HTML5 Video, .OGV, Servers, and You

Just before launching a custom HTML5 video player for my last project I ran into two small, maddening bugs. Everything on my dev server worked just fine but when moved to the production server Firefox wouldn’t play the video.

The first issue was expected and easy, just had to add the proper Mime types to the .htaccess file:

AddType video/ogg .ogv .ogg

Done, done, refresh and…

… well, the video was playing fine but the normal, native controls were breaking, with the progress bug jumping right to the end of the timeline. Odd. I don’t really deal with server configurations much so I was at a loss and frustrated. A day’s worth of Google searches led nowhere until this post. “Don’t use gzip/deflate compression.” Okay, that seemed to be worth trying, but how… HOW?! Plenty is written about the benefits of turning it on and how to do it, not so much the opposite. Now to find a way, one that didn’t involve messing with the server configuration, and something that a front-end person like me could understand. Here it is, ready for your .htaccess:

RewriteRule ^(.*)\.ogv - [E=no-gzip:1]

Ogg video files, no gzip compression. Problem solved. Hope it helps someone else out.

If any experts out there take issue with that regular expression please let me know in the comments.

Update: It seems Chrome needs gzip turned off on MP4’s in order to play them as well, if you have them listed first in source order as I have.

RewriteRule ^(.*)\.mp4 - [E=no-gzip:1] Launches

While all the programming and development was done by me, all design and content of this site has been created Andrew Smith.

The best clients are also the toughest.

I’ve partnered with the talented Mr. Smith as a developer on a variety of projects in the past, many of which can be seen right here in my portfolio. The Flash version of his portfolio had been in development for months with another dev but bugs were preventing it from being completed without delay. Andrew reached out to me to create an HTML version that would retain the same look and feel and could keep the smooth transitions and animation of the Flash version.

This was a great opportunity to practice what I’ve preached for years about the benefits of HTML+CSS over Flash, as well as stretch my legs with the animation side of jQuery. As an added bonus, delivering a site that would work, as is, in an iPhone or iPad was fantastic for him, especially when we started this site at the height of the great Apple vs Google & Adobe conflict.

The portfolio includes:

  • Design & Content by Andrew Smith
  • Single Page Layout
  • HTML5 and CSS3
  • Progressive enhancement with Webkit CSS3 transitions
  • jQuery Galleries and Lightboxes, based on a heavily modified Colorbox
  • Custom HTML5 Video Player
  • Completely customized WordPress theme, dropping almost everything from the traditional front-end yet leveraging it as full featured CMS
  • Site of the Day – The CSS Awards

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