Latest Twitch Extension Release: IGDB.com Game Information

This will be the first post in a two/three parter on this extension since it also serves as a good example on how to utilise a number of Twitch and IGDB products/API’s to achieve the end solution! But today just an announcement post!

One of the features of the Dropped Frames Extension, that is used during Dropped Frames on itmeJP’s channel on Wednesday’s, is that I’ll push a Game Information box to the extension that shows information about the game the panel is talking about. That information box will collect information from the IGDB.com API and then present that information to the viewer. Heres a quick example screenshot for Mind Scanners:

Dropped Frames example of the IGDB.com information widget

You can see on the left the “box” with the cover art appears on the left over the Game name that is baked into the overlay and on user mouse over of the box the game information box is then displayed. Title, brief synopsis, cover art and store information are presented.

When I showed this off in the IGDB discord (prior to E3), I was asked, if this was a publicly available thing, and I replied, sorta but not really. Which then led me to go and create a seperate extension for anyone to use, during a smidge of down time I had recently!

So I present the IGDB.com Game Information Extension!

The first IGDB.com Game Information Extension screenshot

It is availble to both Twitch Mobile and Desktop users. On Desktop both Component and Panel are supported. I usually recommend the Component slot as it saves users having to scroll down, and it’s auto collapsed out of the way until a user clicks on the [IGDB] taskbar icon. And generally speaking most streamers have the Component slots free anyway. ITS FREE REAL ESTATE MAN!

The three views of the Extension. Information, Screenshots, Stores and Platforms.

Via the power of Twitch EventSub, it will even automatically self refresh if you change games during a stream and will gracefully fail back if you pick a game that is not on IGDB.com or a category that is not a game, such as Special Events or Just Chatting, it’ll just show the Twitch Box art/title instead.

Streamers will just need to link their Twitch accounts via the Extensions Configuration view, or the Extension Mini site, to enable auto updating!

Examples using Microsoft Flight Simulator, Elite Dangerous and the non game category Just Chatting.

To checkout the extension, or to see live streamers running the Extension, and to see the install instructions pop over to the mini site for the extension over at twitch.extensions.barrycarlyon.co.uk/igdb/ or visit the extension directly on Twitch.

The beauty of IGDB.com is that it POWERS Twitch’s categories and being crowd sourced, if the information is wrong, outdated or missing, anyone can submit a fix or change and await an IGDB Admin to accept the change.

I also wrote about the Extension over on the Twitch Reddit and on my Twitch Extensions Twitter, so feel free to spead the word!

And as a final note: this is a third party Extension not affiliated with IGDB.com, I just got permission to use their brand assets!

Twitch Extensions Part 5 – Dev Environment

This week we are actually going to write some code! Amazing I know! We’ll be using nodeJS and some basic shell scripting, here just for some simplicity. 

First off apologies for being 3 days late on this entry in the series!

In Part 4 we wrote about the Twitch Developer Rig and what it can/can’t do. One of the useful thing’s it can do for you is “host your files” for you when your extension is in Local test.

The Hosting options in the Developer rig.
The Hosting options in the Developer rig.

The Developer Rig, will either just “dumb serve” a folder of static files, or you can give it a full command to run, handy for WebPack/React/JS things that people need to pre-compile first.

But this big thing it won’t do is SSL Termination so whilst you can easily test your extension in the Rig, you won’t be able to easily test it on Twitch, which is the purpose of this little Dev Environment.

Personally at the moment I tend to write my Extensions in pure/vanilla JavaScript without libraries, since in most cases I’m just running a few fetch requests and drawing DOM elements, but the more interesting parts come with my compilation/bundling for hosting. The “rig” that I use is Developer Rig compatible since it is just a node command. But I’ve normally started it in a terminal as I’m testing on the actual Twitch website.

So what is the aim here?

To create a nodeJS Server that will

  • “static” host the HTML, JS and CSS for an extension,
  • do some clean up on JS/CSS, both for development and production,
  • work behind (a real) SSL for testing on the Twitch website (or rig)
  • be representative of Hosted test and above

What does that look like?

