Broadcast Live event with multiple smartphone video camera setup

Friends I earlier wrote about Bandwidth bonding , video streaming apps , Facebook live streaming etc. Recently I was trying to find way to use multiple smartphone camera and produce a live event.

Professional broadcast facilities are available to connect broadcast cameras to switching system and telecast the event live but my objective was to use our smartphone camera and create a free or low cost solution for quality broadcast. Now Smartphone cameras can also give quality HD video output so use our smartphones and broadcast a live event.

multiple smartphone video camera setup


Task in mind

I wanted to receive live video from multiple smartphone camera into my laptop and use these live video sources for producing the live event. Then i wanted to stream this video output to either YouTube, Facebook or some other streaming server for public distribution.


Difficulties in setting up multiple smartphone video camera setup

  • How to connect smartphone video to laptop – Using USB wired connection will limit the distance of camera so i wanted to connect smartphone with my laptop through Wi-Fi network.
  • How to send live video from smartphone to laptop – Send live video from smartphone to laptop over wi-fi network requires video streaming so i used IP Webcam app to stream video from smartphone over local Wi-Fi network.
  • Application to receive video from multiple smartphone – In my earlier article about video production and streaming app, i discussed about some Wirecast, vMix and OBS. I selected vMix as this application is free and it can receive multiple video streams.

Create multiple Smartphone video camera setup

Task here is to send video from smartphone to laptop and collect all video stream. Produce the live event with these video streams and then sent it for streaming to server.

Live video from Smartphone to Laptop – I installed IP Webcam app in my smartphone. When you open the app, it shows multiple configuration options for camera. At the bottom of app , there is a button to Start server. Once you click this button, IP Webcam app starts streaming server which can stream live video from cam. The live video screen on IP Cam app shows the URL of the stream. When you type or paste that URL in any mobile or laptop, you get connected to IP Webcam app of streaming mobile.The page opened on browser shows multiple options to fetch the stream from smartphone to laptop.
If your mobile is connected through public network ( mobile network) , your laptop will fetch stream through public network. If your smartphone is connected through local wi-fi network then streaming ip address will be local address so mobile will not consume your internet data. So its better to connect all smartphone and laptop through local network.
If you are already in some local network with Wi-Fi then there is no problem.Connect laptop and all smartphone to local network. If you don’t have local Wi-Fi network then you use a separate ADSL also to have internet and Wi-Fi network.
Alternatively you can connect your laptop to internet and create Wi-Fi hotspot through your laptop. The smartphones can connect to this laptop hotspot and join together in one network.

Receive live smartphone video stream in vMix – Receiving the video stream in your laptop is quite easy. IP Webcam builds the stream URL like http://(smartphone ip):8080/video . In vMix application click on Add Input->Web Browser. Here you enter your smartphone stream URL. Set browser width and height equal to the incoming video stream width and height. Click ok to complete the setup. You will start receiving smartphone live video in vMix.
In the same manner you can configure other smartphone video also and then start producing the live event.

Stream produced video – For streaming the live event, you configure the stream parameters. Click on the gear icon on left side of Stream button at bottom application tray. This will open Streaming settings window.Select the stream destination and then set other parameters according to destination. Save the setting. Click on Stream button to start streaming.


Limitation of multiple smartphone video camera setup

Qualitatively smartphone camera gives good video but focus remains a issue during movement. Auto focus for video is not fast which gives little defocused video during movement so slow camera movement is advised. Smartphone camera is quite compact and light weight so careful camera handling for smooth pan/tilt movement is required.Distance of wireless operation between smartphone and laptop depend upon Wi-Fi signal strength so never go beyond Wi-Fi limits otherwise video will freeze.
Tilt and Pan operations need careful handling. But smooth Zoom operation is not possible with smartphone video camera. Its good to place smartphones with some stand in fixed position for stable and focused frame.


Advantage of multiple smartphone video camera setup

  • Cost effective solution with good quality video
  • Compact setup
  • Limited equipment requirement – Laptop, Smartphone, internet

Conclusion

Producing live event with broadcast quality equipment is quite costly. It requires skilled manpower, equipment and finally funds. If you can compromise little on quality , you can use smartphones for live event. Just take care of smartphone camera handling, your video will look great.

