Developing applications with GStreamer

Q: How do I compile programs that use GStreamer ?
Q: How do I develop against an uninstalled GStreamer copy ?
Q: How can I use GConf to get the system-wide defaults ?
Q: How do I debug these funny shell scripts that libtool makes ?
Q: Why is mail traffic so low on gstreamer-devel ?
Q: What kind of versioning scheme does GStreamer use ?
Q: What is the coding style for GStreamer code?
Q: I have translated one of the module .po files into a new language. How do I get it included?

Q:

How do I compile programs that use GStreamer ?

A:

GStreamer uses pkg-config to assist applications with compilation and linking flags. pkg-config is already used by GTK+, GNOME, SDL, and others; so if you are familiar with using it for any of those, you're set.

If you're not familiar with pkg-config to compile and link a small one-file program, pass the --cflags and --libs arguments to pkg-config. For example:

$ libtool --mode=link gcc `pkg-config --cflags --libs gstreamer-1.0` -o myprog myprog.c

would be sufficient for a gstreamer-only program. If (for example) your app also used GTK+ 2.0, you could use

$ libtool --mode=link gcc `pkg-config --cflags --libs gstreamer-1.0 gtk+-2.0` -o myprog myprog.c

Those are back-ticks (on the same key with the tilde on US keyboards), not single quotes.

For bigger projects, you should integrate pkg-config use in your Makefile, or integrate with autoconf using the pkg.m4 macro (providing PKG_CONFIG_CHECK).

Q:

How do I develop against an uninstalled GStreamer copy ?

A:

It is possible to develop and compile against an uninstalled copy of gstreamer and gst-plugins-* (for example, against git checkouts). This allows you to develop against and test the latest GStreamer version without having to install it and without interfering with your system-wide GStreamer setup.

The easiest way too create such a setup is the latest version of create-uninstalled-setup.sh

This setup makes use of the latest version of gst-uninstalled. Running this script, you'll be in an environment where the uninstalled tools and plugins will be used by default. Also, pkg-config will detect the uninstalled copies before (and prefer them to) any installed copies.

Multiple uninstalled setups can be used in parallel. Have a look at gst-uninstalled to see how it determines which environment is used.

Q:

How can I use GConf to get the system-wide defaults ?

A:

For GNOME applications it's a good idea to use GConf to find the default ways of outputting audio and video. You can do this by using the 'gconfaudiosink' and 'gconfvideosink' elements for audio and video output. They will take care of everything GConf-related for you and automatically use the outputs that the user configured. If you are using gconfaudiosink, your application should set the 'profile' property.

Q:

How do I debug these funny shell scripts that libtool makes ?

A:

When you link a program against uninstalled GStreamer using libtool, funny shell scripts are made to modify your shared object search path and then run your program. For instance, to debug gst-launch, try

libtool --mode=execute gdb /path/to/gst-launch

. If this does not work, you're probably using a broken version of libtool.

Q:

Why is mail traffic so low on gstreamer-devel ?

A:

Our main arena for coordination and discussion is IRC, not email. Join us in #gstreamer on irc.freenode.net For larger picture questions or getting more input from more persons, a mail to gstreamer-devel is never a bad idea.

Q:

What kind of versioning scheme does GStreamer use ?

A:

For public releases, GStreamer uses a standard MAJOR.MINOR.MICRO version scheme. If the release consists of mostly bug fixes or incremental changes, the MICRO version is incremented. If the release contains big changes, the MINOR version is incremented. If we're particularly giddy, we might even increase the MAJOR number. Don't hold your breath for that though.

During the development cycle, GStreamer also uses a fourth or NANO number. If this number is 1, then it's a git development version. Any tarball or package that has a nano number of 1 is made from git and thus not supported. Additionally, if you didn't get this package or tarball from the GStreamer team, don't have high hopes on it doing whatever you want it to do.

If the number is 2 or higher, it's an official pre-release in preparation of an actual complete release. Your help in testing these tarballs and packages is very much appreciated.

Q:

What is the coding style for GStreamer code?

A:

The core and almost all plugin modules are basically coded in K&R with 2-space indenting. Just follow what's already there and you'll be fine.

Individual plugins in gst-plugins-* or plugins that you want considered for addition to one of the gst-plugins-* modules should be coded in the same style. It's easier if everything is consistent. Consistency is, of course, the goal.

Simply run your code (only the *.c files, not the header files) through

indent \
  --braces-on-if-line \
  --case-brace-indentation0 \
  --case-indentation2 \
  --braces-after-struct-decl-line \
  --line-length80 \
  --no-tabs \
  --cuddle-else \
  --dont-line-up-parentheses \
  --continuation-indentation4 \
  --honour-newlines \
  --tab-size8 \
  --indent-level2

before submitting a patch. (This is using GNU indent.) There is also a gst-indent script in the GStreamer core source tree in the tools directory which wraps this and contains the latest option. The easiest way to get the indenting right is probably to develop against a git checkout. The local git commit hook will ensure correct indentation. We only require code files to be indented, header files may be indented manually for better readability (however, please use spaces for indenting, not tabs, even in header files).

Where possible, we try to adhere to the spirit of GObject and use similar coding idioms.

Patches should be made against git master or the latest release and should be in 'unified context' format (use diff -u -p). They should be attached to a bug report (or feature request) in bugzilla rather than sent to the mailing list. Also see SubmittingPatches in the GStreamer wiki.

Q:

I have translated one of the module .po files into a new language. How do I get it included?

A:

GStreamer translations are uniformly managed through the Translation Project (http://translationproject.org). There are some instructions on how to join the Translation Project team and submit new translations at http://translationproject.org/html/translators.html.

New translations submitted via the Translation Project are merged periodically into git by the maintainers by running 'make download-po' in the various modules.