Well first we need to setup a bunch of folders, and we’ll set it up in a “nice” way for using Version control, some people may prefer to keep a separate repo for their EBS from their frontend for easier deploy. The choice is yours there! I use a mix, because being inconsistent is fun!

Proposed folder structure for your extension repository
Proposed folder structure for your extension repository

assets – for storing your screenshots, discovery images, icons and other bits and pieces that live on “Version Details”

ebs – the folder for building you EBS in

website – the folder for building a website in if your Extension has/needs one, usually would include your Privacy Policy.

extension – this is where our extension actually lives and is the folder we’ll be poking about in today.

The Extension Folder

The Folders in the Extension Folder
The Folders in the Extension Folder

assets – another assets folders? For storing any front end specific bits and pieces. You probably don’t need this.

build/release – build is where our “compiled” extension will sit

releases – I like to store my old/previous versions of the extension here for future reference

develop – the place we actually write our code

For Version Control, you would generally, touch build and release with a blank file (or .gitkeep if using Git) and then ignore those folders from version control.

We are going to be using the “static” part of NodeJS Express to serve the build folder, and use a super exciting bash script to populate the build folder from the develop folder.

Usually I’ll keep a dev folder in the develop folder, as I’ll keep the “pre-release” version of the extension in develop and the compiled/zip’ed version in releases.

The Bash Script though?

yeah, I use a bash script, it’s my preferred method, but anything it can do you can achieve in similar stuff such as WebPack, but you may want to run all sorts of things when you “deploy” you Extension Frontend during testing. And whilst I am considering other methods, I prefer the simple Bash script.

The Server

The server itself is relatively straight forward, you can refer to the Code on Github, but here is the key part we are interested in

const listen = 8050;
 
const express = require('express');
const app = express();
 
/*
Setup Express to Listen on a Port
*/
app.listen(listen, function () {
console.log('booted express on', listen);
})
 
/*
Setup a "Log" Event for file loading.
So you can see what is trying to be loaded
*/
app.use(function(req, res, next) {
console.log('received from', req.get('X-Forwarded-For'), ':', req.method, req.originalUrl);
next();
});
/*
Setup express Static to server those files
*/
app.use('/extension/', express.static(__dirname + '/build/'));

This will raise an express static server on port 8050, and then prepare to host the contents of build on the route extension.

So this will give us a URL of http://127.0.0.1/extension/ and if you remember in Part 3, we wrote about the structure of a URL of a Hosted test/Live extension being https://ClientID.ext-twitch.tv/ClientID/md5/yourHTML instantly our Development Environment is closer to the Production Environment.

To further this, I like to put my views into different folders. So the viewer will be in panel or video and if I offer both I’ll have both. The Config will be in config or something random for extra security on private Extensions. And Mobile in mobile if I need to serve different JS to the user.

Which then makes it even easier or a developer to remember to use relative links to their CSS/JS from the HTML, since my views are in sub folders, and the whole Dev Server is serving from a sub folder.

But what about the rest of the file? That is a basic Folder watcher, using Chokiar, that will watch for any change in the develop/dev directly and then run script.sh

This script will

  • dump the current contents of build,
  • copy the folder structure
  • copy over any “common” assets in the assets folder (background images/icons for example)
  • copy over each HTML file, in some cases run a minify process
  • compile each JS file and CSS file together into one file and run it thru minifies (but not mangles*)

*Twitch disallows manglification, except in some super limited cases

The script will call the NPM globally installed instances of:

  • html-minifier (not in this example but I use it on occasion)
  • uglify-es which provides uglifyjs
  • uglicfycss

I like to build different parts of my extensions into different script/css files and then use my develop/build process to combine them into one file. Here is FlightSimTrack’s current layout for example. Left being the built/compiled and right being the Development version.

FlightSimTracks structure
FlightSimTracks structure

You can see how my many JS/CSS on the right are folded down into singular files. And make it easy to include CSS Resets/grid systems into each view when loading/merging those files from a common folder, which only exists on the right/develop side.

FlightSimTrack, for example, has a few parts, such as

  • the maps,
  • the player information
  • Twitch Auth and PubSub handler

Which I’ve split into three files for ease of reading and modification, you can use one mega JS file or whatever compilation method you want, or not at all an include many script files! You just need to avoid magnification.

