When I first heard of PKS, I wondered whether this is really gonna be of so much use, especially in the world of SharePoint. I mean, who would want to setup a site like YouTube on a SharePoint server?
Even today people would raise such questions but I am actually amazed at the number of client requests that I am coming across who want a site in their SharePoint intranet/blog/public website where they can simply upload a video and others can watch it plus have some additional social networking features such as rating and commenting a video, viewing the video publishers bio, tagging videos and searching based on keywords, show a thumbnail of every video uploaded etc. Imagine if you had to built such a site on SharePoint yourself? And for those who are still unaware, PKS is the solution for the above requirement and it provides even more features and configuration options.
Having made a couple of installations of PKS recently, I do admit that its not really just double clicking an .msi and you are ready. But the effort spent configuring it is well worth it if you have the requirement. I would say you need about 2 person days to set it up from scratch by following the quick installation guide that comes with the package, leaving configuration of search which would need another day and of course customizing the UI based on your needs would take its own time. PKS comes with its own masterpage and most likely you would want to change that so the PKS portal look and feel is consistent with the rest of your site. And the amount of customization you need decides time needed for your UI trimming but my guess is it should not take more than a couple of days. So you can have a Podcast Publishing Site up and running in about one work week. The effort saving and the value it adds to your website is just amazing. Have you tried video marketing with the products you make? I suggest this is a good time for that since print ads and ads on the telly probably don’t reach out to the customer bracket you want to approach and also what better way to sell your product by showcasing it on your own website without additional cost – directly to the person who has come there in search of it. When you do decide for that, go for PKS.
So what does PKS have – Insider tips:
- PKS installs a few pages, lists and some web parts on your SharePoint site when you run the setup.
- PKS stores the videos you upload to a network file share and not the SharePoint database so it wont overload your content DB.
- PKS offers features for Video Rating, Commenting, Viewing the Podcaster’s information, Reporting features on videos uploaded/viewed/downloaded etc, Automated thumbnail generation on video upload, integrated video conversion to Silverlight compatible format, mobile/zune/iPod/RSS support, tag clouds, search videos using tags, progressive playback of videos using Silverlight etc.
- Documentation for PKS is exhaustive, clear and precise which makes the setup experience extremely smooth and also empowers you to extend it. There are video tutorials too! In fact its so good, I really wonder why any one would actually read this blog post.
- It needs MOSS 2007. Won’t work on WSS 3.0.
- Microsoft Expression Encoder is needed for PKS to work. Thumbnail generation, duration detection and encoding to Silverlight are all done using that integrated into the PKS site.
- There is still a bug in the thumbnail generation process for videos which are initially not in compatible format but are converted using Expression Encoder. The thumbnail wont get generated in this case as the application that queues videos for encoding tries to generate a thumbnail first and encode later. Hope this gets rectified soon.
Tomorrow I will cover the basic steps in configuring a simple PKS site. But the real resource is on the CodePlex site itself.