Voice recording plugin

A simple voice recording plugin, that enables posting voice messages recorded directly in the browser of your desktop or mobile.

Check english.best community forum to see it in action. The code is hosted on Github.

The library uses a slightly modified version of Microm library, which features RecordRTC and lamejs.

After the standard installation, enable composer_audio_upload_enabled in the settings.

When composing a new message, simply click on the microphone icon to start recording. After you’re done, your recording will be converted to mp3 for enhanced cross-browser compatibility.

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Currently the reencoding is done using lamejs, which isn’t optimal and can take some time for longer voice messages or on slower devices.

If for some reason it doesn’t work on your device, I’d be grateful if you could indicate the device, browser and system version. The testing wasn’t extremely extensive, but we have some users using it already. I count on some input and / or pull requests :slight_smile:

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Thank you very much :smiley:

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Cool! We regularly get asked for the ability to add a voice message or even a video recording directly to posts. I’ll try this out and let you know how it works out!

Some feedback:

  • mp3, the file type of the uploaded audio recording, is by default not allowed as an upload type. suggest adding a note to the install instructions to enable mp3 uploads.
  • an obvious admin setting to add would be to allow limiting the length of audio recording that can be uploaded. right now it seems that the recording can go on indefinitely though I have not tried it. A max of say 30 seconds or 2 minutes would be suitable for some communities. The utility of an audio recording diminishes the longer it gets, so some default max eg 5 minutes would be sensible.
  • an admin setting to limit by trust level would be helpful
  • a progress indicator during the recording would be helpful, to indicate long the recording is getting, as well as an audio level indicator to show that the audio recording is actually working.
  • the file size of the saved recording is displayed in kilobytes, not megabytes, so eg a 3 minute recording is 2000+. It would be nice to see it in mb.
  • as you indicated, it takes a while to save even a three minute recording, so a progress indicator of the saving process would be helpful.

Is there any scope or ability to add video recording to this plugin? It would be very welcome in my community.

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And a quick follow-up after spending a bit of time with this plugin. While looking at

I looked around here but was not able to immediately find posts containing voice recordings (turns out it’s buried in this topic). Some icon (maybe microphone?) indicating topics containing voice recordings might be a good idea, as well as the ability to filter by posts containing voice recordings in the search. Even searching mp3 did not take me straight to posts containing recordings. E.g. a filter to only return topics/posts that “include mp3 recordings”:

Also, just for giggles I recorded a 20 minute recording, then tried to upload it - but the upload failed because it was larger than the maximum size allowed. The recording was then lost, which in this case was no big deal… it was only a recording of me taking a nap, after all. :zzz: But if I had actually spent 20 minutes recording myself saying something important I would have been pretty sad to lose it! So ideally the plugin would stop the recording before the limit is reached, or at least provide a fallback method to save the recording to my device so I can upload it elsewhere and share the link as suggested by the error message.

Update: not sure this is a surprise but this plugin does not work on mobile, using chrome on ios. The record button just doesnt do anything.

Another update: occurs to me the record button could live in the composer options submenu. That would be better in my opinion.

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Many thanks for all your feedback, we’ll try to implement some of your suggestions in the next update.

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Awesome! I remain very interested in this plugin. Let me know when you need more testing or feedback. :rocket:

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Would it possible to allow the recording to be saved somewhere else and then link to that in the plugin.

Example. Say the member had a soundcloud.com account and the recording was sent to soundcloud as a private or public recording.

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Intressting project, I really like it.

How about background recording in cases, to allow parallel note taking? This would be my killer feature :wink: Do you know the iOS App Notability? This is currently my way to combine notes with recordings. It’s awesome, because Notability is able to highlight all changes made while the voice is keep talking… I guess this might be too much here? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I’d also like to support Keith’s idea of saving the recording elsewhere with one addition. Instead of each member needing a soundcloud.com account, I’d like to be able to create an admin soundcloud account so that all recordings are saved to that account. Will simplify things immensely.

