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XBMC is a huge open source project and it takes loads of people working together to maintain it for all platforms, that is why Team-XBMC is always on the lookout for C/C++ programmers to volunteer in assisting us with the development of XBMC. Whether you have contributed to The XBMC Project in the past or not, please consider doing so now.
1 End-users (non-programmers)
You can help too by downloading XBMC for Windows, testing it, and reporting bugs and issues. Also, spread the word about XBMC for Windows to your friends and family, we are sure they will enjoy it too.
2 Developers (programmers)
You should be proficient in C/C++ programming language, and allthough not really required knowledge of OpenGL or multimedia programming is a plus, as well as prior cross-platform or porting development experience.
3 Hardware requirements
- 32-bit Intel (x86-processor) based computer with Windows XP or Windows Vista, and a ATI Radeon 9200/X1600, Intel GMA950, or NVIDIA 6-Series 3D GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), or later with OpenGL or DirectX compatible video device drivers, (XBMC GUI requires at least OpenGL 1.3 or DirectX 9.0c support to run smoothly at an acceptable frame-rate in standard-definition, to run XBMC high-definition a more modern GPU is recommended).
4 Detailed technical information
For more details please visit the Development Notes section of this manual.
5 Source code
The XBMC source code is in our git repository on github.com. Full instructions for compiling/builing XBMC under Windows is available here:
6 General guidelines
- Code documentation (DocBook, rst, or doxygen for the code documentation steps, preferably the latter, doxygen)
- Self-containment - XBMC should be as little dependent as possible on operating-system and third-party services/deamons/libraries
- XBMC should for example contain all file-system and network-client (like samba) support built-into the XBMC package
- Modular design - independent modules made up by localized/isolated code libraries without dependencies
- XBMC should still compile and run if a non-essencial module/library is disabled or removed
- Aim for the GUI/interface to run smoothly on a low spec computer (less than 1Ghz)
- 3D graphic controller (GPU) will always be required hardware for XBMC so try to utilize the GPU as much as possible
- Avoid harddisk trashing (excess read/write/erase cycles), so no harddrive paging, (utilize RAM memory intead).
- Fast load and boot times for end-user perception (other thing can still run/start in the background without the user knowledge)
6.1 User-friendliness is next to godlyness
One major ongoing goal of Team-XBMC has always been to make XBMC and its user interface feel even more intuitive and user-friendly for its end-users, based on the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle of simplicity. It is our belief that usability is the most important aspect of a media center like XBMC. Many other media center projects make user interface decisions by developers, who often have little experience in user interface design. In contrast, Team-XBMC does its best to listen to XBMC's end-users to learn how XBMC is actually being used and how we can improve the user experience. We also aim to do regular overhauls, improving existing features/functions, and scrapping outdated code and features/functions (as "too much stuff" adds unnecessary complexity and can thus also be a bad thing). Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
6.2 XBMC as a whole must...
- First and foremost be aimed at a large-screen (28" or more) 10-foot user interface for the living-room experience.
- Large menus, text/fonts and buttons that is designed to be navigated by a hand-held remote-control.
- Be focused around the main features of playing music, watching movies, recorded television broadcasts, and viewing pictures.
- XBMC may be capable of converging other things but those things should never take over the main focus in the interface.
- Be easy to install, set up and maintain (so that our valuable end-users do not get fed up with it and quit).
- Have an user interface that is simple and intuitive enough so that less tech-savvy people are not intimidated by it.
- Make common usage easy, simple 'Human–Computer Interaction (HCI)', from the viewpoint of an ordinary user.
- Be able to play audio and video files that have been encoded using DivX, XviD, etc. directly out-of-the-box.
- Be able to organize audio and video files in an easy and user-friendly way.
- Use standards and be consistent, (the Music section can for example not use completely different controls from the Video section).
- Perform actions in the GUI with as few 'clicks' as possible.
- Be aimed at an international audience, internationalization and localization by supporting different languages, timezones and other regional differences
- Require little to no non-GUI configuration (and all such non-GUI configuration should be done in just one file: advancedsettings.xml).
- Be beautiful to look at, after all we hope you will be using it a lot!
6.3 Team-XBMC members should always strive to
- Promote open source - XBMC is based on the ideas of FOSS (free open source software), licensed under the GPL and builds partly on other open source projects which we do our best to support. The GPL should be respected at all times. All code should be committed to the XBMC project’s git repo before any public binaries are released.
- Promote the sharing of knowledge and collaboration - Through the use of information sharing tools and practices XBMC is a collaborative environment.
- Understand that development is a team effort - Treating our users as co-developers has proven to be the most effective option for rapid development. Always strive to work as a team at all times. Actively promote discussion on new features and bug fixes, and respect others comments and criticisms with replies in a timely fashion.
- Apply the Law of Diminishing Return - The majority of the effort should be invested in implementing features which have the most benefit and widest general usage by the community.
- Try to make all code, feature, and functions to be platform agnostic - XBMC is a multi-platform software, thus any single platform specific features should be discussed with other team members before implemented. Major features should be developed in a separate branch or committed in small increments so that other members have the opportunity to review the code and comment on it during development.