Production System Design
Burnstation is currently available as a prototype, proof of concept system. This demonstrates that it is possible to select create a list of videos and produce a DVD ISO image file that can be burned to disk and distributed. It does so in a very basic & minimalist way with a limited user interface and operational restrictions that are not suitable for a production release.
To progress the Burnstation prototype into a full production system, the following developmental areas must be addressed:
User Interface Functions
- Provide a dedicated page, rather than a portlet, for managing the contents of a disk image (but still keep the portlet as a summary & easy way to launch the page)
- Need to be able to remove individual items from an existing queue, rather than having to clear the whole queue
- Use AJAX within the Burnstation portlet so it automatically refreshes when the ISO file is ready to download and when the queue is cleared
- Provide realtime ISO creation progress so the user can see how long is required for its completion.
- Provide confirmation messages for the user after each action (such as adding a video to the queue, etc) - don't just reset back to the home page
- Must provide more control over the generated dvd, including:
- Setting titles for each video
- Creating thumbnails for each video on the menu
- Tailoring the menu (layout, etc)
- Including chapters for each video so people can chapter-search through them
- Provide a "play all" option in the menu
- Work correctly in VLC on a computer (eg: display menu until a selection is made, chapter search between videos, etc)
- Needs to ensure that the videos being assembled do not exceed the size of the disk they will be burnt to
- Check all video titles for error conditions (length, unusual characters, etc) prior to starting the ISO creation
- Create an administration component for Burnstation that allows admin users to manage queues and settings
- Progress the current bare-minimum user manual to a full Plumi style manual (user, admin and geek side)
Additionally, the following design issues must be addressed:
- The original design for Burnstation included the ability to produce a VCD or a DVD disk image.
- The question has been raised whether there is still a need to support VCDs - are there any left or have DVDs sufficient market penetration throughout Indonesia & Asia (the primary target for disk distribution) so we can ignore VCDs?
- The prototype system's transcoder will create an mpeg2 format file for every video added to the system.
- For a large production video CMS this could consume large amounts of space for videos that may never get selected for burning to a disk.
- Should this be an option when transcoding files (eg: only create mpeg2 files for nominated videos) or should the files be created as a video is selected for burning with the acknowledgement that this will slow down creation of the ISO file)?
At this stage a rough estimate of the effort required to produce the final Burnstation system is approximately 250-400 hours of development time and 10-15 hours to produce the manuals.