Facebook Live from your Laptop – How To

Social media is playing key role in connecting with people. Day by Day World is narrowing down with more connectivity. Video, Audio, Images and Text messages can be sent to large group of people in seconds. Information sharing is much more convenient with different social media tools. Social media tools and network bandwidth together open options for more and more facilities. Now it is possible to organize a live event on Facebook. You can stream live video to Facebook servers which publish your content to your Facebook page.

How to do Facebook Live

First look at the requirements for live streaming to Facebook servers.

  1. Facebook account
  2. Good quality network connection
  3. Video source – Laptop inbuilt camera or use external camera or video capture
  4. Video encoding and streaming application

Lets discuss above points to understand the process better.

  • You can stream video to your Facebook page. So you must have an account on Facebook.
  • Good quality network connection is essential for video streaming. In case of video streaming , video content is uploaded to Facebook server so demand for upload speed matters a lot. How much upload speed you need? This depends upon the quality of video you want to upload. Quality of video depends upon video encoding parameters.If you compress more, quality will be lower. So understand the encoding parameters for maintaining good quality for your captured video. Generally 2 Mbps stream is good for general purpose but professional broadcast require more bandwidth which depends upon video resolution and compression parameters.
  • You can get video from single camera or multi-camera setup. Your laptop can capture video from inbuilt camera or you can use external USB camera also. In case of multi camera setup, collect the final output of multi camera setup ( produced output) and capture the video through some capture device. Multiple video capture devices are available in market. Blackmagic Intensity shuttle can be a good choice to capture external video.Its drives are supported by most of the applications.
  • Finally you need some application to encode video and encapsulate for streaming. In my last article about Video streaming applications, I discussed some of widely used application. My choice here is Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS) as this is completely free for usage.

Facebook Live – In few Steps

  • Connect your Laptop with internet.For safe side, test your network speed also so that video stream goes smoothly to Facebook server.You video data upload limits should be less than the average upload speed of network otherwise frames will be dropped and freezing will be observed in live video.
  • Open video streaming application. I am giving example here with Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS). Add video source to your OBS. Click on + button in Sources, then select Video Capture device->Create New. A pop up window will emerge which will show capture devices.From the drop down window, select your video capture device.Your video will be visible in preview window. You can then cut it for final output.
  • Now you need to configure video stream.Click on Settings button on right side. The settings window has option for Stream settings.Following settings need to be done.
    • Stream Type – Streaming Services
    • Service – Facebook Live
    • Server – Default
    • Stream Key – You will get this stream key from Facebook configuration page.After necessary configuration on Facebook page, collect the stream key and paste that here.

OBS Facebook live stream settings

  • Now login to your Facebook account and go to Facebook page where you want to do Live video streaming.
    • In Top menu option, Click on Publishing Tools
    • Publishing tools page will open. In left side menu, click on Videos
    • In this Videos section,click on +Live button to create a Facebook Live
    • A popup window will emerge showing the stream url. Stream Url consist of two parts. First part is Facebook server url and other is stream key. You copy this URL and stream key because this will be required for configuration in your streaming application.
    • Facebook live stream
  • Now go back to OBS and paste this stream key into OBS stream settings. Click apply and then OK.
  • Your system is now ready for Live video stream to Facebook. You can now click on Start Streaming in OBS. Without live stream signal, Facebook page shows Offline status which changes to Live after server receives live stream.

Facebook Live configuration is just for getting the unique streaming URL. Some other settings on Facebook page is like Title, description of live event which you can apply as per your requirement. The video streaming applications requires Facebook streaming URL ( complete URL or just stream key) which you may apply as per your application.

I hope, you would have got a broader idea of Facebook Live Event.

Hindi Voice Typing in your Laptop or PC

Efforts for efficient voice typing were going on for last several years but quality of outcome through these applications were not very accurate. But Google  developed a very efficient voice typing tool which support Hindi voice typing also. After testing this tool, some of my observations are:

  • This Google tool for Hindi voice typing is quite efficient. Its accuracy for voice to text conversion is more than 90 percent. Larger part of speech is correctly interpreted.
  • Punctuation need to be inserted later after voice to text conversion.
  • Speed of voice to text conversion is very good. You can maintain your normal communication speed in this tool. You can say its quite fast in understanding voice and printing text.
  • You can use your laptop inbuilt microphone for voice input or you can use external mic as well. External sound affects the application response so it is advisable to use headset mic in noisy places to get better voice to text conversion result.

