Developer Blog

Why Your App Belongs In The Boxee Library

Here at Boxee we pride ourselves in being the open alternative to other television partners and this philosophy extends to our development community. Developing apps on Boxee is and always will be free for anyone who wants to bring their content to the platform. Distributing these apps occurs through two mechanisms - the Boxee App Library and third-party repositories. Let’s take a look at both of these two options and why one is likely preferable to the other for your Boxee app.

What is the Boxee App Library?

Also called the “App Box” and the “main repo” on the forums, the Boxee App Library is the default app repository pre-configured on every Boxee install. Every app in in the Library is vetted and approved by Boxee’s Quality Assurance team, ensuring every user can be confident that the experience he/she will find in the App Library will be great.

What are third-party repositories?

In addition to submitting to our App Library, developers have the option of adding their own repositories using our open specification. Just as any one can build an app on Boxee, anyone can build a library for Boxee apps. In keeping with our open source culture, this gives our community an option available on few other development platforms (and fewer still for the TV): the freedom to control the distribution of their work.

Why should my app be submitted to the App Library?

With the ability to distribute your software yourself, some developers wonder what the benefits are to submitting their app to the App Library. There are three big wins that the App Library brings to every app:

1) Visibility

A very strong majority of Boxee users never install a third-party repository. This creates a gate between Boxee’s 1.1 million user audience and your app. By submitting to the App Library, you ensure that every single user of Boxee can access your app without having to follow any instructions or encounter any obstructions. All the most popular apps on Boxee are distributed through the App Library.

2) Quality Assurance

Like many other app ecosystems, each app that is published in the App Library gets screened by Boxee’s crack Quality Assurance group. Coding always means bugs and even the best among us let some get through the cracks. There is no one in the Boxee community as adept at finding bugs as our QA group and their assistance will always ensure a better end product.

3) Maintenance Tools

Every developer that submits their app to the App Library also gets access to our tools to maintain apps, most notably JIRA. As the central bug tracker for all things Boxee, this means that users can submit quality bugs for your app, giving you instant feedback on the app’s function and quality. In addition, you can integrate your IDE with Boxee’s JIRA install quickly and easily with tools like Mylyn, giving you even easier control over the maintenance of your app.

In short, the Boxee App Library gives your app the distribution, the tools and the tender-lovin’-care it needs to thrive in our wide development ecosystem. In addition, it is super simple!

How To Submit:

Submitting to our App Library is easy and transparent. All you have to do is follow the Application Submission process found on our developer wiki.

Your app with then get into our queue and you will start receiving communication from our QA group within 1 business day.

We’ve invested significant effort in our submission process as of late. While we feel we still have a way to go before we are satisfied, we strongly believe that it is more open and transparent than many other submission processes developers have to endure when making the software they love.

As always, I welcome your feedback - find me on FreeNode in #boxee or on Twitter @boxee_api.

June 4, 2010 at 12:31 pm