Several months ago, a broadcaster asked me to provide a tool with a User Interface to upload, encode and manage assets with Azure Media Services. They wanted to easily, and without code, test our cloud encoding and streaming services before asking their developers to do the integration with their current system. The Azure Media Services management portal provides some of the features but has some limitations too (asset upload is limited, no possibility to call all the processors or to see detailed information on entities, not all API features are exposed, etc.). For a few months, the tool has been trialed by several customers and based on their feedback it is time to release it widely. So, I am pleased to announce the new Azure Media Services Explorer tool as an open source community project! It’s a Windows Forms tool based on the Azure Media SDKs that can be used by non-developers to test media workflows, monitor activities on their Azure Media Services accounts, or do just about anything that the full API allows you to do today without writing a line of code. You can find the installation package on http://aka.ms/amse. We are also pleased to announce that the full source code for this tool is published to GitHub as well to help you better learn our APIs and integrate features into your own applications. This sample tool will continue to evolve in the coming weeks and months. Check for updates! This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. Please report issues on GitHub and provide your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary of features
- Asset upload from files, folder, in batch mode, with a watch folder
- Asset import from Azure Storage or from any http source
- Asset download to local, and export to Azure Storage
- Asset files management (upload or delete) within an existing asset
- Duplicate/merge assets
- Encode with Azure Media Encoder (standard and custom presets, video stitching, audio or video overlay, etc)
- Extract keywords and TTML caption files with Media Indexer
- Generate thumbnails for your existing assets
- Call any Media Processor generically
- Manage jobs (progress, priority…)
- List all available processors in your account
- Enable live channels and programs (creation, start, stop, delete, reset)
- Live preview playback, program playback
- Dynamic encryption setup (AES, Common Encryption) and key/license delivery service
- SAS and streaming locators creation/deletion
- Playback assets with web based players (Silverlight, Flash, HTML5/Dash)
- Manage streaming endpoints management (creation, deletion, settings)
Display and reporting
- Display detailed information on assets (locators, protection), jobs (tasks), live channels, programs, streaming endpoints
- Send email report for jobs and assets
- Links to players and online documentation, and offline help file for Media Services
Note: you can select multiple assets, jobs, channels or programs for some features.
A first example with screen captures
Once installed, Explorer will ask for your Azure Media Services credentials. Create a media account if needed. Do not save your credentials if your PC/disk is not secured. Then upload a file from your local disk with the File/Upload menu. Once uploaded, select the asset and encode it with Azure Media Encoder. A job is submitted and you can follow its progress. You can choose the advanced mode for more encoding features (as described in this blog post from John Deutscher). The application ships the Azure Media Encoder presets as XML files. You can load one of them and edit it, or let the application change the XML data for you. You can use other processors like the Media Indexer, which does speech to text conversion. If you want to add content protection to the encoded asset, use the menu Publish/Add a dynamic encryption policy command. Then you can create a locator on the asset (publish menu) and display the URLs related to the asset.
To playback an asset, right click on an asset ad select the player you want to use. It will load a web hosted player page and pass the streaming URL to it. Please explore also how to manage live channels and programs…. Enjoy!