[mythtv] BrowserBased setup

Lennart Sorensen lsorense at csclub.uwaterloo.ca
Wed Nov 24 15:43:45 UTC 2010

On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 10:14:22AM +0200, Per Lundberg wrote:
> Thanks for your replies. I'll try to reply to them all in one email:
> 1) Regarding the "Silverlight is dead" issue, this is a rumor that
> started spreading a couple of weeks ago. Simply said, it is untrue;
> it's just a rumor really. What *is* true is that Microsoft is shifting
> focus slightly; instead of pushing Silverlight for "streaming media"
> applications, HTML5 can be used instead (which includes the famous new
> <video> tag). However, for LOB (line of business) applications,
> Silverlight is still an interesting alternative.

Seeing what people can pull of with javascript and ajax, I see no reason
to have flash or silverlight (or java plugins for that matter).  They just
reduce the number of platforms your system works on.

> 2) Regarding the "it doesn't work on Linux/BSD" - yes, this is indeed
> a problem. I haven't tried running Silverlight applications on these
> platforms, but if you say that Moonlight works poorly, I have no
> reason to question this statement. Then again, if you think about the
> (potential) user base for MythTV in general, do you _really_ think
> that a majority of the people would run a "Linux/BSD only"
> environment, even on their workstations, laptops, everyday computer? I
> think scenarios like myself are quite common: running Windows on the
> desktop, but having a Linux server hidden away somewhere. :-) For such
> people, having a Silverlight-only plugin will not be a huge problem.
> If the target audience of MythTV is "true" Unix geeks only, well... we
> have a bigger problem. :-)

I have 6 actively used computers in the house.  5 run only linux, one
runs only windows (although with linux in a virtual machine for those
things windows doesn't do properly).

People that really mainly use windows are more likely to use windows
media center.  Much easier to setup and configure and a lot less capable
than mythtv.

> 3) Regarding the "who has a Silverlight development environment?", it
> is true - yes, it's a bit more work than starting to type some PHP
> code in a text editor. Then again, Visual Studio Express + the
> Silverlight 4 SDK is freely available (but then again, only on
> Windows, which is a problem if the potential developers/contributors
> favor Unix systems).

Even getting mythtv to compile and work in windows seems like an
afterthought in mythtv development.  The majority of developers probably
don't care one bit about windows.  They are more likely to care about
Mac OS since at least that's a unix like system.  A few certainly care
about windows given there is any work at all going towards that, but I
doubt it's that many, and the work is only towards being able to run a
front end on windows.  The backend is not windows, so development of
anything that runs on the backend won't be on windows either.

Moonlight currently implements silverlight 2, and is in beta(ish) of
silverlight 3.  Silverlight 4 will be years before it is ready I suspect.
Now the implementation for silverlight 1 worked great, silverlight 2
in the case of moonlight is a disaster (it requries a custom version
of mono which bloats it by a ridiculous amount and many distributions
refuse to include it because of that, because it duplicates all of mono
for no good reason).  Silverlight will NEVER be cross platform.

> Having said all that, I would like to state that I definitely respect
> anyone favoring an "HTML"-based approach, for the cross-platform
> support. Yes, HTML works everywhere, it's definitely true. Then again,
> the obvious *dis*-advantage of HTML is that it isn't designed for
> writing applications in. You have to keep track of state (sessions).
> You have to handle cases where people are pressing the "back" button,
> or just navigating right into the middle of your application flow
> because they are copy & pasting a URL into their web browser. You have
> to have people wait while the browser is "loading" and loading and
> loading page after page...
> Then of course, Javascript and AJAX comes into the picture, but
> really... who wants to use Javascript anyway? I certainly wouldn't.
> The only good part of Javascript is that it's available everywhere...

Better than flash or silverlight.

> Yes, you can do pretty nice web applications with it, but HTML +
> Javascript is definitely (IMHO) a whole lot more clumsy to work with
> than e.g. Silverlight and C#. That's really my conviction, after
> having worked with both of these technologies. (but I have worked much
> more with WPF than with Silverlight)
> My conclusion is this: if you go with the decided approach (built-in
> web server, which I think is a good idea, with the setup program
> written in C++ and HTML), _please_ consider using a two-tier
> architecture (well, three-tier if you include the database). That is,
> separate the presentation from the service architecture. REST could be
> one alternative here. Design proper (REST) services for adding DVB
> cards, scanning for channels, etc. This way, it will still be possible
> for some maniac (like me? :-) to write a Silverlight version of the
> setup if they like. It also simplifies for people who perhaps wish to
> keep the Qt-based setup program; they "just" have to rewrite it to
> speak with the REST services instead of (my presumption that it is)
> calling MythTV library methods to do the work.
> This is my 0.02€. Thanks.

Len Sorensen

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