The only difference between my script.sh and my build.sh is build will generally HTML Minify where script doesn’t and build will compile the JS and drop and console.log commands, they don’t work on a released extension (and are disallowed by policy), so you may as well drop them from the files to keep the file size down! Great for Mobile users.

Summary

This will then give us a Development server, running on a Sub Folder, with files similar to what you would use in production. So this should be analogous to the Production result for your Extension.

Just one more thing

We forgot one thing, what about SSL? Oh that old chestnut! The final piece of the puzzle!

There are two easy ways to provide SSL Termination, both have their nuances but I prefer the second.

Method 1

NGROK, is a Free (or paid for product), that will create a temporary public URL to a running service on your machine.

So in this example you’d just do ./ngrok http 8050 and then the UI will display a URL to copy/paste into the Twitch Developer Console for your “Testing Base URI” just remember to add /extension/ to the end, since that is the mount point for your build. And now you have SSL Termination!

The Dev Console configured with a NGROK URL
The Dev Console configured with a NGROK URL

NGROK may have some other funnies such as rate limits, but for current limits please refer to their website and pricing structures.

Method 2

This is my preferred method, instead of using NGROK (or paying for a constant URL with NGROK).

I use a reverse SSH Tunnel, and get NGINX on a server to handle SSL Termination with a “real” free from LetsEncrypt Certificate.

Setup is the same on the user side, instead of running ngrok I ssh -R 8050:127.0.0.1:8050 username@example.com

This means I never have to update the Developer Console with a new URL, and for testing purposes all my Extensions use the Same URL. I just change the server running at the end of the tunnel. And if I start work on a new extension, I can use the exact same hosting settings.

NGINX is configured to do the normal SSL Termination stuff, then I just proxypass. Here is a config example from my live server that handles my Extension hosting.

server {
    listen someip:443;
    listen [::]:443;

    server_name example.com;

    ssl on;
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem;

    include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf;

    resolver_timeout 10s;

    ssl_dhparam /etc/nginx/dhparam.pem;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://overssh8050;

           proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
           proxy_set_header Connection 'upgrade';
           proxy_set_header Host $host;
           proxy_cache_bypass $http_upgrade;
           proxy_redirect off;
           proxy_http_version 1.1;
           proxy_set_header Host $host;
           proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
           proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
           proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
    }
}

upstream overssh8050 {
    server 127.0.0.1:8050;
    keepalive 8;
}

I’ll usually use a second port/SSH tunnel/SSL’ed domain to talk to my EBS running locally. And my script.sh/build.sh can be configured to use different EBS URL’s in the fetch commands you may do. One less thing to forget to swap when building for release/review queuing.

Summary, for real

That is it for this weeks post, you can have a poke about in the GitHub Repository at BarryCarlyon/twitch_extension_blog_series both for the Server.js and script files and the folder structure.

Now you should be able to setup a local test server, that is similar in URL structure to a released Twitch Extension, and provide SSL to that test server, so you can test the Extension on Twitch, OR in the Rig, two of the most common pitfalls Developers face when starting to build extensions.

BUT MOTHER I CRAVE VIOLENCE

Well, until I write the next part if you want to read more about the Developer Side of Extensions, you can pop a visit over the to the Documentation or take a look at Twitch’s Introductory Page and you can always join us on the “TwitchDev Discord Server”, visit the Developer Support Page for the current invite link!

Why you think you are good enough to even write blog posts on Extensions? I made a one or two of them Extensions of various types.

Twitch Extensions: Part 4 – The One Rig to Rig them All?

This week on the Twitch Extensions Series, we are talking out the Developer Rig, what, when and how to use it!

What is the Developer Rig?

The Developer Rig is a downloadable tool, which is available on Windows, Mac and Linux provided by Twitch and found at https://dev.twitch.tv/docs/extensions/rig, which allows the Extension Developer to do a number of things.

A Typical Twitch Extension Developer Rig landing page.