How to use Google Hindi Voice Typing

google hindi voice typing

For Hindi voice typing in your laptop or PC, you can use Google online voice typing tool which is accessible from Google Docs. Lets see the whole process in steps.

  • You need internet connection and Google account.
  • Go to Google Docs https://docs.google.com
  • Login with your google login ID
  • After login into Google Docs, create a new blank document
  • A text editor window will emerge with text editing tools.
  • Now go to Tools and then Voice typing..
  • A control box will emerge on left side of document.
  • In this control box, first select the language as Hindi.
  • Now click on Microphone symbol to activate voice to text conversion.
  • Once you finish speech, click on microphone symbol again to deactivate voice to text conversion.
  • After Hindi voice typing, you can start document editing work.

Whatever you type on Google Docs can be saved directly into Google Drive or sent to email or as email attachment. You can download document also as docx, pdf, txt etc. This way you can easily create your document by dictation and later do further editing for finalization.

What is Virtual Studio?

Virtual Studio is quite common among Television production studios. For common man, daily TV News bulletins or discussion looks highly attractive with the decorative and colorful studio setup. Most of the people are not aware that the building or other creative structure looking behind the Anchor is all virtual. These are just created graphically. It is possible to show a News reader sitting at Taj Mahal and reading the daily bulletin. A discussion can look like as recorded in front of Eiffel tower. Nowadays, most of the News channels are using Virtual Studio for daily News bulletin and current affair discussions.

Why Virtual Studio is required?

Normally physical sets are created for recording television programmes. If some discussion program related to health need a background, then some of the pictures of related matter are printed on cloth or flex material and erected on wooden or iron structure. This is placed at the backside. It creates a background for recording video.

Disadvantage with physical sets – Several programmes are recorded in a single studio so creating a physical structure for each program is not economical as well as not feasible to erect in short interval of time.

Advantage with physical sets – If studio area can be spared for maintaining or creating a physical set for longer duration, mean it need to be disturbed daily, then physical sets may be created. Physical sets are real in nature hence they have higher depth of field. They don’t need much technology for creating background so cheap in short term. Video recordings where large recording area is used, it is a costly affair to create a Virtual Studio for sizeable area.

So Virtual Studios are normally part of News studio where multiple bulletins are there and different discussion programmes are recorded. So a small studio can also be used in different looks for each program and each look or background can be changed in minutes.

Technology involved in Virtual Studio.

Here comes the concept of video background and foreground. In general, normal studio sets are for creating background and other accessories like table, chair, Anchor are foreground of a video.

So here comes the two part of any video. First is foreground and another is the background.

Final recorded video = Foreground video + Background video.

Look at the picture shown below.

virtual studio background

VIRTUAL BACKGROUND

virtual studio foreground

FOREGROUND

virtual studio final video

FINAL PICTURE

Above picture clearly shows how the foreground is superimposed on a background. Now apply same thing for video production. In a still picture, this looks quite simple but video makes it little complicated.

Here look at the foreground picture. It has a blue background that is replaced by background image for creating the final image.

When video is recorded with some single-color background like blue and background is replaced by a still image, the process is called Chroma Keying in Video production. Chroma keying is an old process where a still picture replaces the background of video.

Video is a sequence of images. It changes with time, and changes can be through different aspects of video. If there is zoom-in, then object comes closer, if there is zoom out, then object goes further in the video frame. Therefore, due to camera zoom operations, foreground object looks closer or further in the video frame. Similarly, camera position also changes the video frame so overall two parameters change the video frame. First is the zoom operation and other is the position of the camera in three-dimensional space.

In the old Chroma keying process, in spite of changes in the foreground video due to change in camera position or zoom, background images remain same and still. It clearly gives some impression like a still image pasted on a blue background.

