In 2010, I wrote many 'Inside Scoops' about our Team and its processes, and some on plugin development. However, as I was updating our Team Statistics for 2010, which display on many website pages, I realized there is one group of 'unsung heroes' we rarely mention - our vast community of developers. We often hear about the many plugin and skin developers, but did you know there are also many developers who quietly submit translations, EPG grabbers, movie grabbers and patches to fix bugs and improve or add features to MediaPortal?
One of the main principles of MediaPortal, as stated on our About Us: Behind the Project page, is that MediaPortal:
"Understands development is a team effort and treats users as co-developers, which has proven to be the most effective option for rapid development"
Have we succeeded? Can we do more? You decide! Read on to get the Inside Scoop on the current level of MediaPortal development by Our Community , and give us your ideas how we can improve.
So how is the community involved in MediaPortal development? Let me count the ways!
Extensions - Plugins and Skins
MediaPortal is designed to be extended by both plugins and skins. This is one of the most obvious examples of community development and likely one of the main reasons MediaPortal continues to increase in popularity.
According to offbyone, the developer of the popular OnlineVideos plugin (aka MP's answer to Boxee):
"If you are a .NET developer and at some point want to have a capable HTPC at home that you can customize to your needs, there's no way around MediaPortal. It is the only open source .NET MediaCenter application allowing you to extend at almost any point."
In our Plugins Downloads Repository more than 56 Plugin Developers have listed 86 plugins. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg! Almost 300 threads were started in our Plugins sub forum in the past year, by almost 200 different developers working on new and updated plugins. Watch for the latest news in Spragleknas' Fresh From the Forums Blog series.
There are currently 19 skins listed in our Skins Downloads Repository, plus an additional seven already in various stages of development. The many recent enhancements to our skin engine seem to have inspired a surge in skin development, including several original designs for MediaPortal which you can see in the Blog New Skins Coming Your Way.
Bugfixes and new Features
Over 40 developers submitted 89 patches which were approved in 2010. Obviously many of these developers submitted several patches, some of which resulted in new features for MediaPortal. Here are a few who submitted three or more patches:
- ajp8164 - many new skin enhancements like borders for your images and buttons, animations for closing dialogs , global defines for xml files
- Deda - although only one patch appears in our Development forum - "How to Video database section and My Movies get to life" - Deda provided almost a whole new Videos Feature, with many enhancements and SVN commits
- disaster123 - Options for basic+normal home, only normal home and only basic home, new recording option "weekly every time on channel X", network share monitoring support for PowerScheduler, speedup for TV Program Info, plus bug fixes for MiniDisplayPlugin, vmrvideoplayer9 URLs and networkmonitor / Powerscheduler
- hkjensen - unicodepatch for MpeMaker, Adding Episode Info to dialogs in Recordings plus a bugfix for InvalidCastException in TVMiniguide
- jameson_uk - Start Music with parameter, Images for music index pages, Love/Ban option in Music Now Playing, Jump to music now playing, plus some bugfixes for database indexes
- jblomb - several bugfixes for teletext and subtitles, and running Fullscreen ClientSize on non primary screen
- Migue - several skin enhancements such as right align of images, new textcontent3 property for lists, plus fixes for: hidden and visiblechange animations, #isplayed properties when a video is watched, and sort by date in Video Titles
- OnkelChris - Progressbar without lefttexture/righttexture, MS SQL Database Upgrade, NetworkMonitor boot delay, Skin Navigation Homescreen
- riksmith - Remove an active recording that is playing, fixes for start recording from guide only working for series, resuming TV / Video / DVD and DVB-EPG grabber can cause premature ended recordings
- romuz - Add UTF8 BOM header to MP log files and BOM check to MPTail, Typo fix in streamingserver and tsreader, fix for DVB EPG grouped channels and ProfRed (and other TV cards) leaking resources
- Sebastiii - added support for movie Editions, External Audio Track, Chapter Lists, ffdshow V2, MPC-HC/Mpeg Splitter/FFDshow/Other IAMStreamSelect, plus several fixes for audio tracks and subtitles
New Team Members
Not only our development often comes from the community, but so does most of our human resources. Many of those who submitted patches in 2010 joined the Team: armandp, Deda, jameson_uk, Migue, riksmith, romuz, Sebastiii, mm1352000, miroslav22 and SilentException. ajp8164 had already joined in 2009, and OnkelChris has now joined in 2011.
