Serious request to all Skin authors - assistance with new tool

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apawsey Offline
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Lightbulb  Serious request to all Skin authors - assistance with new tool
Post: #1
Hi guys,

You'll see a lot more of me on the forums in the coming time, mainly because I'll be asking loads of irritating questions. I've been an XBMC user for a while, and like a lot of open source projects, it's both frickin amazing and bloody annoying!

There's a lot of documentation missing, and while that's not something to complain about really, after all everyone puts an enormous amount of time in for free, I need some help with something that I really hope should benefit the community a lot in the long run.

I'm building a new 'media manager' if you want to call it that, with the aim of being the quintessential 'media manager' for XBMC. I've had a lot of varied success with the various methods of getting media information for movies and tv, etc, XBMC scrapers get the wrong title, metabrowser doesn't take into account a lot of features of XBMC, and so on. The idea is that through extensions to the main core, I hope to take account of all major (and some minor) extensions to XBMC like TvTunes, fanart (clearart, logos etc as well) and the rest.

It's being built to enterprise standards of development (at least very nearly all of it :rolleyesSmile as that's where my day job lies. The intention is that it will be open source, but closed control in that extensions that it uses will go through testing before being available to the vast majority of users (yes, 'advanced' users will be welcome to do whatever they want, except complain if they break it).

I'm already about 80% finished on the core, but only about 50% finished on the essential extensions for launch. One of these extensions I consider essential is the ability for the system to work with the users selected skin. All the skins use similar core metadata and artwork, but there is a lot of variation in exactly which bits are picked for each skin. Therefore this core extension will contain knowledge of individual skins, and exactly which bits of metadata to use for which fields or artwork spaces. Therefore hopefully increasing the users enjoyment by not having weird stretched pictures or empty fields appearing when browsing. Ultimately I would like this to become so reliable as to allow skin developers to remove things like TvLogo scripts from their skins and rely on this as an external service (although that is way way waaaay off as this needs to make it across all platforms first).

So my request... I'm hoping all the major skin authors will volunteer to open a dialogue with me, to help me identify exactly what information or artwork is used for each of their fields in each of their views. That's it. All that bumpf just to get here, but as I said at the top, I know everyone puts in vast amounts of personal time into this stuff, and I'm hoping that all that explanation will describe why I hope it's worth you guys getting in touch with me.

And for everyone else, feedback is always appreciated. I will be honest and say that although my development is fairly far along, the release will still be a while as I have vast amounts of stuff to test. I will however hope to open a closed beta fairly soon as I will need the feedback for bugs.

Thanks guys, hope to hear from anyone soon.

Adam.
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Martijn Offline
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Post: #2
I'm not a skinner but let's say an advanced user. I like the idea.
You should make some overview(or matrix) in first post or some link to a file for what data you already gathered so everyone can see what's missing. A clear overview is key.
A good starting point i think is this thread and go from there.
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=84800

Basicly everything that "tv logo downloader, EMM-r (Ember), CDart Manager, TV Tunes" and others use

Some new concept that are being worked on:
Clearart/fanart for movies:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=109678
Character art for children shows:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=108035

I would like to at something like: bannerxx.jpg (for season banners) or just put banner.jpg in the season folder.

I think it should be more general at first because there are a lot of different views out there but they pretty much use the same basic information.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forums before posting.
Do NOT e-mail Team-XBMC members asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting, make sure you read this first

For your mediacenter artwork go to
[Image: fanarttv.png]
(This post was last modified: 2011-09-20 16:20 by Martijn.)
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igotdvds Offline
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Post: #3
It would be great if you could work with fanart.tv to be able to request art from within the media manager.
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apawsey Offline
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Post: #4
igotdvds - Essentially what I want to do is show a preview of the skins...

So imagine if we get a screenshot of a skin, and then cut out the various panels where images or data would go. Then show a preview of how the view would look with different fanart... maybe not exactly, but like clicking on a panel, and getting a popup or whatever of the various fanart available from fanart.tv or any other site, for that block. Do you get what I mean?