With the development of technology, this Chroma keying process is advanced and now background image also changes in the same fashion as foreground video changes. For example, when camera zooms-in then as foreground video zooms in similarly background image (Graphics) also zooms in the same ratio. So all changes which take place for foreground video, the same changes are applied to background video ( graphics generated through computer) and then foreground and background video are mixed as Chroma keying. This creates a normal studio into Virtual studio.

Foreground video is the final output of multi camera studio setup. Background video is generated by a high end graphics machine in real time. This graphics machine receives space coordinate and zoom position of the camera continuously. The graphics video output changes in the same manner as the coordinates of camera position and zoom changes. So the correlation between foreground video and background video is maintained by a tracking mechanism. Once virtual background is superimposed on foreground video, resultant video makes a Virtual Studio a reality.

This Article is highly simplified in terms of technology so that reader may understand the concept of Virtual Studio.

Paper Jam in Printer – Care Two Things in Rainy Season

paper-jam-in-printerDuring the rainy season and humid climate condition , computer printers are mostly stuck with paper jam. This Paper Jam is a common phenomenon which occurs with most of us at some point of time. When print command is passed from computer to printer, printer print LED starts blinking .This reflects that computer communication with printer and printer acceptance to print data is going on. These things are purely electrical in nature and not affected with the weather conditions.

Weather conditions affect mechanical parts inside the printer and print papers.

Computer printers have numbers of mechanical parts which help in taking the paper inside, moving the paper through the internal route , rollers actions of printer , ejection of papers etc. Mechanical parts are affected with the weather conditions and affects results more when dealing with the delicate materials like papers.

Paper Jam – What to be done:

Heavy duty printers are coming with initial test which warms all the paper mechanism inside the printer so problems like paper jam are in bit control. But normal printers need care.

Keep check on the humidity
– This is either controlled if printer is installed in air conditioned space or separate heating arrangement is done. Sometime external heating with hanging a light lamp for some time help in removing moisture of the printer.

This has to be remembered that moist parts of printer affect for initial few prints only later the printer warms up with the initial prints so the probability of moisture related problem especially paper jam is less after certain prints.

Printing Paper – Due to weather conditions the print papers absorb moisture so the whole bunch of papers becomes sticky. Whenever any print command is given , the printer roller tries to fetch a single paper and rolls it through the internal mechanism for printing then ejects it to out tray. When print papers are moist then sometimes multiple papers are fetched inside the printer and stuck in the internal parts of printer. This is the main cause of Paper jam. Even if single paper is fetched it may not roll straight through the path and tear inside due to moist condition.

So it is necessary to keep dry papers in the paper tray. Specially during the first print, keep only single paper so as to avoid multiple paper fetch.

If your printer is stuck with paper jam , don’t try to pull the paper immediately .There are levers which release the gears of printer and paper can be pulled outside without pulling that from tightly hold conditions. So check your printer for paper release mechanism and pullout. Restart your printer to refresh any error stored in memory.

These small precautions may save your papers ,printer and precious time spent over the printing task. So avoid paper jam for your printer and save printer life.

How to use Google Handwriting Input for Android smartphone

Technology is improving day by day. Old type-writers are now completely replaced by computers. Even methods for Typing text over computers and smartphones is also changing very fast. Smartphones which were equipped with just virtual keyboard are getting different alternatives for text input. Experts were trying for handwriting and voice input method for last several years. Now handwriting input tool has reached to a mature level where users can conveniently use it.

Google handwriting input tool

Several smartphone users find problem in using virtual keyboard as the keys are quite small. Similarly voice input has problem of picking surrounding noise. So the handwriting input method looks most challenging alternative to all other methods. Handwriting input is quite a user friendly method for text input.

Now Google has a given a next level of text input method , i.e Google handwriting input. It is more intuitive and fast for text input. At present it support 82 languages .After installation Google handwriting input tool becomes part of Android system so you can use this input method on any application and it works with or without internet connection.

What is Google Handwriting input

As the name suggest, handwriting tool works same as we write on paper. Only difference is that we write on some touch sensitive electronic device which read the written text and convert it to print text. The Google handwriting input tool is intelligent and sensitive tool for reading handwritten text.

