Feb 21, 2008

A ClipShare Review

A few months ago, I was working with this software called ClipShare, which is a PHP video-sharing software like YouTube. Essentially it lets you create a YouTube clone.

This software is horrible. It is poorly coded, insecure, unmaintainable and unscalable. It is in PHP4 (EDIT: PHP4 is now considered legacy software, and is no longer supported by Zend, the company who makes PHP) and does not take advantage of any of the "object-oriented" features of the language. If you're looking for a software that you can just dump in and ignore, then ClipShare MIGHT be a solution, until somebody injects SQL somewhere or your site actually grows. It uses $_REQUEST everywhere, including in SQL strings, which means somebody could put SQL in a cookie and have it wreck your DB. It uses Smarty templates, which are designed to separate the view from the application code. Ta da, it is a bare-bones MVC architecture, minus the M part and you have to learn a new syntax/language to program the views. It also doesn't interface very well with PHP, you can only call functions and so ClipShare gives us a gigantic 3000+ line function.php file. Ever heard of modularization?

ClipShare just dumps all the files of one type in one place. Suppose you have 12 images per video, which is 4 thumbs for an animation and 3 different sizes, then you get 1000 videos on your site. That's 12 000 thumbs in one folder, which means your filesystem is going to be running crazy slow. On top of that, it must synchronize files between servers, which takes even longer. Triple the number of videos to 3000 and you've got 36 000 files in one folder. This isn't actually possible with ext3 (the standard Linux filesystem) unless you recompile your kernel, since the maximum is something like 32 000 and so thumbs will just stop being created. Now you have to re-arrange your file structure and find every place in your code that uses thumbs - since ClipShare doesn't centralize these sorts of things, it's all over the place - and organize it so that everything isn't in the same folder. Lot's of work, and time well wasted.

At this point we have completely recoded the site and cleaned out anything that was there from the ClipShare code. The only thing left is the names of variables and database tables, which are retarded (who calls a users table signup?). Unfortunately we might have to do another recode, since the server layout won't really scale very well. If you're looking to do a YouTube clone, you're better off getting a bunch of good programmers together and coding your own site from scratch.

UPDATE: Since I'm not working on it anymore, I feel it's safe to say that the site I was working on was Pornhub.com. And I can assure you (despite the fact that they still use a view_video.php for SEO reasons) that there is not a scrap of ClipShare code on that site anymore.

ANOTHER UPDATE: For those who care, I wrote a post describing to some degree how we recoded our site.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I'm not interested in coding another video sharing app, sorry.

35 comments:

IcyLiquid said...

I feel your pain sir. AFramework to the rescue perhaps ;)

Eric said...

whoever worked with that software is a real sucker!

Steven Eng said...

well, if clip-share is to be believed, godtube.com and pornhub.com (adult) are examples of very scaled clip-share run sites.

IllegalCharacter said...

For me, godtube doesn't actually load, it just hangs and then can't connect (excellent example) and if you look at any of pornhub's pages, it says "main.php?action=". Clipshare doesn't have a main.php. Which means that the pornhub makers have completely gutted anything Clipshare out of there. Sucks to be them to have to rebuild their site!

Crirus said...

Hi

Nice review :)

Helps me with my own video share application built form scratch.


If anyone is looking for such code, find me: crirus

Fernando Oliveira said...

I'm currently on the "hate" side of the equation. Bought ClipShare 3.0 some time ago and currently dishing out money to get the damn thing working/looking properly. I wouldn’t mind spending the money, except that it’s just such a damn buggy program with the client support is down right crap. But what other options are there? Is anyone using one of the (many) other scripts? I’ve considered buying one of the scripts listed below, but it just seems like a crapshoot to me. Anyone have any suggestions? Anyone interested in joining up to either fix up ClipShare or create a new one from scratch?

Fern

-Rayzz (http://products.agriya.com/rayzz/demo/)

-Video Watch (http://demo.videowatchpro.com/)

-Media Max (http://mediamax.isoftscripts.com/)

Crirus said...

Sure I have, skype me: crirus

IllegalCharacter said...

I've done my own video-sharing one (we dumped ClipShare and wrote our own version with a lot more features). It didn't actually take very long, you can use modern web frameworks like CakePHP or symfony to do it in no time.

I'd love to help roll a new one, but after using ClipShare and then writing my own video sharing software, I'm getting sick of working with videos...maybe in a little while.

One thing that really makes ClipShare a nightmare is that the code is a mess. If they had some sort of structure to it, it'd be much more easily maintainable so that people could actually fix the stupid bugs in their software.

Fern said...

illegalcharacter: when u say "It didn't actually take very long", just how long are do you think it would take and how much u think it would cost to hire someone to do it? thx.

crirus: I don't use Skype. Feel free to send me an email via the address on my profile.

Crirus said...

try yahoo crirus74

Tokyo Muzzie said...

I am currently working on doing some fixes to Clipshare for a client, and I can't believe the kind of errors I am running into. I'm talking about spelling errors in the variable names.

I used to make code like this - when I had just started working in PHP, and when my boss hopped on my ass to get a 6 month project done in 1 week. Totally unmaintainable, thumbs down all the way.

Crirus74 said...

Well, they never pretend it's a piece of art.

And the price is also telling that $150 something...?

I have my video share working on since two years ago, so I know how much time one need to build a real application.

if anyone interested... I do setups on it.

