Some interesting new Media Center Markup Language (MCML) development resources have been posted over the past few days that I wanted to draw more attention to.
Shared source MCML controls project
Recently, I heard from Steven Harding (the developer behind the Yougle add-in for Windows XP Media Center Edition that allows you to browse and view YouTube and Google Video content). He let me know that he has been working with the Windows Media Center SDK for Windows Vista in order to learn more about Media Center Markup Language (MCML) and create some new applications for Windows Vista Media Center.
One of the things he expressed some specific frustration about is the lack of a common library of MCML-based controls to allow developers to easily build UI for their applications. To that end, he has created a new project on Sourceforge called MCMLookalike. This project is intended to create a reusable set of controls that have a similar look-and-feel to Windows Vista Media Center.
New Media Center development blog
In addition, Steven has created a blog to describe his experiences as he learns and uses MCML. You can find his Media Center Development Blog at http://mediacenterdev.blogspot.com/. I’ll be adding this blog to my blog roll and keeping an eye on the posts as Steven gets more in-depth with his MCML development.
In-depth tutorial about creating Media Center-like pivots in MCML
Niall has posted a really in-depth tutorial, complete with sample code, that describes the process he used to create MCML controls for pivot items and buttons that look and behave like the pivots in the built-in Windows Vista Media Center UI. You can view the blog post at http://mobilewares.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!78533A1A2E078194!256.entry. Also, you can view the sample on your system if you have Windows Vista Ultimate or Home Premium and the Media Center SDK installed by launching McmlPad and browsing to the URI http://mobilewares.net/mcml/PivotSample.xml.
Based on the tag line on Steven’s blog (“Follow the long and painful experience of one man trying to get the most out of the Media Center Markup Language.”), I’d say that the Media Center SDK still has a long ways to go to allow developers to be as efficient as possible in developing applications for Windows Media Center. Hopefully, we’ll get there in the future, but in the meantime, having community resources like the ones linked above plus the Media Center Sandbox forum are really great supplements to the information in the SDK and I hope to see these trends of sharing knowledge and helping each other learn and use these new technologies continue!