You can install Google handwriting input tool in your Android phone and activate it. Once you configure , you get one more option to input text in your Android smartphone. Generally people use android keyboard to input text by using virtual keys of keyboard. In Google handwriting input, you don’t have to push virtual keys. You just need to write text with your finger or stylus on the touch screen. Your handwritten text is interpreted by Google handwriting input application and displayed on the screen.

Google handwriting input tool is quite fast in recognizing handwritten text. There is no noticeable delay. It is designed quite intelligently so that it can recognize and interpret different types of handwriting properly. It recognizes independent characters and cursive writing also.It is quite useful for complex languages like Hindi and other south Asian languages which use complex script for keyboard input.

How to use Google Handwriting input in Android smartphone

First check that your Android smartphone has Google Handwriting Input installed or not. If Google handwriting input is not installed then go to Google play store and download it. After downloading and installing Google Handwriting Input, your smartphone gets capability of handwriting recognition. For using this app, first activate the Google handwriting input method.

One important thing to keep in mind is that Google handwriting input converts handwritten text into active language of your android system. If system language is English, handwritten text is interpreted as per English vocabulary. If android system language is Hindi then handwritten text is interpreted as per Hindi vocabulary. If the vocabulary for particular language is not available in system, then Google handwriting input downloads additional package.

activate Google handwriting input

Activate Google handwriting input

Go to “Settings -> Languages & input -> Google Handwriting Input”. Select Google Handwriting Input option to activate it.

How to switch between Google handwriting input and other input method?
If Google handwriting input is active then you can press globe button to open keyboard option.Alternatively you can long press space-bar to open keyboard options.
If other keyboard is active then long press space-bar to open keyboard options.

How to use more languages?
In the settings section, go to Input Languages. You can turn off system language and choose any other language.Google handwriting input will now recognize handwritten work of other language.

How to enter spaces between words?
You can enter spaces between words by tapping the space-bar. The recognizer automatically inserts space also based on understanding of previously entered text. This works efficiently for commonly used words.

Advantage of using Google handwriting input tool

Google Handwriting input tool is result of technological advancement and it provides a latest convenient way to input text in the smartphone.

  • You can enter text in your style of writing text.
  • You need not to switch between virtual keyboards for entering different types of character like numeral, small and capital alphabets , comma, slash etc .Google handwriting input understands all type of characters which were part of virtual keyboard.
  • Your speed of text input can be better by writing text on touch screen instead of moving finger for different virtual keys.
  • People who find inconvenience in typing over virtual keyboard will be highly benefited as they just need to enter text as they write on paper.

How does CloudFlare and MaxCDN differ in CDN operation

CloudFlare and MaxCDN are both providing CDN services along with some added features. Both have few specific qualities which keep them always competitive. Generally CDN’s are desired for improved performance and then other features like security come into role.At first, I like to discuss the basic idea of website delivery without CDN and then go into the CloudFlare and MaxCDN delivery concepts.

How webpage is loaded in browser

This is the first basic question which we should be aware of before going into other details. I don’t want to display a complicated picture of webpage loading by going into several technical terms but I just want to convey basic concept of website loading into the browser so that CDN concepts can be understood easily.

When we enter the website URL in browser, it collects IP address of the web server which is hosting that website.

How browser finds IP address of webhost?

There are several places where IP address of web host is available. Browser maintain few record, your router maintains few record, and your ISP maintain few record. These are nearest places which can provide IP address of web host. If address is not available in your proximity, then next level of domain name servers are contacted. This is a chain process where a next higher level of authority is contacted for getting the IP address of particular domain name.

Once the IP address of web host is resolved, browser sends request to that IP address for particular webpage which is then served by the web server. Each webpage consists of several components like JavaScript, CSS files, images, html file etc. The main HTML file is served at the beginning which connects to all the linking documents. This HTML file is served by webhost and linking documents are served from their corresponding host. The linking documents may be stored in same server or some other server therefore the URL of each linking document can tell you its web hosting location. If you enter any website URL in Pingdom tool and check the attached documents to particular webpage then you may understand that most of the static contents like images, JavaScript, CSS files etc are stored on same webhost ( If CDN is not used) . Few third party scripts like Google fonts, Google plus badge, Facebook Like box etc connect your webpage from their own third party servers.

