It's been a while since my last update. Since then, IPFS is regularly failing to upload or serve video files and STEEM got ddos-ed 10 times. But at least the Smart Media Tokens have been announced, so that is some good news for us. I plan to release an announcement for the DTube SMT, directly from the @dtube account, in the upcoming weeks, and will totally ignore any comment related to it until then.
This update focuses mostly on graphical and marketing changes, however I have also decided to do something about videos loading poorly, so I added a backup. Keep reading to know more :)
New Domain: D.Tube
DTube is now available at https://d.tube. As simple and powerful as that.
Domain names are more than web addresses, they are the brand of a project. When they are short, cool and memorable, they help a lot in the marketing and branding of an idea. That is why I am happy to announce that DTube has now a new home, D.Tube. When I learned that .TUBE domains were available, I contacted the folks at @livedottube, the company behind the .TUBE domain name extension. They understood my vision and decided to support my efforts with this great domain name. D.Tube was contributed to me for hosting the DTube project and it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I can now proudly say to my nerd friends that I own a 1-letter domain name, one that is faster to type and memorize, and one that will increase exponentially the likelihood of success of our community. Do not worry for links pointing to the old dtube.video domain, they will redirect automatically.
So If you want to create your own video website www.live.tube is a great place to start. I know I did and I feel very confident that it was a very good decision.
Presentation page: About.D.Tube
This is the first thing DTube competitors would do most of the time. A webpage explaining the project. It was badly lacking here, considering the app doesn't include many texts or explanations for things. The page was made by @mkt. It features many small features that are useful for the all around DTube experience, such as a FAQ, an official DTube blog (which is resteems of my own DTube articles at the moment), a STEEM price ticker, and links to our community channels (crowdin, github, discord, steemit.chat)
On behalf of all actors responsible for the situation, I would like to apologize for anyone who had their uploads messed up. I did a lot of digging around to find out the problems associated with the upload page, to end up understanding that basically IPFS takes a lot of time to properly add a file to the network, especially when you don't use a SSD, and deal with large files like DTube does. When two users try to do this step at the same time, one of them gets thrown an error (usually the second one).
For now you have a progress bar so you can see if it is working or not. Sadly, I cannot promise that your upload will have a 100% chance of working, but we are currently developing and testing a new uploader that should hopefully solve these issues, and enable new features such as automatic video encoding.
Adding WebTorrent as a backup
Any DTube user can notice how sometimes IPFS just doesn't load any videos, except maybe a few popular ones. At times, new videos take hours before being viewable, and even the pictures wouldn't display. I talked with IPFS developers and they are working on a fix (probably in the next IPFS version), but we don't know when this is going to happen.
This is why, starting from this patch, you will automatically seed videos on Torrent while browsing DTube (if your browser supports it). We will use this as a backup. Then, when you try to load a video, if IPFS is not loading or stuttering, then the video will try to play from Torrent if there are seeders available.
How can I help DTube and seed video files?
1- People who watch a video on DTube, automatically seed the video inside the browser. This should increase the number of seeders on popular videos. Seeding multiple files inside the browser would be a dream, but it eats up the ram really quick and isn't really a possibility right now.
2- WebTorrent provides an easy to use torrent client that you can download on their official website. Installing it and simply downloading the video from the magnet link on the video page, will be enough to enable you to seed to DTube users, without needing to keep the DTube website open. I recommend this option to all serious content creators, who want to make sure all their videos load smoothly.
3- I have personally modified this torrent client, to add some options to automatically fetch magnet links written on the STEEM blockchain. You can set a % of magnets to fetch, or simply a list of authors that you want to help. This allows you to passively help DTube without having any button to click. This is obviously what would help DTube the most, however it will probably require a decent internet connection, and a bit of storage space.
I would love to see this help videos load better. In theory, here you will be downloading directly from anyone around the world, at the same time, instead of downloading the video from a single IPFS gateway. So it should work better, as long as we have people seeding. We will see how it goes.
This is probably the first difference you will spot from previous version. @hightouch is responsible for most of these changes. I am only listing the biggest changes, but there has been a lot of work all around the interface (except the search).
I invite you to try to use DTube on your mobile now. It should now be properly readable and browsable.
A familiar feature from other well known video sites. More space to put more links to new pages. Also features a list of your subscribed content creators for quick access.
This will display the videos of the same author, as well as his resteems. This will greatly increase the visibility of some lower content creators when more popular ones decide to give them a resteem.
New Video Player
This is basically the embed I presented in the previous article. It should now correctly show when it's trying to load, or failed to load. It's also more pretty, you can make the video go fast or slow (from x0.25 to x2), and it should enable future features such as subtitles, or video preview (when you hover the time bar) more easily.
Using GitHub: GitHub.com/DTube
The DTube related code was starting to grow, so I finally decided to create an organization where I could manage everything. Sadly, the 'dtube' username was taken already so I had to go through the GitHub support, but they allowed me to have the name :)
DTube is also now hosted directly on GitHub pages, so I am really not running anything anymore, and DTube runs at true $0 costs.
All the code on GitHub is open to collaboration. If you want to implement a feature in some of our open code, feel free to submit a PR.
DTube Roadmap until 1.0
I didn't do this before because it was hard to see where it was going and what needed to be prioritized, but I believe that starting from this patch, it's easy to see the end of the tunnel. I've always had a big todo list of things required to make DTube 'solid', and the list is getting thinner and thinner. Here is how I think it's gonna go now:
0.5 will probably include the following:
- New uploader with encoding
- Steem Connect
Then the rest of the roadmap, probably in order will be:
- In-app notifications
- Video subtitles
- Autovoting Bot like other STEEM apps have
- X-Rated version of DTube, probably on another domain
- iOS + Android app
- Creating good documentation and open sourcing the app
- The DTube SMT
Going to SteemFest in Lisbon next week
I bought my regular entry, a plane ticket to Lisbon and Airbnb reservation for SteemFest! If you are a content creator or just a user of DTube generally, feel free to reach out to me in person, I will happily answer any question.
The project is getting more and more solid. We probably need only 2 or 3 more patches to get it to the state where I want it to be.
The work done by @hightouch on the UI side gives the website credibility. It always makes the overall browsing experience much nicer for anyone. If some stuff is displaying weirdly on your PC or Mobile, please kindly take a screenshot and post it in the comments.
Torrent is only a backup in DTube at the moment, but it might change in the future, depending on how well it works. I personally don't like the idea of having magnet links on DTube as some people could easily associate it with 'pirate' websites.
As usual, don't hesitate to give insightful comments, I will pay extra attention to them in the next few days and try to answer as many as possible.