- Most users will never need to use the "Device Template" page unless they want to do development and make their own devices. If you do want to poke around in the Device Templates, be careful not to change anything unless you know what you are doing. Since changing something here could cause your device to not function properly, it is strongly advised that you track ALL the changes you make so that you can revert them to their original state. All the settings for your device which you can change can be set using the Wizard, which is safer.
What's a template?
A device template is a definition of everything necessary for a device to operate within a LinuxMCE system.
In LinuxMCE, a template defines what the device is called, how it relates to other devices in the house, where it should be created on the device tree (its parent), how to find the device (the plug and play information), what software package is needed to be installed for it to work, or what software package contains the software needed to use it, what commands it supports, what events it can emit, etc.
All the data in a template is stored in the database and queried as needed throughout the system.
These software modules are called templates because they serve as patterns used to add devices. When a new device is added to the system, it is created as an instance of the parent template that defines it, which makes it inherit the data in the template. While some of this is shared between all device instances and can not be changed, the per device data populated in the new device from the template can be edited at will after creation.
A simple way to understand the concept is by looking at templates as blueprints, and devices as the buildings made from that blueprint.
For example, there will only be one Device Template for the "Sony XYZ-123" Television. You, and several other users may have this TV, and each of you will have your own "Device" that you have named, which may have some settings of its own. Everyone can install the "Sony XYZ-123" from the same template, because it is available. The system will detect it, and ask you if you would like to install it in your home. There is only one "Device Template" for that type of device, but there will be as many devices as users have installed. You can install multiple devices of the same kind using the one template that has been developed for it.
If a template is not available, then it will need to be created, since it is the only way to add a device to LinuxMCE and enable it to use the DCERouter to communicate with the rest of the system.
A "Device Template" is what defines a device, and a "Device" is the particular instance installed in the home.
The availability of templates makes device addition easy.
Since all devices are created from templates, every device is merely an instance of a template. Templates provide a simple method for instantiating devices for DCERouter to interact with.
Because all necessary information has been included in the template, the system knows all the particulars necessary to make that kind of device function within the system. This provides the background for the plug and play capability of LinuxMCE.
The DCERouter, which lies at the core of LinuxMCE's operation, is nothing else than a message router. DCERouter makes routing decisions based on information stored in the database about the devices in the LinuxMCE system. At its heart, it is a messaging bus that sends DCE messages around. The DCE messages are created or interpreted based on the protocol used by each device, enabling various technologies to interact.
The device template ties the messaging bus to a device and any configurations necessary to make it function, including software. Anything can control anything through DCE because everything is translated to DCE by means of a template. Without templates, each piece of hardware would have to have embedded support for DCE, but, with templates, any hardware or software can be added to the system.
Why templates? For DCE interactions.
What are templates used for?
A device template shows the system how to interface with a device. It is used to:
- standardize communication with each particular type of device
- ease device installation and provide Plug And Play capability
- translate various protocols to DCE
A template defines all drivers the device must be bound to, wrappers, package dependencies, and other software necessary for its operation. All software requirements are handled by the template, including creating our common command emulation, or device specific translation. Once all the software and settings have been tied together in a template, any device of the type it was designed to handle can communicate with the system using the same definition. A template standardizes the way a particular type of device interacts within the system.
Device installation and P&P
Templates hold the unique device information. When it detects the device, it ties to the needed particulars, and translates commands from input device to DCE, which communicates with everything. Because of the existence of templates, LinuxMCE can identify a device, know which packages to grab, and, know which scripts or database queries to run to set it up.
When DCERouter receives events and commands, it uses the device template instance to interpret, then deliver them to the appropriate recipient.
Using device templates
To use a device template, you simply select it from the list of available templates when creating a device.
Making Changes to Templates
If you make changes to the Device Template, this will affect your local system only. However, if you have fixed some errors, added functionality to an existing Device Template or created your own Device Template, you can use sqlCVS to merge those changes back into the master database so everyone can benefit from them. The same is true with everything in your local database--the user interface, even the online documentation you are reading now is editable. When you check-in changes using sqlCVS, sqlCVS will isolate those changes and notify the developer who is responsible for quality assurance for that section. Once the developer has confirmed the changes, he can have the changes merged back into LinuxMCE's main development database, which will eventually get propagated to the testing and release databases if the changes pass the tests.
Merging Template Changes
We recommend that you do merge any changes you make locally to the Device Templates because if you do not, then sqlCVS will not update that Device Template with any changes that may have been made to the master database. Your local copy will then likely become out of date. Note that sqlCVS will notify you when it does an update if you have changed a Device Template that was also changed in the master database. You will have the option of over-writing your local Device Template with the master one, or keeping your modified local copy.
Using Device Template Page
- Select the manufacturer and the device category and click "Apply filter" to restrict the device templates list to those from the device category and manufacturer selected.
- Click "Autofilter" to make this operation to be performed automatically every time the device category or manufacturer is changed.
- If you know the device template number, just type it in "device template" box.
Creating a New Template