Please bare with me and read through this concept, as I would like to float this great idea I have of Team-Boxee making its own stand-alone "Boxee Media Companion" software application which would act both as a 'Tag Editor' and 'Media Server' multimedia collection management application that end-users could install and run separately on their Linux/Mac/Windows desktop computers.
Kind of like the popular XBMC Media Companion and Movie Info Plus however for all digital video/music/picture files, and also the ability to write and edit the metadata tags/atoms inside the media files (like the ID3 tag in an MP3 file, ATOM in an MP4 file, and EXIF in an JPEG file), as well as more importantly a built-in DLNA compliant UPnP AV MediaServer.
The point of adding the UPnP AV MediaServer part is that it would serve as a very easy way for average users to share multimedia content to Boxee on their network, this UPnP AV MediaServer part would then always run in the background as a small agent serving the media files even when the "Boxee Media Companion" GUI is not running.
This "Boxee Media Manager" software be made up of cross-platform compatible code and programmed in C++ programming language, (with maybe Python and RSS as add-on plugins), same as the Boxee software is.
"Boxee Media Companion" a stand-alone multimedia collection management application:
This is maybe off-topic but; would Team Boxee could do later is to also add extra features to the above mentioned idea of a "Boxee Media Server" (UPnP MediaServer) software application, features that have nothing directly to do with sharing but instead really to do with managing your collection of video/music/picture files, (which indirectly benefit the whole Boxee 'experience').
I am suggesting that this "Boxee Media Companion" should have features that will not be added to the Boxee Media Center software itself (which is again normally only installed in a set-top-box style setup with no locally stored video/music/picture files), but instead I am suggesting a stand-alone software application meant to be installed on the end-users home desktop computer and used to manage and edit meta data tags, referring to the home desktop computer where you store your media on, (so kind of like similar to iTunes but without the playback functions).
It would features such as music and video file TAG editing, customize their thumbnails, EDL (Edit Decision List) modifying, attaching subtitles, and more of such related features that one does to manage your collection of video/music/picture files. Small and useful, but powerful features that make it simpler for a user to manage their large collections of media content.
More features could be include in this desktop computer application like ripping Audio-CD:s (since Boxee set-top-box might not originally have a built-in CD/DVD-ROM drive), media format/codec conversion tool, ...and who knows, in the future it could maybe even be made to rip DVD-Video:s and Blu-ray discs as well, (though that might require a third-party plugin like Slysoft's AnyDVD to keep it legal from Boxee's point of view), or perhaps also transcode unsupported and DRM protected files on-the-fly while streaming over the network by using other third-party plugins.
"Boxee Media Server" a stand-alone UPnP Server application:
One of the most common 'hurdles' and usually the first 'learning curve' issue that XBMC (and thus also Boxee) newbie end-users bumps into with XBMC is setting up a share(s) for their multimedia files on their desktop computer and then access/connecting to those shares from their dedicated XBMC machine (which is usually installed in a set-top-box style setup with no locally stored video/music/picture files).
This issue would easily be solved if Team Boxee produced its own simple-to-use UPnP MediaServer as a stand-alone software application (for the common desktop operating-system, meaning Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS X, and GNOME/KDE on Linux), as then it would make it so much simpler for first time users and beginners to get up-and-running with setting up a share (or several shares) on their home desktop computer.
Then in Boxee you can have a big button under "Add Source" in where it says "Add connection to Boxee Media Server" or something similar which when selected automatically detects and adds that source to your video share if you are in the video section, or music if you are in the music section, etc.. Usually you would want to setup three shares on your computer, one for audio/music, one for video/movies, and one for images/pictures, and have those three separated already in the UPnP MediaServer application graphical interface. Nice with installing an server application on your computer is that this software will of course also configure the (windows software) firewall settings for the end-user already during installation of the application.
Another nice thing for end-users about a having a UPnP server as a media sharing server is that the can re-sort the files and folder 'virtually' in the application interface without moving the actual files, it will be very easy for them to setup muli-path shares where they have their all their picture folder from different local harddrive look like it in the same folder, etc. (yes I know you can already do multi-path inside XBMC but I think that it would be so much simpler for most users to manage and edit their files (and file shares) on a desktop computer with keyboard and mouse in a drag-and-drop interface, which this stand-alone software application would provide.
The GUI for this UPnP AV MediaServer part should of course also offer the ability to change access permissions based both on the user and on what player is connected.
Boxee developers would probably want look at FUPPES, or MediaTomb, as I think one of those would probably make a good framework for you to work form as the code base, (similar to how Boxee use XBMC as the framework for the Boxee Media Center code base), or otherwise start by looking into libupnp (plus LibUPnP++ Framework) and uShare to use its source code base to build upon, (or just use Platinum UPnP Framework that XBMC uses. Alternative do a search for UPnP on SourceForge.net, in any it would be preferable if you choose one that only uses C++ programming-language so that Team-XBMC could assist if needed.
Boxee specific functions:
You could also add an an option to backup or edit your Boxee account information from this application (export and import function), make it easier to add custom RSS feeds, be of assistance to plugin developers, easy access to boxee.tv wiki section for online help and such. Maybe even access advanced configuration not available in the normal Boxee GUI like edit keymapping and the advancedsettings.xml file. Perhaps a support chat room, and other Boxee community chat rooms.
Why not integrate this into Boxee's existing media center GUI?:
So why do I think that this "Boxee Media Companion" should be a a separate software application from Boxee's Media Center software; well I personally do not think it is not the job of a media center softwar to write metadata to media files, in I am in fact of the opinion that a media center software should not touch any of the files or folder structure, editing the tags of media files is the job of a separate desktop software application that is not a media center. Boxee media center software should only write to its SQL databases and at most be able to export those SQL databases into XML formatted NFO files like XBMC can, see:
How this could still possibly be integrated into Boxee's existing media center GUI?:
What do you think of this idea?
PS! Boxee's 'advanced/expert' end-users will of course still have the option to use SMB/Samba network shares without installing this "Boxee Media Companion" software.