~ WordPress ~

New at Moving Poems: related post links

I’m testing out a possibly permanent addition to the main site: related post links. These appear only on individual post pages, between the sharing icons and the comment form at the bottom of the post. Each link includes a still from the video, which darkens when you mouse over it. I’m hoping that this will be less of a distraction than an inducement to browse Moving Poems’ increasingly vast archives. The plugin I’m using (a new module for Jetpack, the Swiss army knife of WordPress plugins) seems to key in on videos for the same poet’s work, and to some extent by the same filmmaker. Beyond that it seems to use categories and the posts’ text to determine relatedness. Anyway, I’d appreciate feedback from regular users of the site: great addition or pointless distraction?

WordPress 3.6 will have native support for video and audio

If you’ve ever wanted to start your own video hosting site, it’s about to get easier. WordPress 3.6, currently in beta and due out soon, supports video and audio in core — it’s no longer necessary to use a plugin to generate media players for files uploaded to one’s own or another site.

At the core of the experience is the fantastic library, MediaElement.js. MediaElement is the facade layer that gives us maximum file support and cross-browser compatibility. While some libraries require a Flash-only solution to make your media work cross-environment, MediaElement lets you use HTML5 audio / video tags in every browser, and, only when necessary, will use a Flash or Silverlight plugin in the background to make incompatible media work. […]

MediaElement uses the same HTML markup, regardless of playback implementation, and you can use CSS to skin the players.

This provides a great deal of security for publishers, who will no longer have to rely on someone keeping an essential plugin updated. I would caution however that this new ease of use should not lure cash-strapped bloggers on cheap, shared hosting accounts (ahem, like me) to think that they can become the next Poetry Visualized. Hosting and reliably streaming a lot of videos, or videos that become too popular, will remain a high-resource enterprise. But for bigger organizations and institutions who want to retain full control of branding, and whose editorial staff aren’t highly tech-y, it should make video hosting a bit easier. Another use-case I can think of is the video artist who wants to share her work only on her own site and prevent others from embedding it, something that requires a paid membership at Vimeo.

In general, I think YouTube and Vimeo will remain preferable for most filmmakers and videopoets (and embedding such third-party videos in WordPress posts couldn’t be easier with the oEmbed functionality they added a couple of years ago), but it’s good to have this option in case the corporations decide to screw us.

Upgrade to the Moving Poems directory page

Visitor stats show that the directory page, Moving Poems’ index of poets and filmmakers, is one of the most-visited pages on the site. But it’s long been difficult to read, especially since the switch to a new, wider template. So I finally decided it was time for an upgrade and found a WordPress plugin, Multi-column Tag Map, that appeared to do everything I wanted. (The previous page was entirely hand-coded.) It is still perhaps a little unwieldy on smaller screens and mobile devices, when it shrinks to fewer than the maximum five columns, but on a desktop monitor it should now be fairly browsable. Check it out.