Analysis: YouTube's Awakening

In addition, YouTube released a new chromeless Flash SWF player that's accessible through the API. With the API, developers can design Web front ends that embed the player or even desktop applications that can use the embedded video player with search capabilities that hook back into playlists. Solution providers can turn the YouTube service into a robust video hosting solution, in which video content can become part of training or knowledge based applications.

Though fairly compact, the API provides authentication so that applications can manage user access to video uploads and retrieve playlist feeds. Moreover, the authentication code can streamline how videos are categorized. This feature has been supported since August of last year when the company released the first version of its data API. YouTube also added internationalization, so that developers can access video feeds in 18 languages.

The new Flash player is highly customizable and portable. However, the YouTube development team is emphasizing external calls into JavaScript, even though the Adobe Flash player has a comprehensive ActionScript API. The documentation is only showing the barebones ActionScript calls to load a movie clip and wait to external JavaScript function calls. Regardless, the Flash player may be boon for the Adobe platform.

Getting started is the toughest step for solution providers that are new to this API. In addition to JavaScript, YouTube is only supporting Java and PHP in its official documentation and tutorials. Sample code is only available for Java and PHP, with the exception of the ActionScript needed to load and interact with SWF files.

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Surprisingly, ActionScript is not on the list of supported languages. However, other developers have already posted open source client libraries and wrappers for ActionScript, Python, .Net, and Ruby, including SimpleXML. YouTube's API can be found at Google's code site.