Getting Flowplayer working on Lion Server

I’ve recently been working on upgrading Snow Leopard server to Lion server. While the new interface to Lion server looks good, it really lacks a lot of the options available in the Server Admin application of Snow Leopard. Lion also lacks MySQL, but that was fairly easy to install and configure.

What wasn’t so easy to figure out was why Flowplayer wasn’t working when I moved to Lion server. On some pages, the embedded Flowplayer swf file wasn’t even showing up. On other pages, the background image would appear, as well as the play button image overlay, but a black screen would appear as soon as one would try to play back a video.

After trying many things over the past week, I finally discovered that the issue was that Flowplayer wouldn’t work with Lion server’s Apache 2 configuration of gzip compression. These lines in an .htaccess file did the trick…

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule \.swf$ – [E=no-gzip:1]

Actually, I only needed to add the last line, as I already had an .htaccess file that had the first two lines. I suppose I could have added these configuration directives in one of the httpd.conf files, but putting them in an .htaccess file ensures they won’t be overwritten by a software update.

I’m still struggling with other issues with Lion server, but hopefully I will be able to resolve them soon. I’ll try to document them here, not only in the hope that it might help others with similar issues, but also to remind me of what I might need to do in the event I need to reinstall. They may also be helpful should I eventually move to Mountain Lion server this summer.

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