Nodecastor Save

Experiment to implement a sender API for Chromecast in Node.js

Project README

Nodecastor

NPM version Dependency Status npm

This library is an experiment to provide a sender API for Google Chromecast devices using mDNS and some TLS protobuf protocol instead of the DIAL discovery protocol. Early Chromecasts made use of DIAL but Google switched away from it. While SSDP/DIAL support is still present and some applications are still using it (like YouTube), existing applications have to migrate to the new SDK using the new protocol.

This library doesn't support DIAL/SSDP (and hence the applications relying on it). See nodecast instead.

Install

npm install nodecastor --save

You may need this on Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install libavahi-compat-libdnssd-dev

Usage

This is still a work in progress. The API is not stable, the quality is pretty low and there are a lot of bugs.

Library

To use the library, you first need to discover what Chromecast devices are available on the network. This is an optional step as you can also declare a Chromecast manually from its IP address.

const util = require('util');
const nodecastor = require('nodecastor');

nodecastor.scan()
  .on('online', device => {
    console.log('New device', util.inspect(device));
  })
  .on('offline', device => {
    console.log('Removed device', util.inspect(device));
  })
  .start();

On Linux, if no device is discovered, first check that your machine is able to do mDNS address resolution. The library used for this purpose delegates this to the libc. You should have something like that in /etc/nsswitch.conf:

hosts: files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4

Both online and offline events will invoke the callback with a CastDevice instance. You can also create the CastDevice instance manually:

new nodecastor.CastDevice({
  friendlyName: 'My secret Chromecast',
  address: '192.168.1.27',
  port: 8009
});

Once you have a CastDevice instance, you need to wait for the connection event. Then, you can request some informations about it:

d.on('connect', () => {
  d.status((err, s) => {
    if (!err) {
      console.log('Chromecast status', util.inspect(s));
    }
  });
});

You can get updated when the status of the Chromecast changes by listening to the status event:

d.on('status', status => {
  console.log('Chromecast status updated', util.inspect(status));
});

You can also request an application. This will give you a CastApplication instance.

d.application('YouTube', (err, a) => {
  if (!err) {
    console.log('YouTube application', util.inspect(a));
  }
});

Once you have a CastApplication instance, you can request a CastSession instance for this application. For that, you can either join an existing application (which should already be running) or you can run a new instance.

a.run('urn:x-cast:com.google.cast.demo.tictactoe', (err, s) => {
  if (!err) {
    console.log('Got a session', util.inspect(s));
  }
});
a.join('urn:x-cast:com.google.cast.demo.tictactoe', (err, s) => {
  if (!err) {
    console.log('Joined a session', util.inspect(s));
  }
});

The first parameter is the namespace you expect to run or join. Any messages sent on this session will use the given namespace.

You can then send messages and receive answers (not all messages have to be answered):

s.send({ data: 'hello' }, (err, data) => {
  if (!err) {
    console.log('Got an answer!', util.inspect(data));
  }
});
s.on('message', data => {
  console.log('Got an unexpected message', util.inspect(data));
});

Don't use callbacks for messages that you don't expect answers for. They will just leak memory...

A CastSession object can emit a close event when the connection is closed. A CastDevice object can emit a disconnect event when the connection with the device is lost and a connect event when the connection has been established (but there is no need to wait for such an event). You can close connection to a device with .stop().

Any object can take as an option a logger. For example:

const c = new CastDevice({
  address: '192.168.1.27',
  logger: console
});

By default, reconnection is tried on disconnect. Both Scanner and CastDevice constructors accept a reconnect object as an options. When set to false, no reconnection will be retried:

const c = new CastDevice({
  address: '192.168.1.27',
  reconnect: false
});

Otherwise, the provided object may contain some properties to influence the reconnection:

const c = new CastDevice({
  address: '192.168.1.27',
  reconnect: {
    maxRetries: 10,
    maxDelay: 10000, // ms
    initialDelay: 100 // ms
  }
});

Command-line helper

The functionality of this library can be tested with the chromecast helper. Invoke it with chromecast -h to get help. It embeds some simple examples too.

The Tic Tac Toe application is quite incomplete. It is expected to play against a human player. Here is how to use it:

  1. Download the Chrome version from GitHub
  2. Direct a browser to it (python -mSimpleHTTPServer if you want a quick way to get a webserver to serve the files)
  3. Start casting the application from Chrome.
  4. Starts chromecast tictactoe 192.168.1.24.
  5. On Chrome, click play.

The Dashkiosk application is a test for the Dashkiosk project.

Protocol description

There is no formal description of the protocol. However, you can look at channel.js which shows how to build low-level messages. The lower-level protocol is implemented directly in Chrome and the protocol is described in cast_channel.proto.

The high-level protocol, used by the Chromecast extension, can be discovered by modifying the extension. The following code can be appended to background_script.js:

chromesendAndLog = (channel, data) => {
  console.log('[TAP CHROMECAST send]', data);
  return chrome.cast.channel.send.apply(chrome.cast.channel, arguments);
};
chrome.cast.channel.onMessage.addListener((channel, data) => {
  console.log('[TAP CHROMECAST recv]', data);
});

Any occurrence of chrome.cast.channel.send needs to be replaced by chromesendAndLog. Monkey-patching seems to be ineffective because the whole chrome.cast.channel seems to be erased everytime you connect/disconnect to a Chromecast. Then, filter the log messages with TAP CHROMECAST in Chrome developper tools (click on background.html for the Chromecast extension in chrome://extensions).

Alternatives

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Nodecastor" Project. README Source: vincentbernat/nodecastor
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