So the browser collects HTML page, linking document and complies everything to form your webpage. The process of webpage render by browser is itself a topic of interest but I am confining it within few words to avoid unnecessary diversion from the topic.

How does website work without CDN

webpage delivery without CDN

The last paragraph tells us briefly about website loading. Let’s forget about third party component. Assume that webpage has html, JavaScript, CSS and images. All these images, CSS, JavaScript is linked in the html file. Browsers receives html file and fetch all its linked documents thereon. This way all the components are received at the client side where browser renders the webpage.

How does MaxCDN work

After the above discussion, the webpage loading processes are understood little better. In the above case of webpage loading without CDN, if we add few techniques to host those CSS, JavaScript and images in a different server and browser download those files from their corresponding servers then it can benefit us by reducing the number of files transferred by webhost. Why should we do it? Generally webserver has resource limitation, especially in case of shared hosting so time to transfer these static files from server to browser increases due to server responses hence we can transfer these static files like images, JavaScript, CSS to other fast server and serve them from those location instead of webhost. How we can do it? We know that static components are linked in html files therefore upload those static resources on CDN server and change their corresponding linking URL in HTML file so that they are served from other fast servers instead of web host.

webpage delivery with maxcdn

When we configure MaxCDN, we change the URL of static component which we plan to host on MaxCDN. This URL changing process is through applications. If your primary domain is example.com then these applications just change the primary domain URL to MaxCDN server URL. The browser do not find any difference for total number of downloaded files so webpage rendering is done similarly.

How does CloudFlare Work

The CloudFlare operation is little different. It takes control of complete website. CloudFlare servers acts like proxy servers. When we activate CloudFlare, all the primary domain requests are terminated at CloudFlare servers. This is done by changing the name server record.

So all the URL requests land on CloudFlare server which initially check for the security issues and then it check for cached components available in CloudFlare server. Generally CloudFlare does not cache html so the html file request is completed by your web host. CloudFlare applications automatically read all the linked documents of your webpage. CloudFlare cache static components which are hosted in your web server. Third party static components are not cached by CloudFlare.

So this way, only HTML file is served by web server .Other static component, hosted at the web server are now served by CloudFlare CDN servers from their cache.

webpage delivery except html with cloudflare

CloudFlare has option to cache everything in their Custom cache option available in the page rules settings. If you cache everything then CloudFlare servers maintain cache of all type of files like html, css, js etc. In this case, CloudFlare servers serve all the resources (except third party resources) for webpage. This option completely isolates your web server for public delivery of webpages. This improves speed of delivery but it is useful only for webpages which contain static kind of information. Dynamic webpages like admin pages, login pages etc should not be served from CDN.

complete webpage delivery with cloudflare

I think the above discussion would have given basic idea of CloudFlare and MaxCDN operation. You can use both the CDN simultaneously also.

How to create website with Drupal 8 – Website configuration

After you install Druapl 8, you can login into Drupal system as administrator. Administrator is top most authority for this Drupal 8 installation who has all the rights of user management, configuration etc. Drupal 8 has lot of options and features which are configured by the administrator or other authorized users. Configuration sections has options for general settings of the website and it can be accessed from Primary menu.

Drupal 8 website configuration

Drupal 8 website configuration

System

  • Site Information – These are general settings for Drupal 8 system like website name, slogan, default front page and error pages etc
  • Cron – Drupal 8 runs certain tasks periodically like update check, content indexing to search engines etc. You can set time interval for cron or run the cron manually.

Media

Each website use different media types like images,video etc . Administrator can set different styles for images like small image, medium image, large image etc. There are multiple effects available like crop, resize, rotate,scale etc which can be applied on uploaded image.

REGIONAL AND LANGUAGE

As the name suggest, administrator can set default time zone, country and date/time for this website.

PEOPLE

As you will see that there is a People section in primary menu also which has option for Drupal 8 user management and access control but the People option in Configuration section has general settings for user management.

There are certain general settings for user registration and cancellation. You can configure different types of email messages for account activation, cancellation, password recovery etc.

