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AssetHost is an attempt to create a one-stop-shop for hosting and linking to media assets that are intended for inclusion in news stories. The goal is to create a hub that multiple frontend CMS systems can hook into, querying images, videos and documents from one source and enabling the easier interchange of data.

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README.markdown

AssetHost

AssetHost is an attempt to create a one-stop-shop for hosting and linking to media assets that are intended for inclusion in news stories. The goal is to create a hub that multiple frontend CMS systems can hook into, querying images, videos and documents from one source and enabling the easier interchange of data.

Philosophy

AssetHost is built around the idea that all web media assets need to have a static visual fallback, either to support limited-functionality devices or to support rendering of rich media assets in contexts where a rich implementation isn't desired.

AssetHost is intended to run as two pieces: a backend asset server and lightweight frontend plugins that attach to the CMS system. The pieces should speak to each other using a secure API.

Backend Engine

This repository provides the AssetHostCore engine, which can be run either on the root of a standalone application (perhaps powering multiple frontend applications) or at a namespace in an existing application.

The backend server provides the primary UI for uploading, managing, and
serving assets. It also provides an API endpoint that can be accessed either by the local application (this is how much of the admin works) or by other applications or plugins.

A sample host application can be found at http://github.com/SCPR/AssetHostApp

Plugins for Other Applications

AssetHost provides an API and a Chooser UI that can be integrated into your application, allowing you to integrate the system in a minimal amount of code.

TODO: More documentation on CMS interaction. External Rails example. Django example.

Integrating with the AssetHost engine

To integrate with a locally-installed AssetHostCore engine, simply make your mapping data model belong to AssetHostCore::Asset.

TODO: More documentation on creating content/asset models.

Workflow

  1. Photographer / Author / Editor goes to AssetHost and uploads or imports a media asset.

  2. Author / Editor goes to their frontend CMS and uses the plugin UI to select the asset they want to attach to their content (which might be a story, a blog post, etc).

  3. CMS plugin uses API to query AssetHost and retrieve presentation code for the asset.

  4. The CMS should call new AssetHost.Client() to put in place the handler for rich assets.

  5. The CMS should display the image asset. If it contains tags for a rich asset, the Client library will catch it and put in place the appropriate handling.

  6. AssetHost will return a 302 Found to the rendered image asset if it exists, or render it on-the-fly if it does not yet exist.

Rich Media Support

Rich media assets are delivered as specially-tagged img tags, and are replaced on the client-side via an AssetHost.Client plugin.

Brightcove Video

Brightcove videos can be imported as assets and used to place videos into image display contexts. The video is delivered as an img tag, and the AssetHost.Client library will see the tag and call the AssetHost.Client.Brightcove plugin. The plugin will place an overlay on top of the image with a class of BrightcoveVideoOverlay. When clicked, the image will be replaced by a Brightcove player object.

Brightcove assets can be imported using the interface at /a/brightcove/

Image Storage

AssetHost intends to support any image storage supported by Paperclip, the underlying gem responsible for adding image file functionality to our Asset model.

Currently, Paperclip supports local filesystem storage and storage on Amazon's S3.

External Requirements

Async Workers via Redis

The AssetHost server uses Redis (via the Resque gem) to coordinate async processing of images. Configure for your Redis setup in config/resque.yml.

Image Processing via ImageMagick

AssetHost, via Paperclip, does image processing using ImageMagick. If needed, make sure to specify Paperclip.options[:command_path] in your config.

Text Search via Sphinx

Searches are done via Sphinx, using the Thinking Sphinx gem. Set up your configuration in config/sphinx.yml, and make sure you have an external trigger for indexing (cron, etc).

Credits

AssetHost is being developed to serve the media asset needs of KPCC and Southern California Public Radio, a member-supported public radio network that serves Los Angeles and Orange County on 89.3, the Inland Empire on 89.1, and the Coachella Valley on 90.3.

AssetHost development is led by Eric Richardson (erichardson@kpcc.org).

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