Developer Blog

Developing HTML5 on Boxee

It’s Valentine’s Day at Boxee and users are already feeling the love. Of course, we never want to leave out our developers from our affection, so I thought I’d rap a bit about our support for HTML5.

We feel strongly that the future of TV apps is a cross-platform one, where developers write code once and users enjoy the experiences across multiple devices and screens. HTML5 can create rich experiences across many platforms on the desktop, on mobile devices and - of course - in the living room. We’re on board with this new standard and would like to invite you to try your hand on building an HTML5 app on the Boxee Box.

Setting up an HTML5 app is super easy - just three steps!

1) Creating the descriptor.xml

Like RSS and skin Boxee apps, HTML5 apps start with a descriptor.xml. Let us first consider this example.

<app>
  <id>example</id>
  <name>Example HTML5 App</name>
  <version>1.0</version>
  <description>An example HTML5 app using the new Boxee browser.</description>
  <thumb>http://example.com/thumbnail.png</thumb>
  <repository>http://dir.boxee.tv/apps</repository>
  <media>video</media>
  <copyright>Example, inc</copyright>
  <type>html</type>
  <url>http://www.example.com/html5app</url>
  <controller>http://example.com/boxee.js</controller>
  <platform>all</platform>
  <minversion>1.0</minversion>
  <test-app>true</test-app>
</app>

There are three new important values and one new element we introduced just for HTML5 apps.

  • <type>html</type> - This element defines the Boxee app as an HTML5 app.
  • <url>http://www.example.com/html5app</url> - Like in RSS apps, we use the url element as the link to our HTML5 application.
  • <controller>http://example.com/boxee.js</controller> - A new element in the descriptor.xml, the value for controller should be the link to your Javascript control file.
  • <minversion>1.0</minversion> - HTML5 support is a feature only available in Boxee 1.0; setting this value ensures that the app will be visible only for Boxee 1.0 clients (e.g. the Boxee Box).

2) Creating the Javascript controller

Along with HTML5 support, we’ve introduced a new browser mode to our Javascript API making it super simple to use the Boxee Box remote with your HTML5 app. Called keyboard mode, setting this in your Javascript controller file now allows you to produce simple up/down/left/right navigation in your app with only three lines of Javascript code:

boxee.apiMinVersion=7.0;
boxee.reloadOnPageChange = true;
boxee.setMode(boxee.KEYBOARD_MODE);

3) Installing your app on your Boxee Box

Follow the handy and dandy new testing instruction we have available on the Developer wiki.

Enjoy this new feature of the Boxee platform and comment with your experience.

February 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Come See Rob Talk Tomorrow in NYC / Come Party with the Boxee Crew 10 Nov.

We’re 15 days away from the launch of the Boxee Box from D-Link, our first dedicated hardware device to hit the market! Boxee HQ is buzzing with anticipation of the release and I know you in our developer community are as well. It’s a special time for this community that we’ve built together and a whole lot of engineering blood and sweat will be on display in a couple short weeks.

In anticipation of the release, I’ll be giving a talk to the New York Personal Computer User Group about how we use open source at Boxee, give a brief overview of the development platform, show off the new Boxee Box and of course answer a bunch of your questions. Here are the details on this month’s meeting of NYPC:

At Ripley-Grier, 520 8th Ave, between 36th & 37th Street
10th floor, Room 10D
Doors Open 6pm, Presentation 6:45 - 8:45

And on launch day 10 November Boxee and D-Link will be throwing a Boxee Box launch in Manhattan. We’ll be debuting the Boxee Box live, showing off some new surprises and pushing our baby out into the market in style. Already 1,000 people have RSVPed - be sure to sign up now before the event sells out!

October 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Giving Away a Boxee Box at Music Hack Day

Part of what I love about my home theatre rig is playing music through Boxee. Whether it’s my music library or streaming apps like Pandora and Last.fm, Boxee’s gorgeous interface is the first listening experience I’ve used that feels native to a living room. Music apps continue to be strongly represented in our Top 25 apps each week and with this month’s Music Tech Summit in San Francisco, we see a prime opportunity to up that count even more.SF Music Hack Day Logo

Idan and I will be attending this year’s Music Hack Day to connect with the brightest developers in the music industry and we’re bringing a sack of goodies along. On hand to help hackers bring music services to the television, we’re holding another friendly hacker face-off with a serious prize up for grabs: a Boxee Box as soon as it is available.

This 15-16 May, we’ll be awarding the hotly anticipated hardware from our partners at D-Link to the best music app to be completed at the weekend codefest. And, if that wasn’t enough, we’ll have a Boxee T-shirt for every hacker that completes a Boxee app during the fest.

All you need to win is to get on the waitlist for the event, show up ready to hack, and produce an app that is ear-popping, face-melting, brain-blistering wholesale-monkey-rodeo awesome.

Well, maybe not this awesome…

star-wars-awesome

…but something close.

May 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm