ViewChange
Harnessing the power of storytelling to change the world™

Open Source Release

Posted on May 31st, 2011 by Rob DiCiuccio

Today, the ViewChange.org team is excited to announce the release of Link TV Platform, the open source project that powers ViewChange.org. A semantic video platform, the project combines the rich media experience of video with the data-centric concepts of the Semantic Web.

Link TV Platform is being released as a Rails Engine for the popular Ruby on Rails web application framework. Essentially an application within an application, this modular approach provides a robust foundation, while allowing for your own customizations and enhancements.

We are also releasing Link TV Player, a Flash video player, as a separate open source project. The player supports both streaming (RTMP) and progressive download (HTTP) video sources, as well as YouTube content, and can be used in conjunction with Link TV Platform, or as a standalone player.

Both of these projects are in use on ViewChange.org, as well as the recently launched Link TV News site. However, we recognize that they are neither complete nor perfect. We are actively working on improvements, optimizations, tests and documentation. In releasing these projects as open source software, our hope is to foster collaboration and encourage community involvement in improving the projects. We look forward to your feedback, and are excited to see how these projects grow and evolve.

Why Open Source?

ViewChange.org was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with the goal of enabling organizations and individuals to create change. In making these projects freely available, we hope to empower others to create and promote change in new and different ways.

Many open source packages, libraries, frameworks and servers have been utilized in creating these projects. Without the open nature of projects like Ruby on Rails, jQuery and Apache Solr, as well as the myriad plugins and gems contributed by individuals and organizations, this project would not have been possible. With this release, we are happy to have the opportunity to contribute back to the open source community.

Platform Features

  • Flexible video support
    Import videos from MRSS feeds to Amazon S3, streaming support via Amazon CloudFront, YouTube content and HTML5 video playback
  • Content analysis & curation
    Create distinct video segments (chapters), assign suggested topics from video transcript text analysis (via Zemanta API) and weight topic associations by relevance.
  • Semantic Web features
    Linked Data URIs, contextual RDFa markup with owl:sameAs links to Freebase and DBpedia entities, RDF/XML endpoints.
  • Related content discovery
    Aggregate related articles, videos and actions from around the web, leveraging APIs from Daylife, Zemanta, Truveo and Social Actions.
  • Advanced search & API
    Fulltext search powered by Apache Solr and an available JSON/XML API.

License

We have chosen to release both projects under the MIT License, due to the flexibility it affords and its refreshing lack of bureaucracy. A few GPL-licensed components are utilized within the platform, though they have been excluded from the distribution due to the restrictions of the GPL. Further details are available in the project documentation.

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