I have been playing around with Red5 Media Server, the open source flash server. I have to say – wicked cool. I’d never be able to afford a working version of Flash Media Server but always wanted to play around with the functionality.
I’m amazed at the way the Red5 developers have been able to reverse engineer the protocol for the RTMP by observing byte streams – who wooda thunk. Check it out at – http://osflash.org/red5/discovery or check out this email discussion thread – http://osflash.org/pipermail/red5_osflash.org/2005-September/000134.html
Anyway, for anyone unfamiliar with the Red5 technology the server is built in Java (Ruby version to come soon???) and the install was fairly easy. You can install both as a standalone server (Mac OSX) and deployed as Tomcat app (series of WARs). The standalone version uses Tomcat under the covers.
The demo flash apps included in the install were:
An app acting as as video broadcaster
An app that records a video stream to the server using flash
An app that is a chat room
An app that uses Shared Objects
A couple others…
They all worked fairly well, however, I ran into two problems. The first problem was not related to Red5 but that Flash did not recognize the video drivers (using an Intel MacBook Pro) and I had to change the preferences for Flash movies to use the USB Video Class.
The second problem was that the video quality was a little rough for the video recorder. Still working on the issue, please leave a comment if you have any ideas.
Finally, I found a great video tutorial site that covers some basics to setting up the Red5 server. It also, helped me setup a free development environment for Flash movies. Check it out – http://www.flashextensions.com/tutorials.php
Some of the videos are really basic and geared towards actionscript developers – i.e., setting up Eclipse – but I found some of the others pretty useful.