Since hosting your own video takes up both space and bandwidth, many Rapidweaver users opt to use a third party service like YouTube or Vimeo to do it for them. As a result there are plenty of ways to bring videos hosted on these popular services into Rapidweaver either singly or – more unusually – as part of a slideshow. Where YouPlay differs is that it allows you to import users and albums from Vimeo and playlists and channels from YouTube and display them automatically in a nice, responsive grid or list layout. This layout can be tabbed at the top so you can include different playlists, channels, users and albums in the same stack.
Let’s take it for a spin.
YouPlay comes as a single stack – just drag it out onto a Stacks 3 page and preview it and you’ll see it’s already populated with videos from a YouTube demo album. To replace this with your own set of videos you’ll need to do a couple of things.
First job is to get something called an API key – this is a unique code that ‘tells’ either YouTube or Vimeo that it’s OK to share videos on your site via the YouPlay stack. Configuring these is a tedious but necessary process and one where the specifics change from time to time (otherwise we’d include a simple step-by-step).
Second job is to get the link from either YouTube or Vimeo that ‘points’ to where your videos are stored and defines whether they’re organised into albums, channels or whatever.
Once you’ve done that you can start to explore the various layout options that YouPlay supports. By default, Pop-up is selected, and this displays video thumbnails in a responsive grid – click on a video and it opens in a lightbox, ready to be played in place. Selecting the Inline layout duplicates the grid style but places the selected thumbnail at the top, ready to be played. The final layout is the same as the first, except that clicking a thumbnail takes you straight to YouTube so the visitor can play the video from there. If the grid layout doesn’t suit, videos can be arranged in a vertical list (with plenty of room for descriptions at the side) or in a two column list. The option to add more channels/albums means that you can pack an awful lot of video into a small space, making YouPlay suitable for displaying quite large libraries of videos.
You can change the font used by the stack along with the static and hover colours of various items, set the background colour, border, as well as opting to remove the header; this gives you a fair amount of control over the appearance of the stack, allowing you to ensure it blends nicely with your chosen them.
The other significant feature of course is that by bringing in albums, channels and playlists in this way, the stack will display new videos as they’re added to YouTube or Vimeo, which is very useful whether you’re running a personal site or one that a client needs to be able to update.
This is very inexpensive way to get a video library hosted on either Vimeo or YouTube up and running on your website that you can then update yourself. If there was an easier way to grab those initial API keys it would be even easier to recommend, but even so, YouPlay is a powerful video stack that’s well worth the money.