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Ephemeral Films Project

##Editor - Technical Documentation

This document is intended to explain where in the project the code exists that controls the various parts of the film annotation editor. This project is not complete but has reached a point where it can be distributed and used for film annotation editing and the goal of this distribution is to encourage the developer community to help expand the functionality of the project to make it better and more functional for all users.

##Login Control

Because the editing of annotations for any project should be restricted to trusted users, access to the editor is controlled with a login setup that takes advantage of the .htpasswd functionality of the Apache server. The initial user will gain universal access and control and can assign permissions to other users. The initial user ( user zero ) is the only user who can edit the user zero account. Other users with permissions to edit other user’s rights can not edit the rights of user zero.

The .htpasswd file should be stored outside of the public web folder. This protects the file from discovery from the general user. The file should have read and write permissions for the Apache server so that it can be edited by the password update scripts which are dynamically created and destroyed as they are needed.

##Server Requirements

##Code Organization

The majority of this project is coded using jQuery which makes debugging very difficult because the actions associated with visual elements are not obvious when looking at the code that creates the visual element. Hopefully this section will help to limit the number of places where it is necessary to search for sources of content display and errors.

The overall file structure for the project once it has been installed is as follows:

  • .htaccess Defines the entire folder as password protected
  • .htpasswd Holds the hashed password values. This file is created above the web root by the installer
  • index.php (Initially installs required files) Creates the basic layout for the editor
  • settings.php Defines the settings that are specific to your server
  • /_ajax Contains all of the php files that the jQuery calls upon
  • /_css Contains all styles associated with the editor
  • /_img Contains the image assets for the editor interface
  • /_js Contains all jQuery and JavaScript files
  • /_uploads Will contain all uploaded Annotation assets. Should be writable by Apache
  • /player A sample video player that uses the annotation data that is generated

The copy of this project that is being used for uses an Amazon S3 service for hosting assets. If you plan to do the same, the initial installer will configure the system for you. You will also need to add your Amazon Credentials to the settings file which you should place outside of the publicly accessible web folder.


The structure of the database is roughly defined as follows:

  • eFilm_ActiveFilms Contains details about the original film
  • eFilm_Config_Naming Used to populate the dropdown suggestions in the editor
  • eFilm_Config_Users Contains the user details
  • eFilm_Config_Users_MovieRights Defines the user's access to various films
  • eFilm_Content_Movies Contains display information for the films
  • eFilm_Content_Movies_Annotations Contains all of the annotation data
  • eFilm_ReSources_HistoricEvents Intended to contain a list of selectable events
  • eFilm_ReSources_L1 Contains the L1 Annotation Names
  • eFilm_ReSources_L2 Contains the L2 Annotation Names
  • eFilm_ReSources_RelationIndex Contains relationships between L1 and L2 items
  • eFilm_ReSources_Templates Used to create forms for entering data in the editor

Comments explaining each field are included in the SQL Dump.


Download and copy the project into a folder on your web server. Create a .htpasswd file with your first login and place it just outside of your web root. Create a database and use the included DatabaseStructure.txt file to generate the tables needed. Create a db_con.php file with your databse connection details and place it just outside of your web root. The file should contain the following:

  • <?php
  • $includes = get_included_files();
  • if (count($includes) < 1) {
  • exit();
  • }
  • $localDatabase = mysqli_connect('HOST_NAME','USER_NAME','PASSWORD','DATABASE_NAME');
  • if (!$localDatabase) {
  • echo '<h2>Service not currently available</h2>';
  • header('Service Unavailable', 503);
  • exit();
  • }
  • ini_set('default_charset','UTF-8');
  • mysqli_set_charset($localDatabase, 'utf8');

##Known Issues

The Logout button does not cause a log out. The process of creating a logout feature is described here: This was not completed prior to releasing this project as open source.


How to use the Editor for annotations is covered in a separate document. ##LINK NEEDED##

#Sample Player

A sample player using the PopcornJS Framework and the data created by the Editor is provided in the download.

The actions for the player are created in the eFPIBasic.js file which uses the PopcornJS framework to trigger javascript functions based on the frame currently displaying in the browser window. The index.php file creates an array of annotations for the selected film which is used by eFPIBasic.js to populate the list of events to be triggered.

##Upgrades The Project Could Use Help With

  • In the editor it would be nice if category names could be changed. The change would need to update all affected rows in the database
  • It would be nice to be able to create relationships between resources as resources are added to the editor
  • When relationships are added to the resources it would be nice if the new relationships were reflected in existing annotations
  • Film to film relations so that films could relate to frames in other films
  • Export of annotation data in XML format
  • Group relations should allow multiple groups to be selected

##To use this project on your own server you will need to do two things

  • Create a .htpasswd file with the first login and place it just above your web root folder
  • Create a database with the structure described by the DatabaseStructure.txt file


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