Serving media files to iPad/iPhone on Domino part 1


“We want a video library application” they said

“No problem, can be done” I said

“Bad iPad” I screamed!

the lines above are a  little summary of what happened the last few days. At the office  I’m building  a web application which is used to serve Video files. Everything worked fine except for iPhone and iPad devices. I needed to get it working. At first I thought it was a simple encoding issue. So I grabbed my MediaInfo installation, checked the codec information on the mp4 file(s) and spotted that the wrong baseline was used. It was 4 and according to the official apple sources the baseline level needs to be 3.0 (source). So I re-encoded the file and uploaded the new version. I fired up the iPad and noted that the file still didn’t work. Ah! Maybe it was browser caching . So I renamed the file, uploaded it and again.. nothing. On all devices/browser it worked (ie 9, firefox, chrome, safari on windows, my android phone..) except for the freaking iPad!

So being out of options the only thing I could do was head over to stackoverflow and ask my question there. And so I did. Here I present to you a possible solution:

The server needs to support byte-range requests for the mobile Safari ( which is installed on iOs devices ) to be able to play video files using HTML 5.  Byte-range requests? What are byte-range requests I here you think. Actually its fairly easy to explain.

A byte range request is actually nothing more then sending only a little part of the complete file to the client (more). To be able to support this feature a server must react on the range request header and send the Accept-Ranges header accordingly. Because I didn’t know of this requirement I was really puzzled to why the file played correctly on my local Apache install and not on my domino server. To make it even more exciting I tested the following situations

Description Result
File resource Correct
File resource in domino/html Correct
File attachment on document Fail!

As you can see for some reason when serving attachments to the browser the correct headers are not send to the browser. I tried to add them by website rules but of course this failed. Since the system needs to support it as well. So I checked back my question on Stackoverflow to see if there where new additions. And Sven added a little code resource to his answer which actually does exactly that what I wanted.

The code example uses a servlet to serve the file using the range headers if it was requested or the full file if not. I’ve adapted the code and changed it a bit so it is usable for the domino server ( see part 2 for the full code example and explanation ). When you call the code in a beforerenderresponse event with the following line

it will serve the correct file with byte-range support! How cool is that!

In the next Part I will explain to you which code I used and will show you what I changed to get it working for Domino/XPages