Hotspot based metadata

Erik Massop edited this page Nov 4, 2017 · 1 revision


  • non-volatile metadata, or simply just metadata
    • Metadata that's written to the media library, most often (if not always) set from the plugin _init function. Examples: artist, title, file size
  • volatile metadata (does not exist yet)
    • Metadata that's not written to the media library. Examples: lyrics, shoutcast artist/title, soundcloud comments
  • auxdata
    • Internal decoder specific metadata. Examples: a binary decoder config blob passed from container xform to the xform doing the decoding.

Problems with the current design

  • Today xforms have direct access to the media library and writes to it when they see fit, this poses a problem since there might be buffering of the audio data that should really be played before the metadata is updated.
  • The global media library got removed after XMMS2 0.8, xform plugins now have no way of querying existing metadata (for example to check if an expensive value has already been cached).
  • All metadata must be routed via the medialibrary today, no room for volatile information such as soundcloud comments, lyrics, artist/title of streams etc.
  • xmms_xform_metadata_(set|get)* and xmms_xform_auxdata_(set|get)* APIs are practically identical and they can easily be unified. (macros for compatibility)

Solution Proposal A (nano)

  • Access to the xmms_medialib_t object will be completely removed from xform.c as it is today, and will be handled only by a xmms_xform_chain_factory or some better name.
  • Metadata will be fetched from the media library on xform chain creation and xforms will thus not need the media library during their life time.
  • Metadata will be written to the chain using hotspots locked into a specific position in the buffer, the output object will consume the hotspot data from the xform chain tail and update the media library accordingly.
  • Metadata may be marked as volatile, non-volatile, or private (auxdata). only non-volatile will end up in the media library, and only volatile will end up being sent as a broadcast_playback_current_info.
  • Since no xform chain tail reads are performed when scanning for metadata, there must be a drain() function which drains the metadata from the hotspots queue that has been gathered up to that point.
  • Hotspots queues will remain like today, but their data will move to the next xform as it reads past a hotspot position with data in the previous xform.
  • An xform may have an internal buffer, so hotspot position should be bytes offset from start for hotspots to hit/migrate at correct time.

Unresolved problems

The actual position to set the metadata on is fuzzy to say the least. The following list are not all problems, but taking care of them all in a pretty way is.

  • An xform may emit data that's processed into PCM-data by another xform, so metadata set on position 5 in the first, may actually be position 32768 in the PCM data. (midi xform for example)
  • An xform may need byte precision accuracy for technical reasons (what's auxdata is used for today).
  • An xform may buffer large amounts of data from the previous xform, and the metadata must still be emitted at the correct position.
  • An xform may alter playback speed, both faster and slower (really a more specific usecase of the first point)
  • An xform may alter playback direction (not sure if this means anything in this context)


Similar to the current hotspot based auxdata, but extended to use byte position and migrate metadata through the chain to the tail where it may be handled: (nano)

A ticket based solution: (vdust)

Both suffer from the problems mentioned in Solution Proposal A.

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