Localization is the generic term used in MediaPortal for development to support different locations or regions. See Contribute > Localization in our Wiki for more info on how you too can contribute.
Localization is extremely important as it makes MediaPortal accessible and usable around the world. It refers to both the translation of the core application as well as the addition of relevant regional content, like EPG data, channel tuning details and movie info grabbers in different languages.
Flokel, one of our MP Team members, provides invaluable assistance and coordination to our Translations 'group'. Chemelli, Seidlin and other Team members keep a constant watch for new or updated submissions to ensure they make it into SVN for the next release.
In 2010, our translators submitted 26 translations, either new or updated, in 18 languages for the Installer (Deploy Tool) and language (strings) files for the MediaPortal interface (GUI)
|Dutch||Lbr_Lion, Henkie Flits|
|English -UK, AU, NZ, IE
|Swedish||anders.malm, dhasselqvist, emphatic
If your language is not already supported, and you would like to add support for it, see our Translation Guide.
EPG Grabbers (WebEPG) / Tuning Details
EPG Grabbers are used in the WebEPG and XMTV plugins, while Tuning Details can significantly improve channel scanning for DVB cards.
In 2010, 71 submissions updated grabbers and tuning details for 25 countries. Special thanks to Maschine, flokel, arion_p, chemelli, morpheus_xx and others for ensuring these submissions are added to the next release of MediaPortal.
|Austria||BugsBunny, wolfi_b, zunixnuz. Wadu|
|Denmark||Janm, KanonGil, msj33, mylle, BeLLe|
|Germany||Catavolt, edsche, Hameno, larsbln,
|Netherlands||Koen Zomers, Lbr_Lion, snoekieboe, Tazzios||doskabouter|
|Norway||Fontaine, nordemoniac, zicoz|
|Sweden||Elof, ratmonkey, tompa, vuego||vuego|
|Switzerland||dedi , x-fire|
|UK||Ashsoft, Bucky O'Hare, CKB, elliottmc, funkstar,
Paranoid Delusion, Tallone
Note: many of these submitters also submit translations!
Movie Info Grabbers/Scripts
Movie Info Grabbers are grabber scripts which can download information on all your movies when using the Videos features of MediaPortal. They are even used when you use the F3 key or IMDB menu option to lookup movie information. You do not need to wait for a new release of MediaPortal to update Movie Info Grabbers, you can use the Update Grabber Scripts button via Configuration > Videos > Video Database.
In 2010, 13 submissions updated movie info grabbers in 8 different languages:
|English||IMDB w AKA||Deda, BalduinB, Knas99
|Spanish||filmaffinity (IMDB)||Dr. Clone|
If you wish to contribute a grabber in your own language, or for your own location, see our Wiki: Contribute > Localization > Movie Info Scripts/Grabbers
TV and Radio Channel Logos
Most users like to display local channel logos for both TV and Radio stations. In 2010,. we took the first step towards improving access by adding a new Logos section to our Downloads Repository. There are already 12 logo packs available for adding channnel logos for your region.
To learn how to add Channel Logos to your TV Guide and other TV screens in MediaPortal, see Customization > Logos > Channel Logos in our Wiki.
If that's not enough, there are many great suggestions provided by users in our Improvement Suggestions or General Development sub Forums, or throughout various other sub forums. These suggestions often result in many great new features. Furthermore, many developers assist community development by contributing their expertise to test new plugins or patches, help with plugin development, create modifications for skins, or even create skin files for new plugins.
The point is, MediaPortal is the product of a vast community network. It is the grass roots support that has made it a success. So if you want to get involved, and contribute, there are many ways you can. Just start by viewing our Contribute pages on this website. You will soon find yourself caught up in the thrill and excitement of it all.
Thanks to all those who contribute to making MediaPortal even better!