DLNA Media Server support in gnome photos
Photos is a wonderful application available in GNOME. Its written in C. It helps you browse all the available photos in your standard directories (home, Picture, Documents etc.). You can create new collections of photos, mark your good ones as favorites.
As a part of my GSoC 2014 project under GNOME, I will be extending the code of this application to add a new feature under GNOME i.e to add the support of DLNA Media Servers.
What is DLNA Media Server ?
So, lets talk about what a DLNA Media Server is ? There are lot of devices these days around us that are DLNA Media Server (or DMS). These can be cameras, smartphones, laptops etc. These servers serve the content to Digital Media Renderers (DMR). The job of DMR is to get the content from the DMSes and render them. So if the media content is a music, DMR would play it; if its a photo, it would just show it. DMR can be your TV, smartphone etc.
My GSoC project this summer would enable gnome-photos to browse the content of all the DMSes available around and show the content in the application. Additionally, it can also push the content served by DMSes to DMRs available on the local network. So as a result it can also act as a Digital Media Controller (DMC). The application already had few DMC capabilities before, this project would just extend them after writing the support for DMSes.
There are two approaches I can follow to make the gnome-photos application browse DMS contents.
I can use the existing grilo plugin to do the same.
I can make use of dleyna-server. It is a DBus service that provides an API to browse the contents of the DMS easily.
Pondering over above two options, I think using dleyna-server directly would be a better option since using grilo plugin is still in development stage and might not be reliable in the long run. Moreover, grilo plugin doesn’t provide support such as async calls and cancellable API.
Making the dleyna-server my choice, I installed the dleyna-server alongwith its dependencies (dleyna-core, dleyna-connector-dbus) and launched the dleyna-server-service. The API it provides can be easily viewed using d-feet. So now implementing DMS in gnome-photos reduces to just calling the functions provided by the API from dleyna-server dbus service. Using the dbus services in gnome-photos requires playing with gdbus-codegen. My mentor gave me a bug to solve related to gdbus-codegen. I solved the bug and learnt how I can use dbus services from the application.
My next steps would involve making use of dleyna-server-service’s API from the application, browse its content and show them up in gnome-photos. But before that, there are lot of decisions especially UI decisions that needs to be taken. Eg: What if there are lot of DMSes available on local network. The user might not want contents of all of them to be shown in the application. The application should give the user flexibility and full control over browsing content from DMSes around in easiest possible interface possible. I need to discuss this with GNOME UI design team for whats best in this case.
I am currently working on it and will update you soon about my progress.
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