Kodi Documentation  18.0
Kodi is an open source media player and entertainment hub.
Python

Python Add-On Development

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Modules

 Library - xbmc
 General functions on Kodi.
 
 Library - xbmcgui
 GUI functions on Kodi.
 
 Library - xbmcplugin
 Plugin functions on Kodi.
 
 Library - xbmcaddon
 Kodi's addon class.
 
 Library - xbmcvfs
 Virtual file system functions on Kodi.
 
 Library - xbmcwsgi
 Web Server Gateway Interface
 
 Library - xbmcdrm
 Kodi's DRM class.
 

Detailed Description

Python Add-On Development

logo-python.png

Kodi includes a built-in Python interpreter that allows users to develop add-ons (scripts and plugins) that interface easily and cleanly with the Kodi dashboard. These add-ons can extend the functionality of Kodi without requiring extensive programming experience or ability. While you may not feel comfortable browsing the Kodi source code and submitting patches (or even bug reports), you can learn how to write a script or plugin with just a few hours' practice, using the information available in these pages.

This page is intended as an introduction to Kodi Python for new developers, and a quick reference for more experienced programmers. If you're not interested in programming, you might want to visit this page for information about installing and using Python add-ons as an end user. If you're already familiar with Kodi Python, you can probably skip on down to the environment details or the resource links below for quick reference material.


Built-in modules

In addition to the standard libraries, Kodi Python uses a handful of custom modules to expose Kodi functionality to Python.

Module Description
xbmc Offers classes and functions that provide information about the media currently playing and that allow manipulation of the media player (such as starting a new song). You can also find system information using the functions available in this library.
xbmcgui Offers classes and functions that manipulate the Graphical User Interface through windows, dialogs, and various control widgets.
xbmcplugin Offers classes and functions that allow a developer to present information through Kodi's standard menu structure. While plugins don't have the same flexibility as scripts, they boast significantly quicker development time and a more consistent user experience.
xbmcaddon Offers classes and functions that manipulate the add-on settings, information and localization.
xbmcvfs Offers classes and functions that alow access to the Virtual File Server (VFS) which you can use to manipulate files and folders.
xbmcwsgi The Web Server Gateway Interface (WSGI) is a specification for simple and universal interface between web servers and web applications or frameworks for the Python programming language.
xbmcdrm Offers classes and functions to create and manipulate a DRM CryptoSession .

Installing additional modules

Additional modules may be installed by simply adding the module to the root folder of your add-on.

A common way to organized third-party modules that are not part of add-on source code itself, is to add a lib directory and place an init.py file and other third-party modules inside it. These modules may then normally be imported using from lib import some module.


Python plugins versus scripts

Please do not confuse "Plugins" with "Scripts". Unlike the Scripts, Plugins are not meant to be directly invoked by the user. Instead, Plugins are automatically invoked when the user enters such a virtual folder. Do not try to run Plugins files from the scripts window as that will only give you a weird error message. Plugins, unlike Scripts, do not really provide new functionality to Kodi, instead what they do do is provide an easy way to present content listings in Kodi through the native GUI interface.


Script development

If you're new to Python programming (or just new to Kodi Python), the easiest way to get started is with a script. The traditional Hello World program, written as an Kodi Python script, would look like this:

print("Hello World!")

That's the same code you would enter at the Python command line, because Kodi runs a full-featured, standard Python interpreter (for more information concerning the current version number and included modules see the environment details below). If you're already familiar with Python programming, the only new challenge is learning the custom modules that allow you to gather information from Kodi and manipulate the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

There are some excellent tutorials available to introduce you to Kodi scripting (and Python in general). See the HOW-TO included in the Kodi Online Manual, or visit Alexpoet's Kodi Scripting site for a popular beginner's tutorial (PDF).


Plugin development

While scripts offer you flexibility and full control over the Kodi GUI, plugins allow you to quickly and consistently present information to the user through the standard Kodi menu structure.

When a user launches a plugin, the plugin generates a list of menu items and hands them to Kodi to draw on the screen (regardless of screen resolution, skin, or any other user setting). While plugin developers lose some amount of control over the presentation, they no longer have to make up their own UIs, or worry about creating a usable look and feel across multiple displays.

Plugins are most commonly used to scrape websites for links to streaming videos, displaying the video list in Kodi just like it would movie files on the local hard drive, but a plugin can be used anywhere a script could, as long as the menu structure is a sufficient GUI for the add-on's needs.

Also, note that a script can launch a plugin, and a plugin can launch a script (and, for that matter, it can call all the same functions available to a script) so the distinction is more theoretical than practical.