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EventServer is the part of XBMC that accepts remote device input on all platforms. EventServer API is used to program event clients and simplifies interfacing input devices with XBMC. EventServer accepts commands from event clients such as LIRC, joysticks, PDAs, and iPhones.


1 The Purpose of EventServer API in XBMC

The EventServer in XBMC was created to satisfy a need to support many input devices across multiple hardware platforms. Adding direct support for a multitude of devices generally decreases performance and stability, and becomes difficult to maintain. The EventServer was created to provide a simple, reliable way to communicate with and control XBMC.

2 Event Clients and the EventServer

XBMC's EventServer listens for commands from event clients. Anything that can communicate using UDP can be an event client. Many event client software packages are currently available for PCs, Macs, smartphones, PDAs, and more. Some event client software accepts commands from infra-red remotes, gamepad controllers, and others to translate and send to the EventServer. These event client software packages are often run on the same computer as XBMC, essentially as remote control addons.

To change the default Event Server port on XBMC, you must modify guisettings.xml under <services>, find this line "<esport>9777<esport/>", change the port number and save. The file is here: ~/.xbmc/userdata/guisettings.xml (this has worked with Openelec for the Raspberry Pi).

3 Pros and Cons

EventServer can be compared to the older web control interface, Web Server HTTP API (also known as "HTTPAPI"). Below are pros and cons of the EventServer system, compared to HTTP-API. NOTE: As of Dharma, the HTTP-API is depreciated - use the JSON-RPC interface instead

3.1 EventServer Pros

  • is always active on localhost, which is much more stable for remotes (Not available on XBMC for Xbox.)
  • uses event-based communication instead of request-based communication.
  • is much easier to implement in programs.
  • can distinguish between different clients, and therefore have multiple distinct inputs.
  • is mappable through keymap.xml.
  • can notify the user when a connection is made.
  • is capable of displaying notifications on demand.

3.2 EventServer Cons

  • currently cannot send any information back to clients. This is a planned feature.
  • is not designed to send built-in XBMC commands like playurl. This may change in the future.

4 XBMC Options

Enable Remote Events
Check to enable the EventServer.
Remote Events Port
The starting port for the range of ports that EventServer will listen on.
Remote Events Port Range
The number of ports to listen on. Directly determines the port range.
Maximum Number of Clients
The maximum number of simultaneous connections.

Receive events from other computers
Check to listen on the network, not just on the local machine.

Initial Repeat Delay (ms)
Delay, in milliseconds, before a continuously pressed button will begin registering as multiple, repeated presses.
Continuous Repeat Delay (ms)
The speed at which the above repeated presses will be entered.

5 Eden XBMC Options

In Eden, the event server is enabled through the "Allow programs on other systems to control XBMC" option. It runs by default on 9777, and can be confirmed by looking in the log at startup for "Starting UDP Event server on"
To change the default port, you must modify advancedsettings.xml , but the exact setting is not known at this time.

6 Event Clients

The event clients and EventServer are under heavy development, so for up-to-date information please refer to the readme file

Most event clients can be configured using CLI. Common CLI arguments are address and port number. The defaults are localhost and port 9777.

Event clients can currently be recognized as one of the following:

  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • LIRC (Only on Linux)
  • Joystick

6.1 Joysticks

Joysticks are mappable in keymap.xml using the following convention:

 <joystick name="foo">
 <button id="1">ACTION1</button>
 <button id="2">ACTIOn2</button>
 <axis id="1" limit="-1">ACTION3</axis>
 <axis id="2" limit="+1">ACTION4</axis>

See keyboard.xml for more information on how to customize the keymap.

There is initial support for the PS3 controller (sixaxis) and

6.1.1 PS3 Blu-Ray Remote

There is initial support for the PS3 Blu-Ray remote. The remote needs to be paired using one of two python scripts. 'ps3_remote.py' can be run as a user, but the controller must be paired every time the script is run. 'ps3d.py' will remember remotes between run-instances if it is executed as root, and it supports the PS3 Sixaxis controller as well.