If the Developer is new to building Twitch Extensions, it’ll also provide easy access to a number of Examples, which you can also find of the TwitchDev GitHub, but once you are into building your actual extension, you’ll be able to do the following things!

The typical tasks that Extension Rig provides Access to
  • Interact with the Config Service, if used for your extension, without having to write custom scripts
  • Manage your Bits Products, if your extension uses Bits, the only place to manage your Products and pricing is via the rig
  • View your Extension under a variety of views, and view configurations.

The rig also does some other useful bits and pieces that developer may have a use for, it provides the ability to start/stop both Frontend and EBS/Backend servers/services, that may be needed when local developing an extension. The paths and start commands can be saved with the project, which will save you time when starting Development for the day.

Especially useful for React/Vue and similar JavaScript frameworks you can “one click” start your Webpack server to serve your Extension for example.

The Extension Hello World hosting settings in the Rig

How to use the Developer Rig

The Monetization tab we will cover later when we talk about Bits in Extensions, and the same for the Configuration Service when we cover that!

So we’ll focus on the big thing the Developer Rig does for you.

First the most important thing that developer needs to be aware of when using the Developer Rig, is that whenever you change any settings for your Extension on the Developer Console you need to let the Rig know you did this, and you can do that on “Project Details” and click “Refresh Manifest”. The Project Details section of the Project also allows you to select which Version you are working on, so if you just released Version 0.0.1 and you started Working on Version 0.0.2, don’t forget to update the rig! Otherwise your test Extension Views will show the live and released version of the Extension instead of your in development version!

The Refresh Manifest button.

Normally, if you wanted to Test a Video or Component Extension, the channel that you would want to test the Extension on would have to be live and Streaming, the developer rig negates that requirement.

The Developer Rig showing a functioning Video Extension on an Offline Channel. What dark magic is this?

Editors Note: Added/Updated 18th March: In a similar fashion, you can use the the devleoper rig to simulate mobile/tablet views in various Dimensions without having to have the device in front of you. Naturally when it comes to mobile/tablets you should test your extension on devices if possible!

You can use the Developer Rig to mobile test, without having to have a device of the appropraite size handy.
Creating a Mobile view. Common Screensize options!

Further more if you wanted to see what your Extension looks like to people whom are not even logged into Twitch you can’t test that on Twitch itself, since if you are logged out then you are not a valid member of the Allow List.

Typical Creating a view Modal

When creating a view, the rig will ask you which View Type you want to test, and what “feature flags” you want enabled, these feature flags, which we’ll cover in a later post, will let the Twitch Extension JS Helper know what is and is not available. As a short TLDR: lets the extension know if Bits Support is enabled, whether the extension should show the Bits Usage store in the extension or not for example.

The Viewer Types a view can be

It’ll ask you to set the Channel that the extension is “active on”, and ask you to set “who” is accessing the Extension. So you can easily setup any combination of views side by side, which is handy if you want to test what the extension looks like for different users on one page with a easy “Refresh All Views” button.

Three “primary” View Examples side by side. Logged Out, Logged In, Logged In Shared. In this example the extension doesn’t differentiate between Twitch logged out/in, I should fix that…
The Context options.

Finally the Extension View for a given view lets you easily send test context changes to an extension.

This will allow you to test how your extension reacts to subsequent calls to onContext easily.

onContext which we will cover more in a future post, is very powerful when you need you extension to react/respond to various things that could happen during the lifetime of a session of the page loaded. Do you need to resize your extension when the player changes dimensions? Do you need to show/hide your extension in response to the player controls being visible? Are two examples.

What can’t it do?

So we talked about what the Developer Rig can do for you, but since the Developer Rig is completely optional (except for Bits products management), why would you choose not to use it?

The Developer Rig will let you setup a view, and the user for that view, but it does not let you test Viewer State changes.

This would be, for example, a user whom is logged in on Twitch changing from “logged out of your extension” to “logged in to your extension”, commonly referred to as “Sharing your Twitch ID with the extension”. Or you the Developer calling the RequestIdShare function to prompt the user to login, which results in nothing happening in your Extension.

Bits Development can be somewhat difficult in the rig, in the rig you are limited to the loopback function which isn’t very useful for testing, but we’ll cover Bits testing Scenarios in a future post!

