Mobile Player Cannot Access Content on Android and iOS devices

We recognize the steady trend, through our log files, that learners are moving to m-learning.  I'm facing an access problem on my web site using an Android device (probably iOS as well) and discovered source of the problem. In order to prevent direct access and hotlinking and protect the future security of any proprietary published content on web site A, I’ve implemented an .htaccess file to limit online access to this content on site A to site A itself for self execution and site B through the following .htaccess code:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
## Internet Access from site B only ##
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !siteA\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !siteB\.com [NC]
RewriteRule .? - [F]

<Files .htaccess>
order allow,deny
deny from all
</Files>

DirectoryIndex index.html index.shtml index.xhtml index.wml index.perl index.pl index.plx index.ppl index.cgi index.jsp index.js index.jp index.php4 index.php3 index.php index.phtml index.htm home.htm default.htm index.fcgi


ErrorDocument 403 /403.php
ErrorDocument 404 /404.php


Options –Indexes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
This works very well EXCEPT for Articulate Storyline content! Everything else plays and flows swimmingly. The Articulate player says, “Cannot Access Content - Articulate Mobile Player cannot access this content”.  Users cannot access the .story content directly on storage site A except through links on site B.  The Articulate Mobile player doesn't play by these rules, apparently.  Once the current .htaccess file was removed the problem(s) went away. 

How can I overcome this restriction and still meet the securitization of proprietary content should I implement Articulate Storyline 2?

8 Replies
Judson Singer

1. Apparently the Articulate Mobile player cannot play "secured" video from an RTMP source.  (RTMP see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Time_Messaging_Protocol )  (Unsupported RTMP see http://www.articulate.com/support/storyline-2/storyline-does-not-support-rtmp-streaming )

2. The Articulate Mobile player cannot play from WordPress secured folders that have been secured by WordPress by default.

3. The Articulate Mobile player cannot play secured video that is located on  .htaccess secured web sites or folders.

The net result is that providing m-learning of secured content to a rapidly growing worldwide (see http://mat1.gtimg.com/tech/2014/pdf/The_US_Mobile_App_Report.pdf  ) market of users of mobile devices is not within Articulate Storyline 2's current possibilities.  If content developers or publishers don't mind if their work is freely available to be hotlinked, viewed, snagged, and recirculated then these shortcomings should be of no concern. 

Anybody please correct me if any of this is not correct.  Perhaps a solution to these shortcomings would be if Storyline could publish to a mobile app directly instead of an already archaic "plugin" interpreter (Articulate Mobile player) of published .story files.  In other words Storyline could publish .story to .apk (Android) or .ipa (iOS) in addition to LMS, Web, CD, and MS Word.  At that point, anybody who wanted to securely monetize their creations to a steadily growing and worldwide "app" market could do so.  ( See http://developer.android.com/google/play/licensing/index.html )

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Judson,

I believe the majority of our users who are accessing the courses through the mobile player, are either doing so from a web server - where there link is included and maybe users log in there if they need it securely or on an LMS that supports Tin Can API - so that users can log in to the LMS and then access the mobile player content once on their device. For more information about Tin Can and publishing your content please review this article. 

Judson Singer

In our application there is no need for tracking or services of an LMS or coordination through Tin Can API.  WordPress provides secure access to course content through paid subscription.  Part of the course content including video, resides on another server, which of necessity has to be secure since  Articulate Mobile player does not currently support secure video streams through video servers supporting RTMP protocols, the best way to secure video streams. Articulate Mobile player won't connect with any remote content on .htaccess secured servers or WordPress secured content even though every popular web browser can.  Articulate Online provides secure video delivery starting at $200/month. Thus, the problem with Articulate Mobile player and a solid urging that Articulate Storyline incorporate tools that allow content producers to publish native apps (applications) DIRECTLY to mobile devices in the language(s) and standards these devices were designed to understand and support so that producers and mobile device end users can leapfrog "plugin hell" and inherent limitations regarding mobile device support.  All that is needed to go from .story to .ipk is the source code of .story content and I feel certain that Articulate Storyline 2.3 {:-) could provide that source code to itself. See http://www.articulate.com/support/storyline-2/comparing-flash-html5-and-articulate-mobile-player-output-for-articulate-storyline-2 .

Did I miss something?

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Judson,

No, you didn't miss anything in regards to the streaming or the comparison of Flash,HTML5, or the mobile player - but I just wanted to share that the current set up we have does allow for a level of secure access using the mobile player and an LMS that supports Tin Can API as a follow up to what you mentioned and for anyone else who may come across this thread. 

We're always happy to hear other thoughts on things you'd like to see in new updates or versions, or ways in which we can better assist - so please continue to share those here so that the community can weigh in if they have any ideas or tools to share, but also feel free to send them directly to our product development team as a feature request. 

keven t

I am very disappointed to find out the mobile app will not be able access secured material. I selected this program for its simplicity and spent the last four month developing content, quiz and games. It was not a major learning curve, but it took a lot of time. Now, I have to learn to create and use database system, that I have no use for my application, just to allow mobile app to use?!! With all new computer users going to mobile device first before desk tops, this should be a basic requirement for Storyline that would not require a major workaround.

Judson Singer

Hi Keven t. On a very recent visit to Google Play app store (Android version), to date there are only about 5,000 total downloads worldwide of the Articulate Mobile player and it's been available since May 2, 2012.  Draw your own conclusions. Do a Google search on "articulate mobile player problems" and Storyline developers will see what they're up against.  We've stopped considering using Articulate Storyline to deliver learning content for mobile devices.  The playback features we really needed missing from AMP versions but available in desktop versions of Storyline content were the final deciding factors.  See http://www.articulate.com/support/storyline/comparing-storylines-flash-html5-and-articulate-mobile-player-output .  Adobe Captivate 8 can be "rented" for $20 per month on an "as needed" basis and has cleanly addressed all of the mobile publishing problems (without a plugin) that have brought Articulate Mobile player to its knees.  See http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate/features.html#subtitle_4 .  Plus, users will never face $700 upgrade costs since upgrades are automatic and free. (Disclaimer: I don't work for Adobe or derive a single benefit from them or anybody else for my comments.  I'm just another guy out there trying to make it honestly from one day to another and avoid the roadblocks.)

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Keven,

The security of the content is typically handled by the LMS in which users need to log in, or a secure web server where users would need to log in. If using an LMS, you'll likely need to publish for Tin Can API as described here. 

Judson, 

In regards to the mobile player, it only became available for Android with the release of Storyline 2 which came out early September of 2014, so I can't speak to the date listed within the Google Play app store - it may be referencing the mobile player as a whole when it was developed?