[mythtv-users] American EPG Data Provider Found?

Jarom McDonald jarom_mcdonald at byu.edu
Thu Jul 26 15:45:24 UTC 2007

I think there's a general misunderstanding about how mythfilldatabase 
actually works. First of all, it's not just as simple as saying "point 
this at a URL at get what is returned." Mythfilldatabase doesn't do 
anything other than initialize the grabber and then take the returning 
data and put in into the database. It is the grabber, thus, which has to 
interface with the outside site, and it is that which will need to be 
upgraded (along with whatever config files or database entries exist 
that tell mythfilldatabase which grabber to use).

As far as the grabber goes, it, too, is much more complex than a simple 
URL pointing. Because every region has different requirements, a simple 
config file cannot be written to account for all the possibilities. Many 
places need screen scraping, so the grabber for that region has to know 
the URLs to go to, the regexes to parse it into XMLTV format, etc. Other 
places, such as in North America, have the web service option, but 
constructing a web service query, too can't necessarily be handled by a 
simple config file.

So the solution that the XMLTV folk came up with was to have a different 
grabber script for each region, which would contain all the rules, 
parameters, etc. necessary to get the data, get it into XMLTV format, 
and present it to whatever needs it (and many more software packages use 
XMLTV--it's not a myth product). It's a pretty good solution in my 
opinion, given the wide disparity in data needs around the world. The 
different scripts, in essence, ARE the config file.

Perhaps there is more in the works as well, but given that XMLTV is 
participating with MythTV and others on the schedulesdirect program, I 
can't see why they wouldn't continue to follow this model. So when the 
new schedule delivery system in North America is ready, it will most 
likely be a web service. Then, a new XMLTV grabber will be written to 
get data from it (so that all the other people who rely on XMLTV can use 
it as well). Your Myth installation will just need a simple database 
change to tell mythfilldatabase to initialize this new grabber; however, 
you will have to update XMLTV so the new grabber is there to begin with. 
This is what Chris meant when he said there would be a URL change.

Jarom McDonald

David Schmidt wrote:
> On 7/26/07, Andrew Close <aclose at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 7/26/07, Michael T. Dean <mtdean at thirdcontact.com> wrote:
>>> On 07/26/2007 03:37 AM, Nick Rout wrote:
>>>> Chris Petersen wrote:
>>>>> It'll be .20.1 or .21 by the time you'd need to upgrade.  There will
>>>>> need to be *some* kind of upgrade because the data would be coming from
>>>>> a different URL.
>>>> The url is fixed in the code and not a config setting?
>>>> That was a good idea wasn't it?
>>> How many times has someone posted a message to the list saying,
>>> "mythfilldatabase isn't working and I'm in the US," and the eventual
>>> solution turned out to be, "You're requesting data from the wrong URL.
>>> You need to change the URL in your configuration settings"?
>>> Zero.  Oh.  Well, then, maybe it was a good idea.
>> :)
>> but, since it 'will' need to be modified this time, maybe it makes
>> sense to put it in the config somewhere instead of in the code.  who
>> knows, maybe the new data solution will be able to be piggybacked
>> worldwide and distributed so Myth users in other countries could use
>> it too.  although, being a URL, that may be moot since anyone with
>> access to the interWeb should be able to access it...
>> but it's usually good design practice to not have hardcoded values...
> I wasn't going to chime in before someone else made it a discussion
> since it sounds like I'm criticizing when I've contributed 0 lines of
> code so far ((-;), but I agree.  When I first heard it was hardcoded I
> thought it screamed to be something written to the DB on initial
> installation with *no* way to change it through the standard Myth
> interface.  That way, newbies can't mess it up but at times like this
> it could be easily changed by "power" users.  Even if DD hadn't ended
> their service, they could have changed the URL, say, labs.zap2it.com
> to datadirect.zap2it.com.
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Jarom McDonald
Assistant Research Professor
Humanities Technology and Research Support Center
1163G JFSB
Provo, UT 84602
jarom_mcdonald at byu.edu

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