Config Service setting from the JS helper can be interesting in the rig, but thats more down to the helper function argument order rather than the rig! Personally I do all my configuration service work from the API, and we’ll cover that in a future post.

Summary

So that is the Developer Rig and what it can and cannot do for you! You can read more about the Rig in the documentation and if you need help you can join us in #developer-rig on the Developer Discord

Next week I’m not sure what we’ll cover. I think we’ll actually start a little building and testing some features, and some ideas on making your own test Rig to host your front end code, in a way that will help you avoid some pitfalls that we’ve covered in this series so far!

BUT MOTHER I CRAVE VIOLENCE

Well, until I write the next part if you want to read more about the Developer Side of Extensions, you can pop a visit over the to the Documentation or take a look at Twitch’s Introductory Page and you can always join us on the “TwitchDev Discord Server”, visit the Developer Support Page for the current invite link!

Why you think you are good enough to even write blog posts on Extensions? I made a one or two of them Extensions of various types.

Twitch Extensions: Part 2 – Integration Points

Welcome to part two of the Twitch Extension Series of Posts.

This week, we’ll be talking a little on Integration Points!

What integration points does a Twitch Extension have?

We touched on this in Part 1

Twitch provides developers with three main, two auxiliary, and two Broadcaster only integration points, and of these integration points Twitch lets us pick the HTML (and thus Javascript or CSS) file(s) we wish to load for all of these. (Well except Panel Popout, screw that guy, it owes me a tenner).

Hang on just a minute

What? OH! You want to know how to create an Extension first or where to set the HTML to be loaded for each view? Yes, that would make a little more sense, wouldn’t it!

Extensions can be created, configured, and release via the Twitch Developer Console.

The Developer console can be found at https://dev.twitch.tv/console

After logging in you’ll generally land on the Summary page that will list you current Extensions, Applications and any Games/Categories you may “own” on Twitch from being part of an organization

An example of the Twitch Developer Dashboard Overview
An example of the Twitch Developer Dashboard Overview

We’ll ignore everything else since we are only interested in Extensions.

Twitch Developer Console for Extensions
Twitch Developer Console for Extensions

If you click Extensions then “Create Extension” it’ll take you through a short “Setup Wizard” before presenting you with your ClientID for the Extension. We’ll do that now so we have an Extension to play with during this series!

PRO TIP: After starting the Wizard, please finish the wizard, even if you intend to change everything later.

  • Asks for your Extension Name, then Click Continue
  • Asks you to pick the views/integration points you want, which you can change later
  • Provide a Version number, 0.0.1 will suffice for now
  • Add additional details such as the Extension description and contact details for you
  • Now hit “Create Extension Version”

Twitch will send you an email to verify the provided contact details, so click the link in those email(s).

We’ll cover most of the other fields in a future post, but today we are interested in integration points.

Twitch will now have dropped us on the status page for our Extension

It’s important to note that you cannot use “Twitch” in the name of you Extension, and the name needs to be unique across Extensions and Applications across all of Twitch

So Integration Points?

On the Extension Status page, hit “Asset Hosting”, this will take us to the page to configure our “Extension Views” and what html to load. Twitch will prefill with something sensible, but you can use anything you want

"Asset Hosting" section of a Twitch Extension Console
“Asset Hosting” section of a Twitch Extension Console

At the top is the Testing Base URI, we are going to ignore this for now, but we’ll be covering it next week, when we might actually start building.

Below that comes the section that lets you pick via Checkbox, which views (for the viewer) you wish to enable. And the settings for each view.

Panel

A Panel is rendered below the stream, in the panels section, Broadcasters have “some” control over where a panel extension will appear in relation to the other panels, Twitch liks to jumble things round sometimes, but generally Panel Extensions are pretty sticky and reflect the broadcasters choice.

