Record videos in contact forms!
- Prototype (examples)
- Demo / Fully working version
- Form Submissions
- What gets stored on the videomail server?
- Backward compatibility
- Super fast global CDN
To run the prototype full of examples in your browser with Gulp, just do:
yarn run watchto ignite a static server and
https://localhost:8443in your browser
Best is to study
/prototype/contact_form_json.html which demonstrates how easy it is to integrate the videomail client into your own contact form.
Beware that all must run over HTTPs. Google Chrome and soon other browsers won't allow the use of
getUserMedia() on insecure origins.
If you haven't installed the local CA in your system trust store yet, you will have to run those commands only once before starting the prototype:
- Install mkcert, see https://github.com/FiloSottile/mkcert#installation
- Run command
That's it. Easy as apple pie.
Dead simple example (just record and replay)
The included JS file
/prototype/js/videomail-client.js is already browserified and lies in the
If you remove
disableSubmit, then you will see a submit button to post the video and make it persistent. This requires a bit more code, see prototype directory.
A mirror of latest videomail-client can be seen on videomail-client.netlify.com
Real world usages
Check out the full version with all its features on videomail.io itself. Aim is to turn this into a stable product in the near future with some external assistance.
That site runs on AngularJS where I just include
require('videomail-client') in the app logic and bundle all that through Browserify.
Another live example would be https://seeflow.co.nz/contact/. More will follow ...
There are many options you can pass onto the VideomailClient constructor. Check out the annotated source code at src/options.js
In most cases, these defaults are good enough. But
siteName should be changed when you deploy your own site, see Whitelist.
Looking at the examples in the
/prototype folder should give you some ideas how to use these options.
The constructor accepts a JSON with optional options. Example:
var videomailClient = siteName: 'my site name'
The VideomailClient class is inherited from EventEmitter and emits lots of useful events for your app. Here an example:
Check them out at src/events.js
They should be self-explanatory. If not, ask for better documentation. Then, some of these events may come with parameters.
The videomail client already comes with internal error handling mechanism so there is no need to add code to display errors. But depending on your app logic you might want to process errors further with your own error listeners.
By the way, all videomail errors are instances of
VideomailError, inherited from the native Error class and come with additional attributes, useful for debugging weird errors.
Automatically fills the DOM with a form for video recording. By default the HTML element with the ID
videomail will be filled, see options.
Manually adds a video container for the given videomail inside the parent element. This is mostly called after a successful submission. See
/prototype/contact_form.html for some inspiration.
parentElement is an ID (string), then it will be resolved into a DOM element internally. If no parent element is given, then a replay container within the containerId is automatically generated.
Also note that, when the parent element already contains a video container like this
then this will be used instead of adding a new dom element.
replay() method also detects whether the parent element has placeholders to fill with form data. To understand this better, check out how the subject in the
/prototype/direct_submit.html example is being displayed upon replay.
Start all over again, resets everything and go back to the ready state. Useful if you want to submit another videomail within the same instance.
Queries a videomail (JSON) by a given alias for further queries or processing. There are two ways to get the alias:
- The form submission to your own server has it under
videomail_aliasin the form body.
- Get the alias from the
submittedevent and use it further within your code.
An utility function which returns true if the current browser is capable of webcam recording. It returns false for incompatible browsers.
Manually unloads the webcam and all other internal event listeners. Can be used in conjunction with single page apps, for example with AngularJS' destroy event:
Hides all the visuals (but does not unload anything).
Returns true when a video has been recorded and a form exists. Useful when checking something before closing the window, i.E. this use case: show a window confirmation dialog to make sure the user didn't forget to submit the recorded video.
Returns true when a video is currently being recorded.
For advanced use only: especially when the submit button is covered with other HTML layers and the videomail client fails to process the click event.
Calling this function will manually trigger a submission of the recorded videomail. But only when everything else is valid. Nothing will happen when invalid.
For advanced use only: returns you a collection of log lines that show what code has been covered recently. Useful if you want to debug something tricky.
What gets stored on the videomail server?
Here is an example JSON showing what videomail meta data exists, gets stored on the server and you can grab yourself for further use. It's emitted in the SUBMITTED event under the videomail object:
You also can get all the above using the
videomailClient.get() API call.
