AOS Web Player v0.1 – Online Demo

Take a look: http://demo.artofsequence.org/
(use arrows or space key after having clicked in the image if you want to use the keyboard).

This is the public demo of the Art Of Sequence Web Player (AOSWP) implementation, version 0.1. It’s fully implemented in JavaScript and can read the basics of AOSL (the xml-based language on which every AOS tools relies on) in it’s version 1.0-draft-3.

As always, the source code can be found at http://dev.artofsequence.org but please read the following before trying to use it.

What is this demo

This is a demonstration of one implementation of a player that reads directly AOSL files and interpret them in a way that totally depends on the kind of player it is. If time and work efforts permit it, other different implementations could see the day in the future. Here it is a player that is supposed to be inserted in a web page (whatever that means).  AOSWP, our player in the demo, is embedded in a simple web page that also expose the AOSL code that is read by the player.

AOSWP 0.1, as it’s version name suggests, is not a complete implementation. First it can only manipulate images, and not in all possible ways AOSL allows. It don’t do any optimization other than basic good sense for organization, it don’t have much options. However it shows the basic properties of a sequence described via AOSL.

This demo isn’t about the story, the graphics (that I made myself…) and is not there to suggest a way to exploit AOS tools. It is really basic, almost raw, techincal feature show.
In fact it mainly targets developers who needs to understand what AOSL is and what this whole Art Of Sequence project is about, or will allow.

In this short demo you can see:

  • library management (the image files are loaded once and reused)
  • basic image manipulations (scaling, translation, visible/hidden)
  • linear sequence (a sequence of things happening)
  • branching sequence (at the path fork, there is a choice to be made – comics writers should use this with great care, it is not really suitable for linear stories but in special cases – the goal is to allow creators to experiment!)
  • looping sequence (when you just want to repeat something several times)
  • the implementation is not really complex (but I’m no Javascript expert so any code review or any other help improving the code is welcome!)
  • it have fairly good performance (if it is not for me, please report your problems to me!)
  • you can get back followin the exact path you’ve taken while reading, even if you made different choices

So the basic structure of any kind of sequence (linear, with loops & branches) is readable by this player implementation (assuming it only manipulate images, for now). This shows the success of the design of the AOSL language as it effectively does it’s job efficiently so far (that is, describe any kind of digital media sequence).

Also, if you look at the code, you’ll see that there are several layers of customization that might allow anyone (with some Javascript skills) to use the player in any web page.

What this demo is not

As said, this demo don’t implement a lot of features that AOSL 1.0 requires, like:

  • being able to manipulate audio and video files (animations are working if the browser will read them as animation, for example with animated gifs)
  • graphic rotation
  • navigation (it’s partially implemented in fact, and that’s what allows you to make a choice at the branch)
  • scripting (that is, adding scripts inside the sequence)
  • (special) effects
  • grouping (to manipulate several objects as one)
  • layers (implemented but not tested)
  • external resource libraries
  • other minor features I’m forgetting.

It is not a demonstration of digital storytelling. I choose a very simple and well known story because it helped me showing the technical features. I wouldn’t tell a full story this way and I wish to show later some good example of storytelling with this technology, but now it is (unfortunately) still a bit early for that. Just don’t assume I tried to make the story “good”. I just tried to make it show the technical features.

There is, at the moment, no or very limited amount of technical documentation about AOS Web Player. This have to be fixed as soon as possible.

What next?

The demo page lacks a lot of information and useful links that would interest some people wanting to know more about Art Of Sequence related stuffs. These information will be added as soon as I can find the time or help to put them in place (don’t forget this project is  not, unfortunately, the one I can spend the most time on).

As my time working on Art Of Sequence projects is really limited, I’m still undecided on which project to put most energy in: the editor, AOSD isn’t usable yet and requires a lot of work to get there, but making it usable would then allow me to show a full working production pipeline, even if limited; AOS Web Player needs heavy development to be easily usable; the work of redaction of AOSL specification have been paused for several months, and it becomes more and more required before any developer can understand what to do with it, even if this demo helps showing how it works.

The decision of what to work on next will be taken in the coming days. Any input, comment or question on this is welcome.

As always, if you feel interested in helping with the code of any of the Art Of Sequence projects, please feel free to contact me directly by email or publicly on the mailing list (see http://dev.artofsequence.org for info).