Menu theme development guide

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Menu themes allow the user to customize where certain myth features are located. By creating a customized menu theme, users can tailor MythTV to their own usage. The goal of this guide is to familiarize users with the menu's XML format and to create a comprehensive list of actions that will allow the user to invoke plugins and other menus. This document assumes that mythtv is installed in the "/usr" directory. If it is installed in the "/usr/local" directory, substitute everywhere that says "/usr/" with "/usr/local/". This document is currently incomplete.


Menu themes are a series of XML documents. The XML document defines what "buttons" are shown on each menu. Each XML document describes one menu.

First Step

The first step is to create a directory to hold the menu's XML document. If unsure, a good place is in the home folder. The directory can be called anything that is not already a theme of any kind. To find out what not to call the menu theme, use the following command in a terminal:

$ ls /usr/share/mythtv/themes

Type the following to create a directory for a menutheme in "~/mymenuthemes/mymenu".

$ cd ~
$ mkdir mymenuthemes
$ cd mymenuthemes
$ mkdir mymenu
$ cd mymenu

It is generally a good idea to sketch out how the new menu is to be laid out. This will decrease the chance of error as well as speed up the development process.

Creating a Main Menu

To create the main menu, create a new document called "mainmenu.xml" For example, this command can be typed at the terminal:

$ gedit mainmenu.xml

The first line of the document will always be

<mythmenu name="MAIN">

After the mythmenu tag, one or more button tags will define the buttons shown on the screen. Finally, the document will end with



A button defines what text appears on the screen and what action will be taken when the user selects the button.

   <text>My Text</text>
   <text lang="XX">My Text in XX</text>

Below is a description of each tag

  • <type> This tag defines what kind of button this is. This will determine what picture is shown when the button is highlighted. A list of known types can be found in Appendix A: Types.
  • <text> The default text that appears on the screen. This is generally written in English.
  • <text lang="XX"> Text that will appear if the user's local is XX. There may be more than one of these tags
  • <action> The action that will result when the user selects the button. A complete list of known actions can be found in Appendix B: Actions
  • <depends> Indicates that the button will only be shown if the indicated plugin is installed

More Menus

One menu is usually not enough. To organize things, other menus can be created. A new menu will be an xml document of any name. New menus also start out with the tag <mythmenu name="NAME">. Replace "NAME" with an identifier of choice. Remember that the xml document must end with </mythmenu>.

Linking to another Menu

To link to another menu, create a button that looks like this:

   <text>Go to another Menu</text>
   <text lang="XX">Ogay otay notheray enumay</text>
   <action>MENU newmenu.xml</action>

Helpful Tips

Sometimes there is an action that is desired, but not quite possible. For example, one cannot call mythdvd to do the action DVD_PLAY from the main menu. The action could be hardcoded into the menu itself. For example, a button can be written like so:

     <text>Watch DVD</text>
     <action>EXEC xine --fullscreen dvd:/</action>

This should probably only be used on a personal level since another user may not have the custom program.

Appendix A: Types

Appendix B: Actions

TV actions

  • TV_STATUS - Status of the myth backend
  • TV_WATCH_RECORDING - Go to the watch recording screen
  • TV_WATCH_LIVE - Watch live TV
  • TV_SET_RECPRIORITIES - View/Set Recording Priorities
  • TV_FIX_CONFLICTS - Show upcoming recordings and conflicts
  • TV_DELETE - Go to delete recordings screen
  • TV_PREVIOUS - Show previously recorded shows
  • TV_SCHEDULE - Schedule a recording
  • TV_PROGFIND - Go to program finder
  • TV_MANUAL - Manually set recording info
  • TV_CUSTOM_RECORD - Allow user to set a custom recording

Settings actions

Please note the space between SETTINGS and it's argument



Find out more actions