankly, Flash is looking like a very poor option for video delivery in the future.

It's my opinion that HTML5 is the video delivery mechanism of the future for the Internet. I know that many of you would prefer a dual approach that uses Flash where possible but falls back to HTML5 when necessary, but I see this as a temporary solution at best. I just don't think there's much merit in continuing to develop for a dying platform.

It breaks my heart to say it but MC Media Player is due for retirement. The website will continue to exist but I've updated it to make it clear that development has ceased. The free video hosting service will continue so there's no panic to move - it's my intention to keep it going for as long as people are using it. Obviously though, I recommend looking at other options for the long-term.

I would like to offer my sincere apologies for what has become of the player. I've made some bad decisions, I've put things off for too long and I've let down my supporters. All of this weighs heavily on my mind and it's one reason why I've been reluctant to make this call. However I feel that I need to put my cards on the table, admit honestly that things have turned irretrievably pear-shaped and let everyone know that maybe it's time to look elsewhere.

If you've been using the player and you're wondering where to go from here, my first answer is that you don't need to make any decision immediately. The player will still work just as it always has - there just won't be any new features. I recommend looking into HTML5 video and seeing if that works for you. I'm hoping to publish some HTML5 video tutorials which might help. In fact I am interested in developing some code samples and possibly even a player to replace our old one, only this time I'd make it open source right from the outset. If anyone's interested in helping to develop a good HTML5 video system, let me know in the comments.

Another option is of course to fall back on third-party solutions such as YouTube. That's what we've done at, and although the limitations and compromises are hard to swallow, there are many advantages.

Finally, I'd like to thank all the supporters out there. You've been wonderful and it's been a real thrill to see how the player has been used. The player has been a big part of my life and a source of great pride. Of all the projects I've been involved with, this will be the hardest to let go. I'm confident that's it's for the best but that doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you.