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<chapter id="chapter-bins">
A bin is a container element. You can add elements to a bin. Since a
bin is an element itself, a bin can be handled in the same way as any
other element. Therefore, the whole previous chapter (<xref
linkend="chapter-elements"/>) applies to bins as well.
<sect1 id="section-bins">
<title>What are bins</title>
Bins allow you to combine a group of linked elements into one
logical element. You do not deal with the individual elements
anymore but with just one element, the bin. We will see that
this is extremely powerful when you are going to construct
complex pipelines since it allows you to break up the pipeline
in smaller chunks.
The bin will also manage the elements contained in it. It will
perform state changes on the elements as well as collect and
forward bus messages.
<figure float="1" id="section-bin-img">
<title>Visualisation of a bin with some elements in it</title>
<imagedata scale="75" fileref="images/bin-element.&image;" format="&IMAGE;"/>
There is one specialized type of bin available to the
&GStreamer; programmer:
A pipeline: a generic container that manages the synchronization
and bus messages of the contained elements. The toplevel bin has
to be a pipeline, every application thus needs at least one of
<sect1 id="section-bin-create">
<title>Creating a bin</title>
Bins are created in the same way that other elements are created,
i.e. using an element factory. There are also convenience functions
available (<function>gst_bin_new ()</function> and
<function>gst_pipeline_new ()</function>).
To add elements to a bin or remove elements from a
bin, you can use <function>gst_bin_add ()</function> and
<function>gst_bin_remove ()</function>. Note that the bin that you
add an element to will take ownership of that element. If you
destroy the bin, the element will be dereferenced with it. If you
remove an element from a bin, it will be dereferenced automatically.
<programlisting><!-- example-begin bin.c a -->
#include &lt;gst/gst.h&gt;
main (int argc,
char *argv[])
GstElement *bin, *pipeline, *source, *sink;
/* init */
gst_init (&amp;argc, &amp;argv);
/* create */
pipeline = gst_pipeline_new ("my_pipeline");
bin = gst_bin_new ("my_bin");
source = gst_element_factory_make ("fakesrc", "source");
sink = gst_element_factory_make ("fakesink", "sink");
/* First add the elements to the bin */
gst_bin_add_many (GST_BIN (bin), source, sink, NULL);
/* add the bin to the pipeline */
gst_bin_add (GST_BIN (pipeline), bin);
/* link the elements */
gst_element_link (source, sink);
<!-- example-end bin.c a -->
[..]<!-- example-begin bin.c b --><!--
return 0;
--><!-- example-end bin.c b -->
<!-- example-begin bin.c c -->
<!-- example-end bin.c c --></programlisting>
There are various functions to lookup elements in a bin. The most
commonly used are <function>gst_bin_get_by_name ()</function> and
<function>gst_bin_get_by_interface ()</function>. You can also
iterate over all elements that a bin contains using the function
<function>gst_bin_iterate_elements ()</function>. See the API references
of <ulink type="http"
for details.
<sect1 id="section-bin-custom">
<title>Custom bins</title>
The application programmer can create custom bins packed with elements
to perform a specific task. This allows you, for example, to write
an Ogg/Vorbis decoder with just the following lines of code:
main (int argc,
char *argv[])
GstElement *player;
/* init */
gst_init (&amp;argc, &amp;argv);
/* create player */
player = gst_element_factory_make ("oggvorbisplayer", "player");
/* set the source audio file */
g_object_set (player, "location", "helloworld.ogg", NULL);
/* start playback */
gst_element_set_state (GST_ELEMENT (player), GST_STATE_PLAYING);
(This is a silly example of course, there already exists a much more
powerful and versatile custom bin like this: the playbin element.)
Custom bins can be created with a plugin or from the application. You
will find more information about creating custom bin in the <ulink
Writers Guide</ulink>.
Examples of such custom bins are the playbin and uridecodebin elements from<ulink
<sect1 id="section-bin-state-change-handling">
<title>Bins manage states of their children</title>
Bins manage the state of all elements contained in them. If you set
a bin (or a pipeline, which is a special top-level type of bin) to
a certain target state using <function>gst_element_set_state ()</function>,
it will make sure all elements contained within it will also be set
to this state. This means it's usually only necessary to set the state
of the top-level pipeline to start up the pipeline or shut it down.
The bin will perform the state changes on all its children from the
sink element to the source element. This ensures that the downstream
element is ready to receive data when the upstream element is brought
to PAUSED or PLAYING. Similarly when shutting down, the sink elements
will be set to READY or NULL first, which will cause the upstream
elements to receive a FLUSHING error and stop the streaming threads
before the elements are set to the READY or NULL state.
Note, however, that if elements are added to a bin or pipeline that's
already running, , e.g. from within a "pad-added"
signal callback, its state will not automatically be brought in line with
the current state or target state of the bin or pipeline it was added to.
Instead, you have to need to set it to the desired target state yourself
using <function>gst_element_set_state ()</function> or
<function>gst_element_sync_state_with_parent ()</function> when adding
elements to an already-running pipeline.