Chapter 20. XML in GStreamer

GStreamer uses XML to store and load its pipeline definitions. XML is also used internally to manage the plugin registry. The plugin registry is a file that contains the definition of all the plugins GStreamer knows about to have quick access to the specifics of the plugins.

We will show you how you can save a pipeline to XML and how you can reload that XML file again for later use.

20.1. Turning GstElements into XML

We create a simple pipeline and write it to stdout with gst_xml_write_file (). The following code constructs an MP3 player pipeline with two threads and then writes out the XML both to stdout and to a file. Use this program with one argument: the MP3 file on disk.

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <gst/gst.h>

gboolean playing;

main (int argc, char *argv[]) 
  GstElement *filesrc, *osssink, *queue, *queue2, *decode;
  GstElement *bin;
  GstElement *thread, *thread2;

  gst_init (&argc,&argv);

  if (argc != 2) {
    g_print ("usage: %s <mp3 filename>\n", argv[0]);
    exit (-1);

  /* create a new thread to hold the elements */
  thread = gst_element_factory_make ("thread", "thread");
  g_assert (thread != NULL);
  thread2 = gst_element_factory_make ("thread", "thread2");
  g_assert (thread2 != NULL);

  /* create a new bin to hold the elements */
  bin = gst_bin_new ("bin");
  g_assert (bin != NULL);

  /* create a disk reader */
  filesrc = gst_element_factory_make ("filesrc", "disk_source");
  g_assert (filesrc != NULL);
  g_object_set (G_OBJECT (filesrc), "location", argv[1], NULL);

  queue = gst_element_factory_make ("queue", "queue");
  queue2 = gst_element_factory_make ("queue", "queue2");

  /* and an audio sink */
  osssink = gst_element_factory_make ("osssink", "play_audio");
  g_assert (osssink != NULL);

  decode = gst_element_factory_make ("mad", "decode");
  g_assert (decode != NULL);

  /* add objects to the main bin */
  gst_bin_add_many (GST_BIN (bin), filesrc, queue, NULL);

  gst_bin_add_many (GST_BIN (thread), decode, queue2, NULL);

  gst_bin_add (GST_BIN (thread2), osssink);
  gst_element_link_many (filesrc, queue, decode, queue2, osssink, NULL);

  gst_bin_add_many (GST_BIN (bin), thread, thread2, NULL);

  /* write the bin to stdout */
  gst_xml_write_file (GST_ELEMENT (bin), stdout);

  /* write the bin to a file */
  gst_xml_write_file (GST_ELEMENT (bin), fopen ("xmlTest.gst", "w"));

  exit (0);


The most important line is:

  gst_xml_write_file (GST_ELEMENT (bin), stdout);

gst_xml_write_file () will turn the given element into an xmlDocPtr that is then formatted and saved to a file. To save to disk, pass the result of a fopen(2) as the second argument.

The complete element hierarchy will be saved along with the inter element pad links and the element parameters. Future GStreamer versions will also allow you to store the signals in the XML file.