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The future of MPI - we need your opinion!

Discussion in 'Skins and Plugins Installer (MPEI)' started by infinite.loop, January 13, 2009.

  1. infinite.loop
    • Team MediaPortal


    System Specs
    Since quite a long time, MediaPortal comes with "MPI", the MediaPortal Extensions Installer.

    MPI_1.jpg MPI_2.jpg

    This tool was created with the goal to make the installation process for our users as easy as possible.
    In example, it allows to browse a list of plugins and skins located on our webpage, and install it directly from the application.

    So we expected that MPI would be used by community plugin developers and skinners.
    But sadly, it is not. Instead we see that community plugins and skins come with their own exe installers.

    Dont get me wrong, we really appreciate the work of our skinners and plugin devs, but in terms of useability for our end-users, the current situation is very bad.

    So what we want, is that MPI becomes the only way to distribute and install Community Skins and Plugins, hosted exclusively on the team-mediaportal.com homepage.

    I guess that some people now have a puls of 220, but think about our users. :)

    What we want, is an easy and uniform way for our users to find and install community skins and plugins.
    And the solution is MPI.

    Now, we know that MPI must have some limitations and downsides which lead to the current situation of not using it.

    So, we want to improove MPI in the upcoming MediaPortal releases 1.0.1 and 1.0.2. :)

    We would be very happy to hear from our community plugin developers and skin designers, what they miss in MPI.
    Let us know!


    For quite many of the wanted features we need a skilled and dedicated Webdeveloper who is willing to work on the opensource repository we are using on the homepage.
    Please get in contact with me if you want to do that. :)

    • Like Like x 1
  2. infinite.loop
    • Team MediaPortal

    infinite.loop Thread Starter

    System Specs
    Wishlist for MediaPortal Extensions Installer (updated with your feedback!)

    • allow to add a post-installation message which will be displayed once the installation is finished
    • allow to define if the plugin should be auto-enabled after installation
    • allow to define if the plugin should be displayed on the homescreen
    • set MP version for which the extension was created for
    • good list by ltfearme
    • dependencies - a plugin or skin might required that other plugins are installed on the sytem as well. so it should be possible to "define" these plugins by intering its link from the repository when creating the new MPI (requires repository changes)
    • scripts - allow to run a script after installation is finished (maybe create an inbuilt script-engine?)
      this would be required for plugins which run as windows-service (MyPowerControl, remote control, ..)

    • add links to configuration.exe which open the MP - Extensions Installer. i.e. "Download more Extensions" / "Download more Skins" (note: configuration.exe must be ended automatically with a "save" call when pressing this link)
    • redesign the way extensions are desplayed
    • add a checkbox which will cause that only extensions created for this MP version are displayed
    • display a warning if user tries to install a extension on a not supported (newer) MP version
    • allow to rate extensions (requires repository changes)
    • display download count (requires repository changes)
    • display history (requires repository changes)
    • display "Top 10 skins / plugins / other" (requires repository changes)
    • display "Top rated skins / plugins / other" (requires repository changes)
  3. some plugins require complex setup's/configurations after they're installed so maybe some way to send an install guide with the .mpi plugin
  4. infinite.loop
    • Team MediaPortal

    infinite.loop Thread Starter

    System Specs
    Indeed, we noticed this as well.

    Imo. the best solution would be that plugin developers write the manuals of their applications ::directly into the wiki::, instead of adding pdf's, readme.txt's or an link to some 50+ pages long thread in the forums.

    So MPI should allow the plugin developer to add a "post installation message" into the MPI package.
    Once the installation is finished, the user would see this message from the developer, and i.e. get forwarded to the manual in the wiki, which will describe the configuration process, the useage of the plugin, etc. :)
  5. weissollo
    • Premium Supporter


    Integrate the Extensions Installerer into configuration

    The normal MP user will never use the MP Extensions Installerer. After installation he see two desktop icons and he will not look in the program menu.
    So the best thing is to include the Extensions Installer into the Configuration.
  6. revs
    • Premium Supporter


    Or better yet - into the main application!

