21 Aug 2014
24 Jul 2014

Quick Tip: IP Multicast Fallback with Apache mod_rewrite

Recently, I was tasked with building a video player that would play live streams via IP Multicast on a supported network and automagically switch to Unicast on an unsupported network. Problem is, with IP Multicast the clients will make a connection and just wait around for data without bombing out. This is because the clients are connected to the IP Multicast address space via their network hardware and not a server endpoint in many other types of streaming.

In the past, this type of configuration might be implemented through a connection timeout in the video player logic. However, I wanted a seamless and immediate way to fall back without making the user have to wait. Enter Apache mod_rewrite.

The general workflow I wanted to follow was this:

  1. The end user hits the video player page on the Apache server
  2. The video player seamlessly and immediately point itself at the right stream.
  3. Everyone’s happy

I accomplished the above with a little mod_rewrite magic in my Apache config.

First, I needed to make sure clients on specific subnets would play back the live stream using Unicast. Second, I needed to properly redirect all other clients to the live stream using IP Multicast. Also, I needed to make sure that VOD requests would be ignored.

Here’s a gist of my rewrites along with some commentary.

 

Enjoy!

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16 Jul 2014

CSS Filters – Current Implementation and usage

Given the wide variance in implementation and guaranteed support, CSS filters (and their cousins) are still a ways from being advisable for any key functionality of a site. That being said, caniuse.com currently lists browser support at almost 65% (includes partial support). With this in mind, CSS filters create some very interesting possibilities for Progressive Enhancement of carefully considered elements.

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02 Jul 2014
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