GStreamer hello world

Continuing my previous GStreamer introduction this new tutorial will guide you on your first GStreamer application written in C.

For anxious people the code is here.

The Basics

We first start creating a playbin, which is a GStreamer element:

GstElement *pipeline = gst_element_factory_make("playbin", "player");

Then we specify the URI we want to play, i.e. file://tmp/foobar.mp3

g_object_set(G_OBJECT(pipeline), "uri", uri, NULL);

Now, we would want to play this:

gst_element_set_state(GST_ELEMENT(pipeline), GST_STATE_PLAYING);

But nothing would happen if we don’t have a GLib mainloop:

GMainLoop *loop = g_main_loop_new(NULL, FALSE);

And of course, we need to initialize GStreamer:

gst_init(&argc, &argv);

or, if you don’t have argc/argv available:

gst_init(NULL, NULL);

That’s it, at the end you should stop the pipeline and free it:

gst_element_set_state(GST_ELEMENT(pipeline), GST_STATE_NULL);


Nothing complicated here, pkg-config will tell us all we need to know:

gcc `pkg-config --cflags --libs gstreamer-0.10` hello.c -o gst_hello

The Bus

Great! we have something that plays, but it won’t even exit properly, nor show any errors.

In order to get messages, errors, and other important information while the mainloop is running we need a bus watch from this pipeline:

GstBus *bus = gst_pipeline_get_bus(GST_PIPELINE(pipeline));
gst_bus_add_watch(bus, bus_call, NULL);
static gboolean
bus_call(GstBus *bus,
	 GstMessage *msg,
	 gpointer user_data)
	switch (GST_MESSAGE_TYPE(msg)) {
	case GST_MESSAGE_EOS: break;
	case GST_MESSAGE_ERROR: break;
	default: break;

	return true;

When we get the EOS message, we would like to exit the application, right?


And if we get an ERROR message, we would like to display it, and exit:

gchar *debug;
GError *err;

gst_message_parse_error(msg, &err, &debug);

g_error("%s", err->message);


It seems we have everything!


Now you can listen to your music or watch videos with this. And remember, it receives a URI, so “test.avi” won’t work, you need the whole thing:

./gst_hello "file://$PWD/test.avi"

Or even better!