Application Development Manual


GStreamer is an extremely powerful and versatile framework for creating streaming media applications. Many of the virtues of the GStreamer framework come from its modularity: GStreamer can seamlessly incorporate new plugin modules. But because modularity and power often come at a cost of greater complexity, writing new applications is not always easy.

This guide is intended to help you understand the GStreamer framework so you can develop applications based on it. The first chapters will focus on development of a simple audio player, with much effort going into helping you understand GStreamer concepts. Later chapters will go into more advanced topics related to media playback and other forms of media processing (capture, editing, etc.).


Who should read this manual?

This book is about GStreamer from an application developer's point of view; it describes how to write a GStreamer application using the GStreamer libraries and tools. For an explanation about writing plugins, we suggest the Plugin Writer's Guide.

Preliminary reading

In order to understand this manual, you need to have a basic understanding of the C language.

Since GStreamer adheres to the GObject programming model, this guide also assumes that you understand the basics of GObject and glib programming. Especially,

  • GObject instantiation

  • GObject properties (set/get)

  • GObject casting

  • GObject referencing/dereferencing

  • glib memory management

  • glib signals and callbacks

  • glib main loop

Structure of this manual

To help you navigate through this guide, it is divided into several large parts. Each part addresses a particular broad topic concerning GStreamer application development. The parts of this guide are laid out in the following order:

About GStreamer gives you an overview of GStreamer, its design principles and foundations.

Building an Application covers the basics of GStreamer application programming. At the end of this part, you should be able to build your own audio player using GStreamer

In Advanced GStreamer concepts, we will move on to advanced subjects which make GStreamer stand out from its competitors. We will discuss application-pipeline interaction using dynamic parameters and interfaces, we will discuss threading and threaded pipelines, scheduling and clocks (and synchronization). Most of those topics are not just there to introduce you to their API, but primarily to give a deeper insight into solving application programming problems with GStreamer and understanding their concepts.

Next, in Higher-level interfaces for GStreamer applications, we will go into higher-level programming APIs for GStreamer. You don't need to know all the details from the previous parts to understand this, but you will need to understand basic GStreamer concepts nevertheless. We will, amongst others, discuss playbin and autopluggers.

Finally in Appendices, you will find some random information on integrating with GNOME, KDE, OS X or Windows, some debugging help and general tips to improve and simplify GStreamer programming.

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