[Rhythmbox-devel] INTERNALS

On Mon, 2003-07-14 at 01:16, James Kahn wrote:

> I agree there.  RB is so comment-free it's scary.  I thought that the
> difficulty I am having understanding the code base was because of my
> lack of experience, rather than lack of comments - comments would help a
> hell of a lot.  Can someone (Colin?) that knows the codebase really well
> give rhythmbox-devel a quick rundown on how everything relates to each
> other, to help new hackers?

I just did a little bit of work on this.  It's in CVS as INTERNALS. 
I've attached it here.  I hope you guys find it useful; comments

* Rhythmbox Internals

This document will attempt to gather up some of the bits and pieces
I've learned while hacking Rhythmbox.  Rhythmbox is fairly complex,
and while some people would claim it is unnecessarily so, I think
writing a good music player is just not as simple as you might
think at first.  So, let's begin.

** The Shell  (RBShell, RBShellPlayer, RBSourceHeader, RBStatusBar, RBShellPreferences)

The shell is the outer Rhythmbox framework.  It controls the playback,
menus, preferences, and most of the user interface in general.  The core
component of the shell is RBShell, in shell/rb-shell.c.  It acts as
kind of a catch-all for the various bits of glue needed to keep
Rhythmbox working together.  It handles most of the menu callbacks,
and it also forms the main widget which holds all of the widgets below.

There are other more specialized components of the shell, such as
RBShellPlayer. RBShellPlayer is a widget which handles the
play/previous/next buttons, and contains various other widgets for the
status display and volume.  RBShellPlayer is a pretty important class,
because it contains a lot of the playback logic.

RBSourceHeader is that thingy with the "Hide Browser" button and the search

RBStatusBar is the thing on the bottom with the Shuffle and Repeat buttons
and the status output.

RBShellPreferences manages the user preferences.  It is just a dialog box
which pops up when you hit Edit->Preferences.

** Sources

Rhythmbox has an idea of multiple music "sources", like the Library
and (Internet) Radio.  The RBSource classes are basically the
user interface part of the "source" concept.

All of these sources derive from RBSource (sources/rb-source.[ch]),
which is an abstract base class.  RBSource has a number of methods
which the specific sources like the Library implement.  For example,
one of the simpler ones is:

gboolean	rb_source_can_pause		(RBSource *player);

So here, a source returns TRUE if it can pause (i.e. pause button should
be displayed).

The RBShell maintains a list of available RBSources.

** Backends

Currently, all RBSource instances have a "backend" too.  The RBLibrarySource
has the RBLibrary.  RBIRadioSource has the RBIRadioBackend.  As you might
expect, while the RBSource components act as a "frontend", the various
backends maintain all the data and don't deal much with user interfaces.

** A first look at the Library

The Library is the main part of Rhythmbox; it is the thing that lets
you play local files.  We'll go over some of the most important things,
and then come back to it later once we know more.

*** RBNode, RBNodeSong

Understanding RBNode (library/rb-node.c) is crucial.  RBNode is not
just used by the Library actually; every other source uses it as well.
RBNode is therefore a pretty abstract thing.  Essentially, it
is a node in a tree, which can have both a parent and children.  An
RBNode also has a dynamic set of properties associated with it.

These dynamic properties pretty much correspond to the song
metadata you can see like song length, duration, location, etc.

However, the songs are not represented directly by RBNode instances.
Instead, the library has a subclass of RBNode called RBNodeSong.  This
is subclass just is a bit more convenient to work with for the library
than RBNode directly.

**** The tree structure
So where does the parent/children relationship come in?
Rhythmbox maintains a sort of database of your music.  This is what
allows it implement the browser (filtering by genre, artist, album).
As we said, an RBNode is part of a tree.  The Library sets up a tree
(actually technically it's more like a forest) which looks like this:

       	  Genre1               	     Genre2                  Genre3
         /	---	    	       |       	       	       ...
        /	   \-	    	       |
       Artist1	    Artist2	     Artist3
     --	  |   ---      	 ---	       	--  -----
   -/  	  |	 \-	    Album4     	  \      \---
Album1  Album2   Album3--      	--    	  Album5   Album6---
  |	  /  \	   ---	 \-- 	  \-- 	    \----    ----   \---
  |	-/    \	      \-    \-	     \-	     \	 \---	 \---	\--
Song1  Song2  Song3   Song4 Song5    Song6   Song7  Song8  Song9  Song10

This hierarchy is the core of what Rhythmbox presents to the user.
When you go into the song properties dialog and edit a song title,
you're really changing the RB_NODE_PROP_NAME of an RBNode.  If you
change the artist of an RBNode, it is reparented to the new artist
(and a new album is created if necessary).

**** Saving/loading

RBNode also has a generic "serialization" infrastructure, which
converts an RBNode to XML, which is then saved to disk.  This is
how Rhythmbox stores information about songs.  If you look in
~/.gnome2/rhythmbox, you should see several XML files there.
Essentially that file just contains property IDs (which correspond
to the values in library/rb-node.h), and their values.

** Node Views (RBNodeView)

Now that we understand that Rhythmbox has this tree database of our
music, a logical question: how is it displayed to the user?  Well,
that's the job of an RBNodeView (lib/widgets/rb-node-view.[ch]).

An RBNodeView basically takes the RBNode tree and presents it
using a GtkTreeView.  Simply speaking, an RBNodeView contains
both a GtkTreeView and an RBTreeModelNode.  The RBTreeModelNode takes
care of the details of implementing the GtkTreeModel interface (see
the GTK+ docs for more details).  Then we just use a GtkTreeView to
show that to the user.  RBNodeView hooks in a number of callbacks and
sorting things and filtering things, but this is the general idea.

*** Usage

Each RBSource has at least one RBNodeView.  This is also very important
to understand.  RBSource has a method which looks like this:

RBNodeView *	(*impl_get_node_view)	(RBSource *source);

This method is called by RBShellPlayer to access a source's RBNodeView.
The RBNodeView maintains state, such as which song is selected.  When
a song is double-clicked, a signal is emitted which RBShellPlayer catches,
and then gets the currently selected RBNode, and uses it to play the song.

*** Filtering

In addition to providing a view of the RBNode tree, the RBNodeView
also takes care of filtering it, using an RBNodeFilter

** More on the Library

When you add music or delete music in the library, you might notice that it happens
"in the background".  This is because there is are several separate threads
dedicated to processing addition/removal/update requests on the library.

The main one is (unsurprisingly) called RBLibraryMainThread.  This class
continually reads the main RBLibraryActionQueue (which is a queue of pending
requests from the user), and processes them.  For instance, an
RB_LIBRARY_ACTION_ADD_FILE request causes a new node to be created.
Note that the node system itself has the required locks needed for this to work.

There is a secondary thread RBLibraryWalkerThread which is dedicated to handling
recursive library additions.  It has its own RBLibraryActionQueue instance, and
it watches for RB_LIBRARY_ACTION_ADD_DIRECTORY requests.  It then recursively
traverses the URI and adds RB_LIBRARY_ACTION_ADD_FILE requests to the main

** The Radio Source

Internet radio is handled similarly to the library.  Instead of the
Genre->Artist->Album->Song tree, the hierarchy simply looks like:
Genre->Song.  This hierarchy is maintained by the RBIRadioBackend.
The RBIRadioSource handles most of the user-interface bits such
as popping up dialog boxes and filtering and such.

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