Google Summer of Code/2014

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ Google Summer of Code ▶ 2014
Notice Unfortunately, XBMC was not selected as a GSoC mentor organization for 2014.
GSOC 2014 logo-blog.jpg
Welcome to the XBMC Google Summer of Code ideas page.

We encourage interested students to review some of the ideas on this page, and then feel free to provide input on any ideas you may have in the XBMC GSoC subforum and chat about any project you’d love to cover. To propose a project, see #Students Project Proposal Ideas.

From 10 March to 21 March, any interested students may apply at the GSOC home page to work with XBMC. After that, we’ll notify applicants whether we get to work with each other according to the GSOC schedule.

1 About Us

As there may be many students who have landed here as a result of GSOC, but are unfamiliar with the project, here are a few resources that may help explain what we are about.

XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media, designed around the 10-foot interface (living room) environment. Created in 2003 by a group of like minded programmers, XBMC is a non-profit project run and developed by volunteers located around the world. More than 50 software developers have contributed to XBMC, and 100-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 40 languages. For more information, see the page XBMC Media Center.


To get an idea of what XBMC is truly capable of, it really must be seen. Check out a few other user-created videos:
XBMC with the default Confluence skin
XBMC with Aeon Nox skin
XBMC on Raspberry Pi
XBMC's new PVR functionality

XBMC is written primarily in c++ and runs on a variety of platforms including Android, iOS, Linux, OS X, and Windows. It has been ported to work on several low-power platforms including the BeagleBoard, PandaBoard, AppleTv, AppleTV2, the Raspberry Pi, and most recently Android.

XBMC was a mentoring organization in 2008, 2012 and 2013, and had team members involved in GSoC for other projects in 2011.

If XBMC is selected as a mentoring organization for 2014, students will need to review the Overview of a good project proposal, follow the outline for proposals when applying, and review the list of project ideas detailed below. Students are welcome to propose ideas outside the list and are encouraged to be as creative as they like.

1.1 Mentors

All mentors and backup mentors are extremely experienced in the XBMC codebase and will thus be able to assist students in getting to know the codebase and in quickly identifying projects that are both achievable for someone unfamiliar with the internal workings of XBMC and desirable to the wider XBMC community.

2 Project Proposals

2.1 Overview

Qualifications for a good Summer of Code proposal:

  • Discrete, well-defined, modular
  • Comprised of a series of measurable sub-goals
  • Based on open specs that are available free of charge
  • Based on complete specs

An example of a good proposal is the implementation of a new feature or function that is not yet available in XBMC.

An example of a less desirable proposal is one that's not as measurable, such as refactoring an existing API. Bad proposals tend to be ones that would require touching a lot of core code.

To re-iterate:

  • Localized/isolated code projects = good
  • Global code refactoring = bad
  • A project should have a set of subgoals, so even if the end goal turns out to be too big some of the parts will be of benefit.
  • Not too big! This is an important problem when choosing a project, while it is fun to think about solving a grand project its not always realistic. Its better to finish a smaller project than to start a grand one.


2.2 Outline for proposals

3 Team-XBMC proposal ideas up for discussion

3.1 Web development

XBMC has grown greatly over the past several years from a standalone program with very little interaction with the outside world to a full platform in its own right, complete with hundreds of media-centric addons and means of communicating between machines. This year, we are particularly interested in students with a background in web development to work on projects that haven't received the focus they should, including...

  • New web interface - Virtually every aspect of XBMC can now be controlled through JSON-RPC, as can be seen by numerous apps on Google Play and the iOS store. However, the default web interface for controlling XBMC remains woefully old and featureless. A major step in eventually releasing a server version of XBMC would require a new, fully functional web interface. Students with a background in web development are encouraged to review the JSON-RPC code and submit ideas for this project.
  • Further development of the add-ons browser/showcase - The current addon browser found at addons.kodi.tv lacks many of the features of found in other major app stores, including a dev portal, ratings, comments, and more. Additionally, there is no current method for installing an addon into XBMC from the Addon Browser website. A review of some particularly excellent addon sites, such as Add-ons for Firefox, may be of benefit. Students are encouraged to submit proposals for improvements along any these categories and more. Creativity in this area is highly encouraged.

3.2 Build tools projects

  • Cmake build system -
    • Make a cmake build system for binary add-ons for the various XBMC platforms, using the work done in Linux as a guide.
    • Create/Extend a template system for quick and easy adding of new addons compatible with all xbmc platforms and port at least 1 addon to them (e.g. pvr.demo or any of the XBMC screensavers).

3.3 Code-base improvements

This summer, in addition to the traditional big, new feature focus, we'd also like to focus on some features that don't always get a lot of attention. Namely, usability features. Typically these are things that require a lot of creativity and varying degrees of code. Sometimes, they can act as a complete paradigm shift from business as usual. Below are a few ideas in this category...

  • Accessibility - Improve XBMC to be more useable for the visually impaired. Possibly in relation to XBMC's JSON-RPC support, in order to interface with screen readers and allow for alternative ways of setting up XBMC. Other ideas include such things as a large-font skin with easy to see colors, and other user interface element improvements needed for the those with partial sight. See this thread for discussion.
  • Menu-less control - Control every screen and item in XBMC without relying on a context menu button.
  • Music library improvements - Unify the handling of the music and video libraries.
  • Key indicators - Many UIs include a toolbar that lists what buttons perform what actions, as well as in-action indicators (see e.g. the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim UI). Implement such a system using XBMC's default Confluence skin.
  • Parental controls - XBMC's current lock methods and profile support is very easy to bypass and leaves much to be desired. Implement parental controls without relying on the current profiles hack, in order to restrict content based on ratings or other methods.

3.4 More

We feel it is important to note that, while we are interested in a focus on the listed three areas, we would like to stress passion, expertise, and creativity above all else. If you would like to do something completely different, like create a Game Library to match the existing Movie, TV, and Music libraries and complement Retroplayer, definitely send in that proposal. The ideas listed above are, as always, merely suggestions. We will be interested in any idea, so long as you can communicate your interest, your background, and your solution the problem.

4 Students project proposal ideas

Submit your own proposals on the XBMC GSOC 2014 forum. They can be as big or as small as you feel you can comfortably accomplish between 19 May and 18 August. In the end, it's better to have a smaller, completed project, rather than a larger, incomplete project.

To submit a proposal idea:

  1. Copy the text from #Outline for proposals.
  2. Create a new forum post here and paste the text.
  3. Fill out everything using your specific proposal.