Python movie scraper development

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▶ Python movie scraper development
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1 Introduction

Historically, Kodi has been supporting XML scraping addons that allow parsing online information sources about movies, TV shows, music and so on. However, this approach has its limitations. First, XML parsing definitions with regular expressions are difficult to write and maintain. Second, many information sources implemented REST APIs for getting information and regular expressions are not suitable for parsing JSON and data. That is why Python scrapers have been introduced.

Python scrapers are written in Python language and have similar structure to media addons (media plugins). They are also called by special plugin:// URLs with query parameters. The main query parameter is action that defines a scraping stage. Scrapers are also interact with Kodi via the functions of xbmcplugin Python API module and pass information to Kodi through xbmcgui.ListItem instances.

Basically, a Python scraper is a media plugin that passes information to Kodi instead of presenting lists of playable media items. A movie scraper must support "action" calls that are described below.

2 Actions

2.1 Find

The find action is used for searching for a specific movie by title and optionally a year that are passed as additional query parameters of the plugin call. This action should use xbmcplugin.addDirectoryItem or xbmcplugin.addDirectoryItems to pass xbmcgui.ListItem instances to Kodi. If only one instance is passed then it is considered as a perfect match. Otherwise the media file won't be matched and will need to be resolved manually by selecting a necessary item from a list. The xbmcgui.ListItem instances must be assigned the following properties:

  • label: passed as label parameter to the class constructor. This is the label that is presented to a user during scraping.
  • url: passed as url parameter to the class constructor. This should be some unique string that can be used to request all the necessary movie info from data provider's

website or API. It can be, for example, a link to a movie page on a movie information website or a some unique ID to request movie information from a REST API.

  • thumb (optional): passed via setArtwork() of xbmcgui.ListItem class instance method. This should be a URL of a movie poster, for example.

2.2 NfoUrl

The NfoUrl action is called as an alternative to find if an .NFO file is present along with a movie file. The entire .NFO file contents are passed as nfo parameter. This action should use xbmcplugin.addDirectoryItem to pass a single xbmcgui.ListItem instance to Kodi.

The xbmcgui.ListItem instances must be assigned the following properties:

  • url: passed as url parameter to the class constructor. This should be some unique string that can be used to request all the necessary movie info from data provider's

website or API. It can be, for example, a link to a movie page on a movie information website or a some unique ID to request movie information from a REST API.

  • Unique IDs: set via ListItem.setUniqueIDs() instance method. A scraper should set at least the default unique from the movie information site it works with.

Optionally it can set unique IDs from other online movie databases.

2.3 getdetails

The getdetails action must pass a single xbmcgui.ListItem via xbmcplugin.setResolvedUrl() function. This action receives url query parameter from the previous stages and must set as much information to the xbmcgui.ListItem instance as possible.

2.4 getartwork

The getdetails action must pass a single xbmcgui.ListItem via xbmcplugin.setResolvedUrl() function. This action receives id query parameter that is the default unique ID set by NfoUrl or getdetails actions. This action should set available artwork using ListItem.addAvailableArtwork() and ListItem.setAvailableFanart() instance methods.

3 Path Settings

A scraper receives the current path settings via pathSettings query parameters as a JSON-encoded string with each action call.

3.1 Example Movie Scraper

A very high-level example of a Python movie scraper can be found in the Kodi source code as metadata.demo.movie addon.