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Update to this idea: I wonder if there’s a workflow that allows us to SpeakPipe instead! It’s a free voice recorder that generates a URL that can be added to your post. It also doesn’t require people to create an account. At minimum, people could click on the microphone icon and text pops up with a link to and directions on how to use SpeakPipe.

@csmu and @pawel, this may be another topic all together. Should I split this topic?

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Is it free? If so then I think having it as an option would be excellent.

Could the recording be stored on Amazon S3?

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The recorder feature is free for any individual to use. They have a more robust product that does cost money, take a look for yourself!

There doesn’t seem to be a workflow that makes it happen automatically, though the person who makes the recording can download it and store the file somewhere else.

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Speakpipe does not seem to be “free as in freedom” like we get with discourse. My preference would be to avoid third party hosting of content, including these voice recordings.

You can set up your site to host all attachments on amazon s3 is that not a reasonable solution for those who may want to host longer recordings that take up more space?

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I’m so glad I found this plugin but I’m also hesitant to install it until there can be third-party hosting of recordings. Ideally there could be connectivity options to link it with a Google Drive, Dropbox, Vocaroo, or some other third party site in addition to self-hosting, but third party hosting would be especially beneficial for hosted communities that do not have a large amount of storage space. Looking forward to any future updates to this app and thanks Pawel for making it!

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Hi Jimmy! Welcome. I’m glad you are also interested in this plugin. There’s a bit of discussion about third party hosting above, but I honestly disagree that it is a high priority or even relevant for this particular plugin.

Maybe if enough people want it you can work on a different plugin, to work with Speakpipe or some other cloud based audio sharing site?

For this plugin, I think the priority should be to add an admin setting to limit the length of recordings. That way the file size won’t be too burdensome to store or play back, and the site won’t be littered with long meandering recordings nobody listens to. :wink:

Meanwhile there is the ability to host attachments externally already (this is baked into discourse - see enable s3 uploads admin setting). But it is indeed not suitable for streaming content.

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I’m curious, why not?

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I’ve seen conversations here about limitations around streaming video etc hosted on discourse but am not immediately finding them. :wink: Maybe somebody else can provide an answer while I dig a bit.

My own instinct is that smaller files are not a problem but when you get into the neighborhood of hours of movies, you want to move your content to a cloud streaming service like vimeo or youtube, and then provide a oneboxed view from within discourse posts to let people watch it without leaving the forum.

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Isn’t the plugin here for voice recording?

A mono mp3 audio should be mostly under 10MB (10 minutes of mono audio at 44.1kHz/16bit/96kbps is 7.2MB), so it will be kinda like a large GIF and can certainly be used in conjunction with Object Storage (S3) plus a CDN.

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Ah, we’re talking about the same thing. Apologies for being confusing.

People are coming in and advocating for third party hosting of audio recordings, and I am saying no we don’t need to worry about that for precisely the reason you give. Storing and playing back a small file is no problem.

However, currently this plugin allows people to start a recording and let it go indefinitely, which then fails upon save if they talked for too long and try to save a file size larger than allowed by the server.

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Like Tobias mentioned here, this plugin has a number of important problems (mainly mobile issues and the lack of a timer or feedback while it’s saving the recording).

I’d love to see a native alternative approach. For me, the simplest option to allow my users to record and share audio is to use a service like Clyp. It provides 360 minutes in the free plan and it gives you a direct link you can paste in Discourse (thanks to the magic of OneBox)

The only downside is that it doesn’t record on the iPad (you can only upload the audio file).

Other options for recording online in case people find them useful:

  • Poodll - Downside: it only stores the files for 30 days
  • VirtualSpeech: Online Voice Recorder - Downside: it doesn’t work on the iPad. On Android, it gives you .oga files, which don’t autoplay in Discourse (although .ogg files do. This might be a bug)
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