Full XBMC remote for Windows Phone and WinRT

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akshay2000 Offline
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Post: #1
EDIT
The project has gone live here: https://github.com/akshay2000/XBMCRemoteWP
And the app can be downloaded from here: http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=3897...9e53c55b78
If you want more cutting edge features, here's the beta: http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=8b5d...bf14aa503d


I'm really not sure if I should be writing a properly formatted proposal here in the forum. So I'll go with the informal proposal for now. I'll edit it later if proposal is required. I would really appreciate if anyone from the TeamXBMC drops by and provides some pointers. Also, any suggestions about acceptance of such project are also welcome.

What?
I aim to create a full fledged XBMC remote controller apps for WinRT and Windows Phone. The apps will be completely native and make full use of the features provided by the platform (live tiles, for example!). These apps will enable the users to control XBMC from Windows Phones and Windows Tablets just like their iOS and Android counterparts.

Why?
First of all, there aren't any official XBMC remote apps on Windows Phone. Common argument which goes against bringing iOS and Android apps to Windows Phone is 'number of users verses effort requires to code the app. (That's what Dropbox and a few others said!) I'm willing to take that undertaking and spend effort and time. So, official client would be really nice to have. We'd be reaching to more users.
Secondly, Windows has really nice design language which would make the user's experience pleasant. After all, a beautiful media center deserves a beautiful remote.

But, but I see a bunch of XBMC remotes in Windows Phone marketplace!
Yes, there are a few client apps in the marketplace. As I said earlier, nine of those is official. It may not seem like much, but (given the choice) people a way more likely to go for official app instead of a third party counterpart. (Of course, there are exceptions like 4th and Mayor, but that's entirely different story.)
Secondly, all those apps don't make full use of beautiful and clean design a Windows Phone app can have. Moreover, the official app would be better as it would receive support and code review directly by the teamXBMC.

So are we talking about the phone or desktop? And what is that WinRT thingy that you speak of?
I'm talking about both! In short, WinRT is what runs on ARM based Windows 8 tablets. Beauty of the ecosystem is that most of the code can be shared between Windows Phone and WinRT. So, once the core code is written, it would be easy to write UI for both phone as well as tablet. Here we will be able to address all those Windows Phone users as well as widespread Windows 8 users. Ultimately, we have app - on phone, on tablet and on the desktop (just in case one wants to control ATV XBMC from their laptop).

Alright, I'm convinced. Now let us talk about GSoC aspect.
Okay, I'm a student developer who has experience in coding for both Windows Phone and Windows 8. I'm actively working on a project which targets both the platforms. (It's a productivity tool which provides uniform experience across the platforms. Here is Windows 8 app. Phone app is under development.) Here is my work in Windows Phone. Lastly, I'm aware of user's needs when it comes to XBMC. So, I feel that I would be able to take up and complete the project.
Secondly, the timeline and duration of GSoC seems favorable for what I am proposing. Help from the mentors would aid me in the process.
Lastly it fits the criteria put forth by the teamXBMC itself! The project requires little to none alteration of the core code. It's highly unlikely to disturb integrity of current code base - be it core code or extensions like other remote apps. Yet it addresses important aspect and extends the functionality of XBMC.

Now if you have read this particularly long post, I owe you a thank you note.
Thank you! Suggestions are welcome!
(This post was last modified: 2014-05-20 19:03 by akshay2000.)
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natethomas Offline
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Post: #2
I'm guessing I don't need to ask this, but are you relatively familiar with JSON?
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akshay2000 Offline
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Post: #3
(2013-04-16 12:37)natethomas Wrote:  I'm guessing I don't need to ask this, but are you relatively familiar with JSON?

Oh, sorry for not mentioning that! I'm well used to the simple JSON objects created from a row of database. I am having to extensively work with the Windows Azure Mobile Services for the project I mentioned above. Is that enough or I'll have to go very deep with JSON? Secondly, how does the idea sound? Should I go ahead or start something else? I have a strong feeling about this!
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Montellese Offline
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Post: #4
The best way to interact with XBMC from the outside is through its JSON-RPC API. Both the (new) official android remote and the official iOS remote use that API as well. JSON-RPC itself is not overly complicated (basically just a JSON object with specific properties) and our JSON-RPC API is very well defined (not ideally documented though) but it's not always easy to understand/grasp.

Always read the online manual (wiki), FAQ (wiki) and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail Team Kodi members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules (wiki).
Please read the pages on troubleshooting (wiki) and bug reporting (wiki) before reporting issues.
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akshay2000 Offline
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Post: #5
(2013-04-16 20:57)Montellese Wrote:  The best way to interact with XBMC from the outside is through its JSON-RPC API.

Thank you! I understand that I need to do some research on JSON-RPC.

(2013-04-16 20:57)Montellese Wrote:  it's not always easy to understand/grasp.

