Adding YouTube JavaScript For Autoplay

I had a problem on one of the sites I manage where I needed to play a YouTube video once when the page loads but I had to have it only play the first time the viewer got to the page. Subsequent visits to the page should not play the video but I wanted the visitor to have the video play once again the next time they visit the site at some reasonable point in the future. So… I decided on a JavaScript and a cookie to get the job done.

So I hit Google and found a good starter script that sort of worked and decided to modify it to my liking.

The problem was that the code set a cookie that didn’t expire the way I liked. I wanted it to expire one hour from the time of the first visit, after creating the cookie and setting the expiration time one hour from the time of the first visit.

Lets walk through the code – It uses a standard “iframe” to play the video and the JavaScript uses a id named “videoframe” to link it up with the script to control the autoplay.

<iframe title=”YouTube video player”
id=”videoframe” width=”560″ height=”315″
src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

The next code to add will be the JavaScript and we need to set a few parameters to fit it to our need. I have highlighted the sections you should change to fit your site needs, specifically the video URL and cookie name.

The code I added was to use the current date and time to expire the cookie in one hour. Other than that simple set of modifications, the script is similar to the original version.

<script language=”javascript”>
// Autoplay on first load and then expire in one hour on cookie.

// Set the video to play here
var link = ““;
var now = new Date();
var time = now.getTime();
// Expire the cookie in one hour
var expireTime = time + 1000*3600;

if (document.cookie.length == 0 || document.cookie.indexOf(“COOKIENAME=”) == -1) {
// Set the expiration
// Set the cookie with it’s autoexpiration
document.cookie = ‘COOKIENAME=true;expires=’+now.toGMTString()+’;path=/’;

link += “?autoplay=1”; // append an autoplay tag to the video URL
// For debugging – Uncomment to view the setting
// alert(link);

// Pass the link value to the Iframe
document.getElementById(“videoframe”).src = link; // set the iframe src


That’s it! Just modify what you need to and you’ll have a script that will expire the cookie in one hour and which will play the video once on the first page visit but not thereafter until one hour expires!

Enjoy! — Jon

Fall is here and Light5Media is humming along…

Much has been going on and with the arrival of the first rains of fall, California’s weather has gone from warm to distinctly cool.

I’m working hard on the business and weekly voice-overs and video shoots are part of the routine. I’ve learned a lot about the business of producing content and how YouTube works and am keeping my focus on what is important.

I’ve been getting into animation (in a very primitive way), but they came out good despite my initial thoughts of giving up on it in the following video.

Light5Media is one of the two YouTube channels I am throwing my efforts into and I am not going to quit. This work is paying off and staying the course is the answer.

The studio continues to evolve and improve, with the addition of new hardware to improve our vocals and deliver a better audio product. While voice-overs are an important part of the business, I’m keeping my eye on bigger fish and staying on-mission.

URLRewrite and IIS: Part Two – Introduction to “rewrite”

This is the second in our series about URLRewrite. We are going to focus on another aspect of URLRewrite. Namely the concept of rewriting a url “in-flight” to allow a URLRewrite rule to conduct an action that the administrator wishes to implement on the IIS server.

The subject of rewrites versus redirects immediately comes to mind. As I have worked over the years with IIS and URLRewrite, I found it far easier to use redirect rules, but these come with a penalty, since an incoming request causes additional overhead in the form of a new HTTP request being sent the server. Ideally, if you can avoid this, you should use a Rewrite rule to change the incoming request on the fly rather than overt redirect. The rewrite rule we are going to show you is a “redirect in disguise” and accomplishes the task of a redirect on one succinct operation rather than two.

Lets design the use-case:

Imagine we have a directory on a web site and this directory is no longer used, but you want to inform your users that the directory has been retired. What to do?

In a standard redirect rule, you would match on a particular directory and then redirect to the retired page as follows (Note, we are going to use “/docs” as the example directory that is no longer valid):

Conditionals for redirect rule


Action for redirect rule.

The code that is placed into the web root “web.config” file looks like this:

<rule name=”Example Redirect” patternSyntax=”ECMAScript” stopProcessing=”true”>
<match url=”(.*)” />
<action type=”Redirect” url=”/retired.html” />
<conditions logicalGrouping=”MatchAny”>
<add input=”{PATH_INFO}” pattern=”^/docs/(.*)” />
<add input=”{PATH_INFO}” pattern=”/docs” />

When run in the browser, the following occurs:

Result of redirect run. Note that the URL changed to point to the “retired.html” page.


The rule fires and redirects to the expected url and is shown in the browser.

Note that in this rule, there are two conditions, either of which, when run, will perform the redirect. The first is to match any and all sub-directories of “docs”, while the second rule handles the case where the url of “http:/someserver/docs” is handled as a specific case of it’s own. I am absolutely certain some of you will comment on there being better ways to do this in this example, but for purposes of clarity, this is the format I chose to use. If you do want to send in examples of better ways to do this, visit the “contact” link and I will share your comments and ideas in future articles. Remember, I’m learning everyday too and there is ALWAYS a better way to do things ;>)

So… Our redirect example above is really pretty good. It handles the full range of references to references to the “/docs” directory and sub-directories. But is there a better way to do it? Let’s try the “rewrite” option and see what happens (after first disabling the prior example!):

Conditional at the URL section
Action clause for the rewrite rule.

The code that is placed into the web root “web.config” file looks like this:

<rule name=”Example Rewrite” stopProcessing=”true”>
<match url=”^docs/(.*)$” />
<action type=”Rewrite” url=”/retired.html” />

Now let’s execute this rule:

The page loads the same “retired.html” as before, but the URL remains the same on the browser URL bar!


This is a three for one benefit. The browser doesn’t have to incur local overhead on a redirect. The server doesn’t have to work harder and the apparent URL doesn’t change on the client end. It is all handled at the server end of things.

Isn’t this a little more efficient? It does everything needed in four lines and with a single transaction. In truth, the redirect rule could have been more efficient, but again, for purposes of clarity, we want to get you to think in new ways about URLRewrite and to, as the character “Morpheous” says in “The Matrix” says, “free your mind”. A hint is to look at the line “<match url=”^docs/(.*)$” />” and perhaps try your own experiments with the redirect. That is the other thing with URLRewrite and, for that matter, mod_rewrite in Apache webservers. You want to try new rules, new ideas and play with them to get a good feel for what works and what does not. Experiment and don’t be afraid to fail.

Back to the rewrite rule. It is efficient and small. The minor penalty for the in-flight rewrite is less than what would be incurred against a redirect rule and provides a first taste of what can be done.

In truth, this is a small taste of the many things the rewrite rules can be used for. We will be covering more rewrite examples in coming articles and also discussing back-references and URLRewrite. These are extremely powerful and useful for helping to construct new urls and are a staple tool you will need to learn to effectively use URLRewrite.

Until next time!