Mark Richards


Thursday, August 17, 2006 Pipeline

It's almost as if I've dropped off the face of the planet. In some ways I have. Nevertheless, I am still alive although be it barely. I know I haven't blogged in over two months, but I have a really good excuse: Pipeline.

What is Pipeline? Pipeline is an interactive video player application that allows you to watch live streams and archived video from the 88th PGA Championship. You can choose from four different live broadband video streams, including the first-ever multi-platform simulcast from TNT, player cams, and exclusive bonus coverage from

Who the hell cares?!

We'll I do because I co-authored the darn thing! Timothy Gray and I have been developing Pipeline non-stop over the last couple of months. The plan for the project came down rather rapidly and went up in profile almost just as quickly. Check out the online version of the print article about Pipeline in USA Today.

Techy Stuff (For those who care) Pipeline uses a smorgasbord (a smattering if you will) of different technologies and 3rd party libraries. It seems appropriate to give credit to where credit is due so here goes:

1. - Based on the popular prototype javascript library, I used to perform simple AJAX calls and some of the "Flashy" form effects.

2. Unobtrusive Flash Objects (UFO) - A standards-compliant DOM script that detects the Flash plug-in and embeds Flash objects.

3. Lightbox Effect without Lightbox - A lightweight technique to create modal dialogs that block interaction with underlying layers.

Thanks to the people who have taken the time to create such fine open source libraries without which Pipeline would not have been as successful. Hooray for open source!

I am tremendously proud of the product that Tim and I were able to deliver. This is by far the most high-profile, public web application that I have ever been a part of, let alone written. Considering that CNN Pipeline was developed by a huge team with a gigantic budget, I'd say that Tim and I did alright for ourselves given the constraints.

Product development has caused me many late nights with little sleep to get this out the door in time. Thus, I haven't had a chance to spend very much time with my wife Sarah. I'd like to take a second to just thank her for being so understanding and putting up with all my crap. Much love!

If you have a chance, please check out Pipeline during the 2006 PGA Championship.



  • Awesome Mark. I know you've been working your ass off and it definitely shows.

    Maybe now that it's finished, we can hangout again.

    By Anonymous bobafred, at 12:04 AM  

  • Congratulations! That's a huge achievement and I know you must be thrilled. How is it holding up to the traffic demands after the feature? I need to pick your brains for some tips on the hardware behind it too if you get a chance.

    By Blogger Adam, at 11:06 AM  

  • Thanks guys! I appreciate the love.

    ...and Brian, yes, we can now "hangout" again.

    As far as it holding up to traffic demands, we had no problems whatsoever. Not only did it survive, but it also survived being featured on and for 4 days, TNT television spots,, and various print pieces.

    The player was under 250K which isn't half bad (the crappy home page is just under 500K!) and only 15K or so was served out of the building here. We offloaded much of the traffic onto Akamai servers to prevent bandwidth issues.

    I will be more than happy to answer any additional questions that you may have, Adam.

    By Blogger Mark, at 2:53 PM  

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