There is one important thing to remember about the user registration. The default user registration form has few fields like user name, password, email etc. If you want to collect additional information during user registration, you can add more fields by Add field option in Manage Fields tab.

DEVELOPMENT

  • There is one important setting in this section i.e Performance . As we know that Drupal 8 is a complex system and dynamic page generation may take time so its better that visitors are supplied information from the cached content. Page Caching drastically improves the performance of website.
  • Drupal 8 also provides option to aggregate CSS and JS files which is essential for reducing the number of http request. In my point of view, you must select the caching option and CSS/JS aggregate option for better performance.
  • You also get option to put website in maintenance mode.

There are few other options Like RSS publishing , search and meta information etc for Drupal 8 website configuration which you can explore easily.

I hope , you could have understood the basic set of options in the Drupal 8 website configuration section.

How to build a website with Drupal 8

Drupal 8 is improved a lot over its previous versions.It is mobile friendly, feature rich, highly configurable, secure and highly extensible for various requirements. Before going further, let me briefly describe Drupal 8. First basic question may be What is Drupal, How it is different.

drupal 8 logoDrupal is a Content management system. You may treat it as framefork also but let me confine this discussion to Drupal 8 as CMS. There are several open source CMS like WordPress, Joomla etc. Basic purpose of all CMS is same i.e Content management but they all differ for the features they provide to users. WordPress is most simple with limited development features. On the other hand Drupal 8 is a feature rich CMS and offers lot of options for complex site development.

Initially Drupal 8 system look slightly complex but little understanding of terms and system makes it easier. Drupal complexity benefits users by offering several configuration options which other CMS does not so use Drupal 8 if you want to develop some website which is more than just few article pages or more than just a blog.

Creating a website with Drupal 8 requires basic understanding of Drupal system. If you understand Drupal 8 way of working, then you can create highly complex website easily. Drupal 8 has a core which includes kernel and several other modules.Core internal system includes routing of url requests, loading of files,modules,libraries,database etc. Core modules provides several inbuilt features like user, node (primary element which store individual content), taxonomy, forum, search, view etc.

In other terms,Drupal is flexible for adding new features , Drupal is flexible for look and feel of website. If you want to have some feature which is not available in default core package then you can download specific module for new feature and install it. Similarly you can change look and feel of website by changing the theme. Different types of themes are available for Drupal 8 website.

Lets start understaing the Drupal 8 system

Drupal 8 administration

The above Diagram shows different menu options available in Drupal 8 admin panel. Different features of Drupal 8 are divided among these categories.I just briefly state each of these option so that you can have basic idea of Drupal 8 administration.

  • Help – This section is for different help topics
  • Reports – The reports section provides options for different reports like error log,message log, available update etc.
  • People – This is place where you have options for user management. In addition, you can create different roles and accord permission to each role for specific task of website.
  • Configuration – This has options for configuration of website standard parameters like website name, email, region settings, date & time settings etc.
  • Extend – This section shows different modules installed in your Drupal 8 system.You can add new module, remove existing modules and activate/deactivate installed module.
  • Appearance – This section shows the installed themes in the system. You have option to install new theme, remove existing theme and control different parameters of theme for look and feel of website.
  • Content – This section has option for creating and managing content for website.Similarly you have option for comment management and file management in this section. Content may be just a Article for most of content management system but it has much broader role in Drupal 8 system. Content can be blog post, user profile, job posting,product review, product detail etc. Here these are different content type. Why are these different? Because each one has different fields for content insertion. A content type for a product detail may have fields like product pics, product title, product rating, product price, product specification, discount etc. Different types of website has their own specific content and its responsibility of Content management system to store content in database. You require a form to insert content in database and each form can have different fields.So the group of fields in a form represents specific information i.e content type. Most of the content management system provide only one type of content i.e article but drupal allows you to create multiple content type with each having specific input fields. The structure section of Drupal 8 administration allows you to create content type which we will see in next structure section.
  • Structure – This is the heart of Drupal 8 system. It allows to create structure of website. There may be a question ? What are the elements which define the structure of a website.
    • What type of information you want to display in your website – Create Content type
    • How you wish to group or link your content – Create Taxonomy
    • Each webpage has multiple section in template i.e Header, footer, sidebar etc.It means that webpage can be divided among multiple blocks so what you want to display in each block – Configure block in Block Layout
    • Where and how you want to display menu on webpage – Create and configure Menus
    • You created content type to store different types of information in database. But how you like to display information to viewers. – Create Views
    • Each site has contact us page. What fields you would like to display and how you like to display contact us page – Create and configure Contact forms.
    • Mostly websites include a comment system in their page to get feedback on their information. There are lot of parameters for a comment system. How can you create a specific comment system for you site – Create Comment types.