    Also, if integrated in the main application, it would be nice to have an alert when any updates are available.

    Oh.. and a "rollback" feature, incase an update screws something up :)
  7. I do agree a good MPI system is the way to go.

    The reason i didn't create a MPI for my plugin is because i simply didn't know how to create one. I have looked at the wiki but that didn't make it any more obvious. As weissollo pointed out people don't look in the program menu, at least i didn't. Just now because of the screenshots in the OP i noticed the Mediaportal Plugins-Skins Installer and created my first MPI.

    So a very important aspect is letting everybody know where to find this utility and how to use it.
  8. infinite.loop
    • Team MediaPortal

    infinite.loop Thread Starter

    System Specs
    There is a problem, caused by the architecture of the configuration application, which makes this quite impossible.

    What we could do is place a "link" into the configuration application. :)

    i.e. one next to the "user Config Files" called Download Extensions
    and "get more skins" in the skins section
  9. revs
    • Premium Supporter


    A link sounds good - a "Get More Plug-ins and Skins" button or similar.
  10. Dadeo
    • Team MediaPortal
    • Administrator


    System Specs
    Yes!!!! I am fully in support of some standard installer for plugins AND skins.

    When I first loaded MP (before MPI existed) I really did not think it was going to be a good program. At that time, even the main installation was not very good. And what I had to go through to figure out how to install plugins and skins. Well it just didn't look very professional and did not reflect the quality of MP (which is my favorite software EVER). The new Installation is MUCH better, but the plugins and skins... need I say more?

    I agree with Revs, the best option would be in the main application, but if not, then the MPI tab under Plugins should take you there directly (hopefully without exiting the main configuration! and return you to configuration when you are done or give you an option to exit)

    So here are my suggestions of what you can do in the near future:

    1. Link MPI to main plugin (tab) AND skin configuration (I can't find any reference to MPI under Skin Configuration)

    2. Call it something more user friendly than MPI, like Plugin Installation, Skin Installation (Extensions is becoming more widley used, so that might work!)

    3. Have an option to check the repository for plugin/skin updates that match your current release of MP (I think the Check for Updates checks for updates to MPI? I'm not sure)

    3. Get rid of the icons in the current MPI tab under Plugin Conifiguration. You can't really do anything with them that I can tell. If I try to uninstall, reinstall or anything I get a message like "This package contain plugin file. Use MP Installer to resitall it!" Apart from the grammatical and spelling errors, it is just funny because the Tab says MP Installer. So I thought I was using the MP Installer!!!!

    4. Provide some simple and clear documentation on creating an MPI file for skins or plugins. Ideally a help file with the Create Extensions section. And add a place for documentation files!

    5. Possibly separate sections under Create Extension for Skins vs Plugins. The Skins one should be pretty easy in comparison. You could even provide a basic template for creating skin extensions since that should be pretty consistent. And ask some developers to test it. If it takes longer than 5-10 minutes forget it.

    6. I don't know if MPI does this now, but MPI should be able to check what version of MP a user is using, and inform them if the plugin or skin is not supported for this version. THEN users will refuse to use anything but the MPI!!! We are all tired of loading incompatible versions of skins and plugins (which sometimes don't even tell you which version of MP they support)

    As far as getting the developers to use the installer, I hope they will let you know why they don't. But also, you have to give developers a good reason to use MPI. If it cannot be part of the main configuration, then isn't it easier for users to use a standard .exe install, which is what they are used to? How do you answer that? I mean what are the advantages of using MPI? I am sure there are lots, but do the developers know what they are?

    I hope these suggestions are helpful. I mean them as support and encouragement for your efforts. As a user, I welcome and applaud all your attempts to make MP installation and configuration easier!


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