Articles by h.udo

Kodi has been accepted to GSOC 2019!

We are thrilled to announced that Kodi has been accepted as a participating open source organization in Google Summer of Code 2019!

What is Google Summer of Code?

In Google’s own words, “Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that matches students up with open source, free software and technology-related organizations to write code and get paid to do it! The organizations provide mentors who act as guides through the entire process, from learning about the community to contributing code. The idea is to get students involved in and familiar with the open source community and help them to put their summer break to good use.

See? Simple as that.

Many open source projects — such as Kodi — have participated in GSoC for years. It has proven to be a very useful program to bring together students that want to get involved with the open source community and open source projects in need of new contributors. Plus, if your friends ask what you’re doing on your Summer break, you get to say you’re working with Kodi and Google. How cool is that?

Student applications

Student applications to GSoC start on March 25, 2019.

We encourage all prospective participants to present their ideas and proposals on the GSoC 2019 forums. Please read our GSoC guidelines carefully before submitting your proposal.

There are several project ideas available on our Wiki. Regardless if you are looking into working on a suggested project or one of your own creation, you are strongly encouraged to engage on the forums or join #kodi-gsoc on Freenode so that the community and potential mentors can learn about it, ask questions, discuss narrowing or broadening the proposal, etc.

Proposals must be submitted following the proposal outline format.

Key dates

The complete Google Summer of Code 2019 calendar can be found here but the most important dates for students are outlined below:

March 25 (18:00 UTC) – Student application begins

April 9 (18:00 UTC) – Deadline to file your student application

May 6 (18:00 UTC) – Accepted student proposals are announced

May 27 – Coding begins. Start your engines!

Please pay special attention to the application deadline. Two weeks fly by in no time. Take time to craft a thoughtful project proposal and discuss it with the community and prospective mentors.

Happy GSoC!

Kodi’s GitHub codebase new face and better documentation

Every software developer knows that keeping code documentation up-to-date is difficult and time consuming, specially if code in need of said documentation is changing fast. Like, Flash fast. Among code documentation, the process of compiling the code is probably the poorest of cousins. After all, developers do know how to compile the software they write and writing documentation is not as glamorous as writing code. Given a choice, developers will always choose the latter over the former.

Though that was not Kodi’s case, for years our build guides were spread between Kodi’s Wiki and GitHub, generating confusion. To make matters worse, guides were often contradicting, not kept up-to-date and generally lacking in detail. To solve this predicament, we decided that Kodi’s build guides should be kept alongside the code, where developers can easily update them when code changes.

Writing build guides might seem simple. It isn’t. On one hand, people writing the guides are usually very comfortable with the process and tend to forget small but crucial steps. On the other hand, guides must be written taking the average user into account, not the seasoned developer. Let’s not forget that the word “compiling” intimidates a lot of users, novice and seasoned alike and, as with many things in life, they seem utterly scary until you try. Once you know how to do them, they become an extremely easy and fun process. Most times, anyway.

That led to a conclusion: guides must not contain any ambiguity or room for interpretation. Plain spoon-fed copy and paste was the target. The result is a bunch of build guides for most common platforms and OSes Kodi runs on. Those include Android, FreeBSD, iOS, macOS, RaspberryPi, Windows and a general Linux guide. Popular Linux distributions among Kodi users, like Fedora, Ubuntu and openSUSE also have dedicated guides.

Starting with Kodi v18 Leia, our build guides are kept up-to-date against the current code base. Hopefully, up-to-date against a single pull request or code commit. This might seem of little importance but consider this: if, in two years time, you decide that you want to compile Kodi Leia for whatever reason, you won’t need to dig through the Wiki, forum guides, old HOW-TOs, etc, to achieve what should be a simple task. The correct build instructions are right there, alongside the code. Of course, there are things we can’t control and in two years a lot can change. Your shiny new OS or hardware might not be compatible with an older Kodi version. That’s not our fault, by the way. 😉

Producing nice build guides wasn’t the only thing we did. We also decided to overhaul Kodi’s GitHub face, making it a little nicer to look at and a bit more informative about the project. It now links to Kodi’s most important resources (downloads, site, forum, wiki, etc.), and has a section dedicated to those wanting to contribute to Kodi.

Since GitHub is a developer space, we couldn’t complete the task without providing a few guides for code contributors. This includes a contributing guide, code guidelines, and a simple git-fu reference guide for those not familiar with git.

The full list of new documents and guides can be seen here. We hope you like them and help us improve them and Kodi.