Rob Britton said...

Yeah I guess Crirus74 has a point, the software is dirt cheap. It'd cost a fair bit more (like at least $10k) to hire a coder to do that from scratch.

I guess if you don't actually need to modify the code and can rely on their updates for things like security (I wonder if they've ever heard of XSRF), and you don't intend to get more than say 100 hits a day, then ClipShare will suit you just fine.

With Pornhub this wasn't really the plan (if you look on Alexa, Pornhub is one of the top 100 sites on the Internet) and so ClipShare was most definitely not something that could last us for the long run.

Tokyo Muzzie said...

Hey Rob,

Thanks for the kind response.

Just thought I'd mention, we both seem to be Montrealers - I graduated from McGill and Concordia before heading out to Tokyo. I'll be keeping an eye on your blog :)

Rob Britton said...

You're a long way from home! Good to have another reader, hope I don't disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

we are evaluating software (essentially Youtube clones) and came across this post.

We liked the features and look of VideoWatchPro, but found many bad reviews of both the software as well as the customer service.

We then settled for ClipShare, but this post pretty much killed that option as well.

If any of you is marketing a better solution than the ones mentioned, we would be interested in hearing from you. Please provide examples and prices at:

aspxmlv6[@]yahoo.com (this is our junk email, but we would reply with a real address)

Anonymous said...

I just had clip-share 4.0 installed and have found some problems that aren't being addressed by support. Is there some easy fix for the fact that the every time someone logs in, the script goes to sitename/Video without the forward slash, which makes the page resolve to our home page. Seems like that's maybe a mistake that can be fixed quickly if I knew anything about code...

Anonymous said...

hi, oki what do you recommend in terms of a stable script in stead of a rewrite email me amkm13 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

and beside that their support sucks. they treat you like shit . stay away fro that program. i think they are located in poland or something

writeprivate at gmail kom said...

Hi Rob, Thanks for tip! The rest of these posts seem to confirm clipshare hasnt got any better with the new updates. I bought clipshare 2.6 a year ago. I have now got a small budget to get a site up and running. I am looking to find a coder or possibly an IT partner. I'd appreciate any input from anyone even if it is just advise. Has anyone evaluated 'Videscript'? I am looking to find a decent PHP programmer for a part payment, part equity deal. I have a really cool idea. I already have a day job and i have been in business 10 years and not about to give up my job for something pointless. Naturally can't leave details in a blog but if someone interested and IT literate got in touch - i'd be happy to discuss further. thanks, toby

Elliot

writeprivate at gmail dot com said...

Rob - how do i get in contact with you. I clicked the mail button but it asks me to share your blog with a friend - not sure how this Blogger site works. Do you have a skype/msn etc address? thanks Toby

Crirus said...

There are many asking me about my own sharing platform... here is the description

Crilance Media Share

bazet said...

I made my own video site in 2 weeks using RoR. For conversion i have to use ffmpeg and tvcc...

The real challange is, user upload 3GP and sometimes the ffmpeg will screwed up..and no sound in FLV...

What makes RoR really cool is, the backround drb plugin, upload the video..throw to bg worker and off you go. With PHP you have to wait until the conversion is done.

Well, i've been playing with CakePHP since version 1.1..( now is 1.2 stable )....should be easy to deploy using them.

Rob Britton said...

You can put the conversion in the background with PHP too, Clipshare does it this way:
exec("php convert.php ... &");

Crirus said...

er yet if you use crontab to run the converter in background at specific times as my Video script does :)

tubester said...

Rob
What is your email? or chat SN
I am working on something and wanted to chat with you. I might have a small project for you.

Environmental Chemist said...

Do any one here know the phone number of the damn company clip-share two weeks no response for support request. They do not even make excuses to calm you down they just ignore you.

Any one knows phone number? They suck> I am loosing time, money and focus what to do. I might sue them!!

Symbol said...

I am a freelance clipshare developer. Here is my 2 cents about the Clip-Share script. It's a totally mess coded terrible bad. But wait.. so are the others .. Phpmotion, sharemixer.. = same crap as ClipShare. I made good money fixing other people CS so bad script+good market = alot of work for freelance programmers, companies.
I know this script like I know myself, definitely is something that you should stay away from unless you afford to spend 2-3K to hire someone like me to fix this mess.

administrator said...

Crius, what are you selling exactly?



(Free Porn)

Rennison said...

I have been looking for a good video sharing platform, but if not clip-share or videowatchpro then what are the other alternatives. Can anyone please direct me of offer some much need assistance. Contact music_informer123@yahoo.com. Thanks

john w said...

I have not tried it, but I see some good comments about using Drupal with this module: http://drupal.org/node/399056

Na said...

Hi,
Looking to develop a video sharing site youtube style. We have used Clipshare on another website and were lucky to have found a great freelancer to help with creating myolst.com. Its time to develop another video sharing website and sadly the person that helped us before is not able to due to illness
Please contact me at nazali580@hotmail if interested in helping us with our next project.
Regards,
Naz

Utsav Singh Rathour said...

I am using clip share now for a project and i support ya' all. This thing is really a piece of shit......

Anonymous said...

Hello Robb. Are you experienced with Coding of Rayzz?

james 9211 said...

I am not into this developing or technical work.
I am just a wordpress desginer . But I want to start my Video sharing website.
What you guys recommend me.
I don't want to waste my money.