A panel has the following settings available

  • Panel Viewer Path – the path and file name of the HTML file you wish to load, it is a relative path to the Testing Base URI/final upload URL
  • Panel Height – a panel extension is fixed Width (318px), but the developer can choose what height to use, ranging from 100px to 500px

A Panel extension, can be popped out (one of the Auxiliary Integration points we mentioned), which will start at 318px wide and the specified height, but the Viewer can then resize this window. It’s something to be aware of when building your extension, and offers the ability to use Responsive design

Video – Fullscreen

A Video Fullscreen extension will cover the whole stream, so the developer and designer can utilize the whole stream. Usually it’s safe to assume that the size is 1920px x 1080px, and you can scale as needed, we’ll cover some ways to handle this in a future post

A video Fullscreen only has one setting, the HTML file you wish to load, it is a relative path to the Testing Base URI/final upload URL

Mobile

YES, THE CHECKBOXES GO: Panel, Video – Full, Video – Comp, Mobile but the page goes in a different order

The Mobile view is presented to Viewers using a Mobile device in the Twitch App for that device, such as an Apple iPhone, Apple Table, Android phone and so on.

Like Video Fullscreen there is only one option here, the HTML file to load, it is a relative path to the Testing Base URI/final upload URL

Mobile you’ll need to practice Responsive design as dimensions will vary by device and orientation of the device

Video – Component Viewer Path

A video Component roughly works similar to a Panel, but it defaults to being “closed” and can be manually opened by the Viewer by clicking the relevant icon in the “taskbar”, the Taskbar is presented to the viewer on the right of a Live Stream.

The Extensions Taskbar, left is shown a Video Component Extension in the closed state and right is the open state

The following options are available

  • Video Component Viewer Path – the path and file name of the HTML file you wish to load, it is a relative path to the Testing Base URI/final upload URL
  • Video Component Sizing Parameters – there are a number of options here we’ll cover this more in depth at a future post as it can get fun!

Non Viewer integration Points

That covers all the Viewer intergration points and their options in summary

Next we have the “Broadcaster” Integration points, there are two of them, both have the same available settings, the path and file name of the HTML file you wish to load, it is a relative path to the Testing Base URI/final upload URL

Configuration view

This is the main/one off configuration view, when a broadcaster first installs your Extension they will be prompted to ask if they want to visit the Configuration page or not. This page is used for one off or infrequent configuration

The Extension Config prompt during install
The Extension Config prompt during install

In some cases, developers can also block an extension being activated if the configuration has not been done, usually this would be used for things such as providing an API key to access another API, or asking the broadcaster what their Destiny 2/other game Character name is (for example)

The Twitch Extension configuration page for FlightSimTrack
The Twitch Extension configuration page for FlightSimTrack, this example provides additional setup instructions and the API Access Key for the Companion Desktop App

It can be reached from the install flow for an extension and from the “Cog” Icon on an Extension in the Extension Manager section of the Dashboard

In terms of Dimensions it’s usually Landscape but a broadcaster can resize it pretty narrow, so you’ll need to be responsive or provide a minimum width

Live Configuration View

The Live configration view is to be used by the broadcaster for common tasks or things that need to be done during a Stream, examples of this would be to start a Poll for a poll extension, or a “I’m starting a round” in a mini games extension.

The Live configuration view is reached by the Broadcaster from the “Quick Actions” Section of their “Stream Manager”

A Twitch Dashboard Quick Action Button
An example of a Quick Action Extension Button

When clicked, a new window will open, which will contain the Quick Action/Live Configuration View, it’s resizable by the broadcaster so you’ll need to practice responsive design again here

An Opened Quick Action
EliteTrack’s Quick Action view provides easy access to a summary of the data sent, and prompts the user about Bug Reporting

Summary

And that covers the various integration points in a bit more depth compared to last weeks post!

Next week, we’ll be covering “Getting Started Building” I think and why every time I mention a HTML file did I follow it with: “the path and file name of the HTML file you wish to load, it is a relative path to the Testing Base URI/final upload URL”

BUT MOTHER I CRAVE VIOLENCE

Well, until I write the next part if you want to read more about the Developer Side of Extensions, you can pop a visit over the to the Documentation or take a look at Twitch’s Introductory Page and you can always join us on the “TwitchDev Discord Server”, visit the Developer Support Page for the current invite link!

Why you think you are good enough to even write blog posts on Extensions? I made a one or two of them Extensions of various types.