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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

 

Banshee GSoC-2014 projects under Gnome umbrella

Here we are, at the beginning of a great summer!

This time, Google has given plenty of slots to the GNOME project, so we could accept many participants, including 3 brilliant students to work on the Banshee project. In case they haven't blogged about it, or didn't give much detail, I'll elaborate a bit about what they will be aiming to do these months:

  1. USB can work for the first sync, but whenever you update your library, I never remember to connect my phone again with my cable, or I'm too lazy to do it. Now imagine that whenever your phone is near your computer (and of course if you have Banshee running), they could negotiate together to update the sync without the need of moving a finger!
  2. Wifi could work also for the use case I just explained, but getting Wifi to work, compared to Bluetooth, would involve creating an app for the phone that could talk with Banshee. And we all know what are the problems associated with that: we would need to be cross-platform for at least the 3 main mobile platforms out there (well, iOS wouldn't even work neither with this nor with Bluetooth, because there are no public APIs to integrate with the music database of the OS, sigh iTunes...), and that means a lot of maintenance burden (even if we choose a same-language native platform like Xamarin), and a user experience that is not so seamless (as it would require the user to install an app first).
As you can see, most things are work under-the-hood this year, with little UI work. That's good for me because I'm no design expert. However, there is one area which we could do with some help: the new backgound tasks that will be implemented will need a way to notify the user (i.e. SongKick: when a new gig is discovered; AcoustID: when new/better metadata is found). In this respect, maybe Hylke Bons (our chief designer for the last Gnome .NET hackfest) and Garrett LeSage (assistance that Hylke proposed now to avoid getting himself swamped!) will be able to help! (BTW, if you're interested in participating in this year's Gnome .NET hackfest, message David Nielsen, which started to plan it recently.)

I'm very happy about starting the mentoring of these projects this year. And I'm specially jealous about my students... I became mentor of GSoC myself without being GSoC student first! (Maybe I should switch roles in the future?)

Wish them good luck! It was actually just yesterday when GSoC really started! (gotta love mondays)

UPDATE: Fixed embarrassing typo: I meant AcoustID, not OpenID!

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Monday, May 05, 2014

 

GSoC 2013 with Gnome

So let this be a belated report about previous GSoC! sorry for the delay.

In summer 2013, Tomasz Maczynski worked on Banshee as a GSoC student, and he did great work! He developed a SongKick extension, and a FanArt.tv one. Both were worked on in the banshee-community-extensions repository. They work very well but there are a few downsides about this work, which we didn't have time to fix:

That is all folks! Stay tuned for the next blog post, which will explain the plan for GSoC 2014 (this year I get to mentor three students!).

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Sunday, May 04, 2014

 

Belated Gnome .NET Hackfest post

OMG, I should feel embarrassed about posting such a belated blog post (yes, the hackfest was more than 6 months ago), but oh well, at least I can say I have enough excuses:
So this doesn't leave enough room for blogging, which is a necessary but a less appealing task. But I have to say it somewhere: the hackfest that David Nielsen organized was amazing, the best kind I have attended so far, as I came to meet for the first time some awesome hackers such as him, and:

(BTW I didn't include the awesome Bertrand Lorentz, fellow Banshee co-maintainer and GtkSharp gatekeeper, in the list, because I had already met him before, it wasn't my first time!).

And it was with the latter Stephan (not Stefan) the one I ended up spending more time with, because we decided to work on the new GStreamerSharp bindings since the 2nd day of the hackfest (the 1st day I mainly worked with Bertrand to release Banshee 2.9.0, our first Gtk3 compatible release, which he already blogged about).

So what was special about this work?
"Polish" sounds like easy work, but it wasn't. We fixed lots of crashes, and we contributed fixes to GObject-Introspection metadata upstream. And we proposed big patches for the gtk-sharp GAPI generator. And of course we updated our Banshee managed playback backend to the new GStreamerSharp API.

Main kudos should go to him though. I mainly added Banshee expertise, gtk-sharp contributing expertise, and lots of motivation (or at least I thought).

We had a big success: a Banshee playing audio with GStreamerSharp. Unfortunately video playback was freezing. But some months later after the hackfest we fixed it, and we released first GStreamerSharp 1.0 preview, which we called "0.99.0", and we released the first Banshee release that depends on this work: 2.9.1.

And it was my first time in Austria (and in Vienna). Overall a great experience, and I need to mention our awesome sponsors:


The GNOME Foundation, providers of the GNOME desktop


The University of Vienna and the Institute for Theoretical Chemistry, our venue sponsors

Collabora Ltd, Open Source Consulting

Norkart AS, Norway’s premier supplier of Geographic Information Systems and related consulting


Novacoast IT, Professional Services and Product Development

 
Hotel Schottenpoint, our hotel partner

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