My first Chumby widget: XBMChumby

Intro
I’ve created a Chumby widget to act as a basic remote display for XBMC. I’ve been using it and reworking it over the last couple of weeks and I think it’s now in a state where I can make it available for others to try. It works by retreiving an RSS feed from the Xbox that contains a list of the next 5 tracks in the music playlist. If no music is playing, the RSS feed will be empty. To achieve this I’ve written a simple web page that sits on the Xbox and uses the XBMC API to retreive information about the current playlist. The widget also uses XBMC’s http API to provide basic controls to play, pause and skip tracks. This is my first attempt at using ActionScript so the functionality is fairly basic, but if others find it useful I may add more features, or release the sourcecode.

xbmchumby.jpg

Installation
To get the widget running, download this zip file and copy the contents to the “web” folder on your xbox (usually /e:/apps/xbmc/web). The zip contains the web page to generate the RSS and a crossdomain.xml file to make the RSS accessible from the Chumby. You may need to edit the playlist.asp file to configure the IP address of your xbox which defaults to 10.0.0.5 – you can find this from the Settings > Network Settings screen in XBMC. Also, from the settings screen in XBMC make sure that the web server is enabled and doesn’t require a password.

Next, just log in to your profile on chumby.com and add the XBMChumby widget (in the “Entertainmnet” category). The configuration widget will prompt for the IP address of your Xbox. Then just start playing some music on the Xbox and when the widget loads on the Chumby it will retrieve the RSS feed from the Xbox and show you the next 5 tracks in the playlist (along with album art for the first track). At the moment the widget only retrieves the RSS feed when it first loads so make sure that it isn’t the only widget in your channel otherwise it will never refresh.

3 Comments to “My first Chumby widget: XBMChumby”

  1. Marijn Schoo 21 September 2008 at 10:12 am #

    Hi tdroza!

    What a great plugin! And considering I’ve not yet bought myself a Chumby nor an Xbox, I just feel it has great potentials.
    I got to your page while looking for a plugin to remotely control MediaPortal, preferably via a Chumby.

    Have you considered creating an RSS feed of all the album-titles and on select, receiving feed of the tracks within that album?
    That would make it perfect, since that would eliminate the need of a TV to play music. Just the thing I’m looking for.

    There’s MP Blue, for MediaPortal as well as Pocket PC Remote Control, but both projects kind of died due to dead-end-streets which they entered. RSS / XML is in my opinion the only future-proof way of doing these things.

    Do you get enough feedback to continue working on this project?
    I could, if I try hard enough, get you in touch with some other developers on similar projects. Would love to be involved, but I only have knowledge on PHP/HTML/CSS… still need to dive into XML.. Thankx

  2. tdroza 1 October 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    @Marijn: thanks for the comments! I like the idea of creating a feed of albums and artists. I’ve had a few positive comments about this plugin (also on the Chumby widget catalogue and forum) and I still think it has lots of potential – queuing tracks, setting volume, album/artist info, rating tracks, and loads of other stuff. To be honest though, I’m not a flash developer and I found the whole process of writing ActionScript and compiling to flash using opensource tools to be cumbersome and difficult. It’s really a shame that the Chumby doesn’t support html/javascript widgets (but that’s a whole different argument that’s been done before)! Anyway, long story short, I’m not sure that I’m the best person to take this forward but if there are others out there that know flash I’d love to help out where I can. I’m in the process of setting up a sourceforge project so I can publish my code and hope that someone else might pick it up.

  3. tdroza 4 November 2008 at 11:27 pm #

    For anyone interested in adding to this chumby widget, I’ve just uploaded the sourcecode to sourceforge. See the project page: https://sourceforge.net/projects/xbmchumby/ or my post here: http://droza.net/blog/2008/11/04/xbmchumby-sourcecode-is-now-public/


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