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Devcon 2017 - Day One

Welcome to DevCon 2017!

Unlike previous years, where we've tried to give a live blog of what's happening (much harder than it might seem!), this year, we're aiming to simply summarise the event for you all in a series of posts.

So: DevCon 2017. Thirty-two of the finest team members, assembled together to watch the rain and thunderstorms of a damp Portuguese day. But that's okay, as we're locked in a windowless room in the basement anyway.

Keith opened the event with welcomes and introductions - including the 8 new attendees (mostly moderators) for whom this is their first Devcon.

Natethomas followed on to talk through the state of Kodi's finances - sponsors, donations, expenses - and our current non-profit/Foundation status. This segued into Keith talking about future scope: what can we be accuring for, likely and potential future expenditure. That includes what we could be doing to perhaps share the burden of metadata providers, as Kodi is a significant "hit" for them.

Keith continued by leading a discussion on future DevCon possibilities - scope and format, mainly - and we also discussed how we could perhaps work more closely with other stakeholder teams, such as the guys from VLC and ffmpeg.

We then moved to an animated discussion on installation numbers and how we can potentially improve our data on installed base, versions and operating systems without compromising our users' privacy in any way. This is turning into an important issue, as we need to be much more on top of what version are out there and what they're doing, e.g. if a specific platform/OS/version combination is doing something untoward to the distribution servers.

Koying then led a conversation about the implications of the GPL on closed-source (binary) addons, and how we might balance the requirements of both sides of that equation. There's a fundamental incompatibility between true GPL open source and the needs to protect intellectual property in a binary addon, and we need to close that if we're to attract the NetFlixes of the world to work with us.

A1rwulf presented his database refactoring plans and current status. This is still very much a work-in-progress, but will ultimately improve how we handle large volumes of data (e.g. very large music/song libraries) in future versions of Kodi.

We then moved on to a discussion on our server and mirror infrastructure, courtesy of Kib - what do we have today, how the mirrors work, what our demands are, and what potential we have to perhaps share the love around a bit, with more mirrors in key regions. To give you an idea, we served 10PB of data in the first four months of the year, and are servicing thousands of requests per second all through the day - so this is no small operation now. As covered in our early April blogs, we also covered the impact that third party addons are having on that infrastructure, specifically as they demand and re-demand dependencies.

Razze covered code quality - specifically, the Addon Generator and how that can be used to generate a defined template for various types of addon in a consistent format. This will hopefully jump-start new addons, as developers can concentrate on the code and not the format. We also talked about how similar models can be used to sanity-check new addons to make sure we're using the right modules and dependencies as they're submitted to github.

And, finally, Martijn closed the day with an overview of Kodi release management: where we've come from over the years, what we've learned, how it's developed, and how it's now done. Again, this is all part of getting you high-quality code, with new features, as quickly as possible.

After a long day sitting in a dark basement, it was time to see a little bit of the city. We rounded the day off with a tour of a local port winery, dinner at a Celtic Portuguese restaurant and far too many craft beers - a great opportunity for the team to come together, particularly for the new guys.

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