What would you suggest me to do? I am confident about my C#/XAML skills. I had a feeling that if third party developers can manage to write clients, I'd be able to come up with something better and more feature-full with support from the mentors. Would it be that difficult to grasp given the timespan and mentor support? In other words, should I stick to or drop the idea?
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Montellese Offline
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Post: #6
The API is documented in general (transport protocols etc) at JSON-RPC API (wiki) and the latest API is documented at JSON-RPC_API/v6 (wiki). I don't think that understanding the JSON-RPC API will be a problem and I'm always available to answer questions. But it certainly won't hurt if you look into the available methods etc now so you can provide a more detailed list of what your remote will support (movie library, tvshow library, music library, remote control, ...).

Always read the online manual (wiki), FAQ (wiki) and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail Team Kodi members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules (wiki).
Please read the pages on troubleshooting (wiki) and bug reporting (wiki) before reporting issues.
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akshay2000 Offline
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Post: #7
(2013-04-17 10:08)Montellese Wrote:  The API is documented in general (transport protocols etc) at JSON-RPC API (wiki) and the latest API is documented at JSON-RPC_API/v6 (wiki). I don't think that understanding the JSON-RPC API will be a problem and I'm always available to answer questions. But it certainly won't hurt if you look into the available methods etc now so you can provide a more detailed list of what your remote will support (movie library, tvshow library, music library, remote control, ...).

Cool! So, you want me to study the API in more detail. I shall surely do that as soon as the examinations are over. May I make one more request, though? If (in the worst case) the things go south about GSoC and I can't get in, I would still like to start working on the remote. Would you still help?
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Montellese Offline
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Post: #8
I always answer JSON-RPC questions in the JSON-RPC subforum of the Development forum as soon as I have time independent of whether a user is a GSoC student, part of Team XBMC or any other user.

Always read the online manual (wiki), FAQ (wiki) and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail Team Kodi members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules (wiki).
Please read the pages on troubleshooting (wiki) and bug reporting (wiki) before reporting issues.
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natethomas Offline
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Post: #9
(2013-04-17 10:58)akshay2000 Wrote:  If (in the worst case) the things go south about GSoC and I can't get in, I would still like to start working on the remote. Would you still help?

Welcome to open source development, where every team member really does work on the software for fun and because we like to see it get better. Smile Invariably, if a person wants to do the work of developing an open source feature, someone is going to help.
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akshay2000 Offline
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Post: #10
Now that the results are out, it would be helpful to know why the proposal didn't make the cut. A short feedback would be helpful for next years' proposals.
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natethomas Offline
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Post: #11
For the most part, we're supposed to avoid discussing the reasoning for decisions, but the primary reason in many cases was simply a lack of qualified mentors for the project. Without a mentor relatively skilled in the area, it was felt that we couldn't effectively do our job. There were several projects that we really liked, but just couldn't get a skilled enough mentor to pick up.
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akshay2000 Offline
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Post: #12
(2013-05-28 02:11)natethomas Wrote:  For the most part, we're supposed to avoid discussing the reasoning for decisions.
That is understandable, of course!
(2013-05-28 02:11)natethomas Wrote:  The primary reason in many cases was simply a lack of qualified mentors for the project.
Well, the project I proposed could've been completed with minimal help from a mentor who is versed with remote API on XBMC side. I could handle the rest of it.
Anyway, no point in discussing it. Sad As I mentioned earlier, I'll still start the project. Just a curiosity though: Assuming I make it completely open source, what's the probability of it getting accepted as 'official' by the team?
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zag Offline
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Post: #13
(2013-05-28 07:06)akshay2000 Wrote:  Assuming I make it completely open source, what's the probability of it getting accepted as 'official' by the team?

Assuming its released as open source, in the spirit of XBMC, then yes, there is a very good chance it could be made official.

The iPhone remote followed this path and was accepted officially last year.
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akshay2000 Offline
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Post: #14
(2013-05-28 14:21)zag Wrote:  
(2013-05-28 07:06)akshay2000 Wrote:  Assuming I make it completely open source, what's the probability of it getting accepted as 'official' by the team?

Assuming its released as open source, in the spirit of XBMC, then yes, there is a very good chance it could be made official.

The iPhone remote followed this path and was accepted officially last year.

Hello again! I have released the source code on the Github repo here: https://github.com/akshay2000/XBMCRemoteWP
The app is almost complete and can be downloaded from here: http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=8b5d...bf14aa503d
Can we add the reference to the project and repo in Wiki? About time we had an official Windows Phone client.
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salora Offline
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Post: #15
hi, i'm trying to install your app on my Lumia 925

the store is telling me that I have no right to download the app Sad

I'm from France by the way

thx

I forgot

I also own an Windows 8 tablet (not RT) will we be able to download the app to this device too

I'm looking forward having it

thx

best regards

me again I took a look at the pictures it looks so great

as I can't install it, will it deal with xbmc pvr functions?
(This post was last modified: 2014-05-16 21:55 by salora.)
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