6.1.2 PS3 Sixaxis Controller (TODO)

Pairing with the PS3 controller is not yet handled automatically, but it can be done using the program 'sixaxis.c' available from [1]. Or if you want to do it the gui way [2]

Once paired, disable any existing HID servers that might currently be running and run 'ps3d.py' as root. The program requires root privileges because it listens on Bluetooth L2CAP PSMs 17 and 19. (This is not nessecary using the gui tool) Using the PS3 Sixaxis Controller

There is xml configuration file for the ps3 controller under your keymaps folder. You need to change the name of the joystick in you xml configfile to containg the mac adress of your controller. "grep PLAYSTATION /proc/bus/input/devices" from a terminal will give you what you need.

6.1.3 WiiRemote

To use the WiiRemote: 1. Open a terminal window and type/paste xbmc-wiiremote (do not press enter yet) 2. Press 1 and 2 on the WiiRemote 3. press enter 4. leave this terminal open and open xbmc

You should see xbmc recognize the WiiRemote. You can press the power button on the WiiRemote to save battery. To reconnect press the 1 and 2 again. As long as you leave the terminal window with xbmc-wiiremote open you will be able to do this, even if you exit/open xbmc.

The executable depends on libcwiid and libbluetooth and is compiled using

  1. g++ WiiRemote.cpp -lcwiid -o WiiRemote

The WiiRemote will emulate the mouse by default, this can be disabled by passing --disable-mouseemulation on the command line.

The sensitivity of the mouse emulation can be set using the --deadzone_x or --deadzone_y, followed by the percentage of the space to consider "dead." A higher numberm eans higher sensitivity.

Other commands can be listed with --help

The WiiRemote can be mapped in keymap.xml with the following button IDs:

1 = Up
2 = Down
3 = Left
4 = Right
5 = A
6 = B
7 = Minus
8 = Home
9 = Plus
10 = 1
11 = 2
21 = Up (axis)
22 = Dow (axis)
23 = Left (axis)
24 = Right (axis)
25 = C
26 = Z

The name is by default WiiRemote, but this can be changed with the --joystick-name argument.

There is a nice guide on installing a Wii remote on XBMC-Live 9.11 here.

6.2 J2ME (Java Phone Application)

The J2ME client requires the following:

  • CLDC 1.0 and MIDP 1.0
  • bluetooth connectivity
  • client must be able to initialize the connection

For compiling the Java application, see Clients/J2ME and Client/README (precompiled versions exists in our forum).

The Client can be mapped in the same manner as the PS3 controller in keymap.xml, but with the name J2ME:

   <joystick name="J2ME">

The KeyIDs are generated in terminal using j2me_remote.py.

7 Known Working EventClients

All clients are able to talk to any server on any OS, but the client software is often OS specific.

7.1 XBMC for Linux

  • Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) Blu-ray Remote
  • PS3 Sixaxis GamePad
  • Wii Remote
  • J2ME (CellPhone)
  • HAMA MCE Remote

7.2 XBMC for Mac OS X

  • Apple Remote
  • Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) Blu-ray Remote
  • J2ME (CellPhone)

7.3 XBMC for Windows

  • Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) Blu-ray Remote
  • Xbox 360 Controller
  • J2ME (CellPhone)
  • EventGhost

8 Known Caveats

  • Most of the clients are using python, so PyBluez and Lightblue must be.
  • PyBluez only works with broadcom chipsets on 32-bit Windows.

9 Development of EventClients and the EventServer API

9.1 Example demos of EventClients (open source code)

You can find several open source EventClient examples written in C++, Python, and Java in the XBMC SVN. Look under EventClients. This directory contains seven event client sample programs that demonstrate XBMC's EventServer API. The different programs are in C++, Python, and Java. XBMC must be running to receive events. Please see README.txt for more information.

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