Skip to main content

Java and video

One of the possible future features I've always had in mind for Quelea is decent video support. The ability to import and display avi or mkv files, or to play a clip seamlessly from a DVD. This isn't really something I'd done previously, so I was interested to see the options available. All things considered, I thought that it's such a common thing to want to do there must be one or two good, well accepted libraries around at handling all of the media side of things.

I was wrong. Very wrong!

Considering that I want a cross platform way to do all the above, the amount of options available are considerably limited. The classic one is the JMF, which is probably the best option around. This doesn't mean it's good however - it's woefully outdated, the APIs aren't the best to work with in the world by a long shot and every other question about it asked online seems to end up with something along the lines of "wow, you're using JMF? Good luck..."!

So, I decided to search elsewhere. But really, there's not much of an elsewhere. VLCJ looked like a promising lead but relying on native code that has a habit of completely breaking the VM every so often isn't good for much more than tech demos. FMJ looks good in theory, but no-one can seem to get it to work properly, me included. And JVLC (an earlier project than VLCJ) is full of bugs and completely dead to any kind of activity.

Frantically, I turned to stack overflow for help to see if there was something obvious I'm missing. Seems not!

There is however a glimmer of hope on the horizon. When JavaFX 2.0 is released it looks like it's going to change things dramatically - I for one really hope so. Check out this video at 2:05 for a really impressive video UI demo:

That's due sometime later this year. Until then however, it looks like there's no real accepted, good way to deal with video in Java. If I can't wait for JavaFX I might give the JMF a crack... but based on other's experiences, I'm not expecting great things.


Popular posts from this blog

The comprehensive (and free) DVD / Blu-ray ripping Guide!

Note: If you've read this guide already (or when you've read it) then going through all of it each time you want to rip something can be a bit of a pain, especially when you just need your memory jogging on one particular section. Because of that, I've put together a quick "cheat sheet" here which acts as a handy reference just to jog your memory on each key step.

I've seen a few guides around on ripping DVDs, but fewer for Blu-rays, and many miss what I believe are important steps (such as ensuring the correct foreign language subtitles are preserved!) While ripping your entire DVD collection would have seemed insane due to storage requirements even a few years ago, these days it can make perfect sense.

This guide doesn't show you a one click approach that does all the work for you, it's much more of a manual process. But the benefits of putting a bit more effort in really do pay off - you get to use entirely free tools with no demo versions, it's …

Expanding JavaFX's media support

Note: For those that don't want to read through the post and just want the patch for MKV support, you can grab it from this ticket, or here if you don't have a JIRA account.
Background One of the predominant things lacking a "nice" approach in the Java world for years now has been good media support. Oh sure, we had JMF, but anyone who ever had the misfortune of using that will I'm sure understand why that never really took on. (Yes, it really was that bad.) A few other approaches came and went, most notably Java Media Components - but none ever made there way into core Java, and for a long time it became pretty de-facto knowledge that if you wanted any form of comprehensive media support in Java, you used a cross-platform native library, perhaps with a Java wrapper.

However, when JavaFX 2 came along we were provided with a new, baked in media framework that provided this functionality on the Java level! This is a massive step forward, sure it uses GStreamer unde…

Draggable and detachable tabs in JavaFX 2

JavaFX currently doesn't have the built in ability to change the order of tabs by dragging them, neither does it have the ability to detach tabs into separate windows (like a lot of browsers do these days.) There is a general issue for improving TabPanes filed here, so if you'd like to see this sort of behaviour added in the main JavaFX libraries then go ahead and cast your vote, it would be a very welcome addition!

However, as nice as this would be in the future, it's not here at the moment and it looks highly unlikely it'll be here for Java 8 either. I've seen a few brief attempts at reordering tabs in JavaFX, but very few examples on dragging them and nothing to do with detaching / reattaching them from the pane.

Given this, I've decided to create a reusable class that should hopefully be as easy as possible to integrate into existing applciations - it extends from Tab, and for the most part you create it and use it like a normal tab (you can just add it to…