By default the videomail-client interrupts the form submission with
e.preventDefault() and submits the videomail itself to the videomail server first. The videomail server replies with useful data, such as the videomail alias, other meta data and only then the real form submission is resumed.
If this doesn't seem to work on your side, then this is mostly because the form and the submit button couldn't be found and the submission event is fired too late. To fix this, you'll need to correct the selectors under options. Here are the important ones regarding forms:
When these are null (defaults), the videomail-client tries to detect these automatically. But it can happen that detection fails because the form is somewhere else under the DOM or the submit button does not have the
Here is a working example.
Include videomail meta data in Form Submissions
If you want to include videomail meta data in the form submission to your own server, enable the
Otherwise only the videomail alias is in the form body and will have to call
videomail.get(alias, cb) to retrieve these later on.
Examples will work right away on https://localhost:8443. This is because localhost is whitelisted on the remote Videomail server.
https://localhost:443 are whitelisted too for local development. Other IP addresses won't work. If this is a problem, contact me and I can whitelist more.
In other words, if your web server is connected through a domain besides localhost, the Videomail-Client is restricted from sending the media packets to the remote Videomail server which is responsible for storing and sending videomails. To fix that, just lodge a whitelist request at https://videomail.io/whitelist. Then you should get a new site name and a list of whitelisted URLs for your own usage pretty fast (within less than 48 hours).
Forget the old IE, Safari below version 11 and ancient iPhones/iPads because they don't support
getUserMedia(). Do not blame me but Apple + Microsoft chuckle - for now, these browsers work like a charm:
- Firefox >= 34
- Google Chrome >= 32
- Microsoft Edge >= 12
- Internet Explorer >= 12
- Opera >= 26
- Chrome for Android >= 39
- Android Browser >= 37
- Safari >= 11
PS: On Safari and iPhones/iPads you can play the videomails fine without any issues. Repeating: there is just no recording functionality for them yet until Apple made a move.
Super fast global CDN
You can grab the already browserified videomail-client JS file through GitHub's rawgit server which is proxied by MaxCDN's super fast global CDN:
For example for version x.y.z, use this in your production site: https://cdn.rawgit.com/binarykitchen/videomail-client/x.y.z/prototype/js/videomail-client.min.js
If for whatever reason that GitHub CDN doesn't meet your standard, here's another CDN to try: https://cdnjs.com/libraries/videomail-client
There is a Videomail WordPress addon, wicked! https://wordpress.org/plugins/videomail-for-ninja-forms/
It's an extension of the popular form builder called Ninja Forms. When the videomail addon is installed, then you can just drag and drop a live webcam input into the form! And tell what should happen upon submission. So easy.
Too hard to maintain. Just do
git log or look here
Should be already included, but if they have expired, can regenerate with this bash command:
$ mkcert --cert-file ./env/dev/cert.pem --key-file ./env/dev/key.pem local.videomail-client.io localhost 127.0.0.1
This will require the native mkcert program you can get from https://github.com/FiloSottile/mkcert
Here some noise about Videomail in the wild:
Unfinished Metamorphosis (aka Development)
This is just the beginning. I will add a lot more over time.
Bear with me, there are lots of problems to crack, especially with the performance, audio part and some unit tests are missing. I do not want to waste too much time on perfection unless it's proven to work then I rewrite piece by piece.
These guys helped and/or inspired me for this mad project:
- Heath Sadler
- Zack Best
- Sonia Pivac
- Isaac Johnston
- Dominic Tarr
- Daniel Ly
- Nicholas Buchanan
- Kelvin Wong
They all deserve lots of beer and love. That order is irrelevant.
And yes, one more thing: because it is very crucial to make videomail-client work on all browsers, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have Browserstack - for instant, live end-to-end tests on any browser or mobile device. Thanks guys!
I admit, code isn't top notch and needs lots of rewrites. Believe me or not, I already rewrote about three times in the last four years. Good example that software hardly can be perfect. And since I am already honest here, I think stability and bug fixes come first before perfection otherwise you'll loose users. Reality you know.
This planet is completely sold. And talk is overrated. That's why my primary goal is not to turn this into a commercial product, yet to promote a cool but underestimated language: Sign Language.