The reason I want the skin specific info, on what images are used for which panels (including with the different options in the skins) is so this preview can be as accurate as possible.

Machine-Sanctum - Yeah thanks, I've seen that post before, it is the right starting point. The problem is how each skin uses the various files. But you're right. I'll add a grid to this post with that info.
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apawsey Offline
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Post: #5
Reserved for future use
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Martijn Offline
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Post: #6
apawsey Wrote:igotdvds - Essentially what I want to do is show a preview of the skins...

So imagine if we get a screenshot of a skin, and then cut out the various panels where images or data would go. Then show a preview of how the view would look with different fanart... maybe not exactly, but like clicking on a panel, and getting a popup or whatever of the various fanart available from fanart.tv or any other site, for that block. Do you get what I mean?

The reason I want the skin specific info, on what images are used for which panels (including with the different options in the skins) is so this preview can be as accurate as possible.

Machine-Sanctum - Yeah thanks, I've seen that post before, it is the right starting point. The problem is how each skin uses the various files. But you're right. I'll add a grid to this post with that info.

First:
The problem is i think that skins are dynamical. They change by time.

Second:
I use Aeon Nox and just counted the different views for video/movie/tvshows and there were 16! Let's say another 16 for for music. Some views have even 6 or more option on how it's displayed. So this will be a little bit complicated.
So it's better to just pick 2 views or so for each category and start from there.

It's best to have a default list of images that are used by most skins and download them all. With priority settings like size and quality and such. After show how each skin looks like and then be able to make changes.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forums before posting.
Do NOT e-mail Team-XBMC members asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting, make sure you read this first

For your mediacenter artwork go to
[Image: fanarttv.png]
(This post was last modified: 2011-09-20 18:08 by Martijn.)
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apawsey Offline
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Post: #7
Machine-Sanctum Wrote:First:
The problem is i think that skins are dynamical. They change by time.

Second:
I use Aeon Nox and just counted the different views for video/movie/tvshows and there were 16! Let's say another 16 for for music. Some views have even 6 or more option on how it's displayed. So this will be a little bit complicated.
So it's better to just pick 2 views or so for each category and start from there.

It's best to have a default list of images that are used by most skins and download them all. With priority settings like size and quality and such. After show how each skin looks like and then be able to make changes.

You're right, the skins do change, but most have 'major' releases. I'm going to aim for the mainstream, the major skins that are developed and managed fairly well... you're right, there's no way I could take into account every single variation out there. Does that sound fair enough, or do you think it's not worth it if we don't cover the whole range?

On your second point, generally once the functionality works for one it'll work for the rest. I'm going to look into actually reading the skin files to extract the information I need, but I need some help from the authors to start with, to find the important stuff. They've just got way more skill on working with the skin files.
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Martijn Offline
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Post: #8
apawsey Wrote:You're right, the skins do change, but most have 'major' releases. I'm going to aim for the mainstream, the major skins that are developed and managed fairly well... you're right, there's no way I could take into account every single variation out there. Does that sound fair enough, or do you think it's not worth it if we don't cover the whole range?

On your second point, generally once the functionality works for one it'll work for the rest. I'm going to look into actually reading the skin files to extract the information I need, but I need some help from the authors to start with, to find the important stuff. They've just got way more skill on working with the skin files.

It's worth it. Just pick one or two views that cover all the options and go with that. Indeed pick the ones that are well maintained. Confluence should be included. It isn't that extensive but it's the default one so many will only use that.
Maybe start of with taking some screenshots from the skins before going into the code. An image can already give much info. The code can be very extensive and hard to read but i'm sure the skinners are willing to help if they have some time.

I'm curious what it is gonna be like. It would be great to have one program for everything Nod

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forums before posting.
Do NOT e-mail Team-XBMC members asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting, make sure you read this first

For your mediacenter artwork go to
[Image: fanarttv.png]
(This post was last modified: 2011-09-20 21:45 by Martijn.)
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