So in this way Drupal 8 allows you to control each and every bit of structural element. I will discuss each of the section in detail later but the broad idea of Drupal 8 system is must to avoid confusion while learning.

I will suggest users that first you check out easiest things then slowly move further. Drupal 8 has lot of features , dont get confused. First understand different sections of admin menu. I can say that first you develop understanding on sections Help, Extend, appearance, configuration,Reports,People. These six sections can be understood easily. Then you move on content section where default content types Article and Basic Page are available.Just create a sample article or basic page and view that individual piece of content on page.

The most crucial part is Structure. It takes some time to understand and practise. First you create a content type with simple fields.Then go again to Content section and add content. Here you select your recently created Content Type.Now insert some info in the fields.Check the saved result.

This is the begineing of Drupal 8 administration. I will discuss each of the section in next few articles. I hope that i could convey some understanding to reader. My objective is to convey basic understanding in simple terminology.

How to use Phalcon PHP in shared hosting server

The first and most useful aspect of Phalcon PHP framework is the performance benefit over other php frameworks. Phalcon PHP is much faster than other php frameworks. Phalcon is available as php extension and it loads together with the php on the web server. So the classes and functions of Phalcon are readily available at any moment. This gives the performance benefit to this emerging php framework.

phalcon php in shared hosting

PHP developement with phalcon is similar to other php framework but there is difference in the way of using framework. Every framework has lot of libraries for different purposes and developers include those libraries for creating an application. But Phalcon is slightly different. It is available as PHP extension so you need to install that extension in server.

So the first step for use of Phalcon PHP in shared hosting is to install the phalcon on server. If you are using phalcon on windows server then Phalcon PHP dll files are available at Phalcon Download page. Correct phalcon dll as per your php version and windows X86 or X64 version can be downloaded.

If you want to use Phalcon PHP in shared hosting linux server then you need to compile the extension for linux server and then install it. If you are using Virtual Private Server (VPS) or dedicated server then you have root server access so you can compile the Phalcon at server and then install it.But in case of shared hosting, users don’t have root server access so its not possible to compile Phalcon at server.

How to use Phalcon in shared hosting

The alternate approach may be to compile phalcon externally in some local server and then install the compiled extension in php extension directory of shared hosting.After installation of phalcon extension, create necessary entry for this extension in php.ini file. The php.ini resides in root directory of your shared hosting.

Compile Phalcon PHP for Linux

The Phalcon download page gives sufficient information for compiling Phalcon PHP in different linux operating system. In our case, we compiled locally in one of our CentOS linux server. After compilation, one .so file is created. This is the compiled phalcon extension which need to be installed for using Phalcon PHP in shared hosting server.

Install Phalcon extension in shared hosting server

  • Copy the compiled Phalcon extension in one of the directory of shared hosting server space
  • Add this phalcon extension in PHP.

The phalcon.so or the compiled .so file need to be uploaded to your web server. The root directory of your shared hosting space has a php folder. Inside this php folder, there is another folder ext. This is the appropriate place for keeping the php extension so copy the phalcon.so file in this php/ext folder. The path of root directory is something like /home14/findurlaptop .So the path of our phalcon extension will be /home14/findurlaptop/php/ext/phalcon.so .

Add Phalcon extension in PHP

Open the php.ini file and add this line of code to include phalcon extension in php.
extension=/home14/findurlaptop/php/ext/phalcon.so

The correct path of phalcon extension is very important.It is not necessary to keep the Phalcon extension in one particular directory but wherever you place this extension its path must be correct otherwise PHP will not be able to load it.