Job Description

Project Summary


MediaTags will be an Open Source collection of libraries written in C / C++ for reading meta-data from various media types and outputting the results as JSON. Each library will have an executable that reads from stdin or a file (and perhaps a socket).

Existing Open Source libraries should be used where possible.

This collection of tools will run on a library of over 30,000 files. Each file should take less than 0.05 seconds to process where possible. The system on which these utilities will primarily be used is a 600MHz OMAP3530 (TI ARM) running OpenEmbedded Linux. It may be desirable to daemonize the main process to avoid the overhead cost of repeated start-up.

Existing tools in higher-level languages such as hachoir or mutagen (python) are probably not acceptable because of the start-up cost.

The code will be hosted either on GitHub or a private gitosis repository using git.

Please continue reading the specs below. In your reply, please include the number of hours you expect the project to take and what you think will be most interesting to you to code.

Thank you, AJ ONeal

Project Details

Listed below are the names of the executables which should be part of this collection, along with existing libraries that may be adaptable.

Media meta-data

These utilties extract media meta-data, not specefic to the particular file.

  • id3tags (adaptable from mp3info, libid3)
  • m4atags (adaptable from AtomicParsley)
  • xmptags (libexiv2)
  • iptctags
  • exivtags
  • pdftags - including OCR (PDFBox?)
  • doctags

Embedded data (such as album art) should be included as base64 or optionally extracted into a file.


Normalized Fortmat:

cat ~/Music/Just\ Dance.m4a | m4atags - # read from a buffer
# or
m4atags ~/Music/Just\ Dance.m4a --normalized-tags # read from a file
    title: "Just Dance",
    artist: [
      "Lady Gaga",
      "Space Cowboy"
    songwriter: "Tyson Ritter",
    album: "Move Along",
    genre: "Alternative & Punk",
    "apple_id": "",
    "rating": "Inoffensive",
    // lyrics, base64 images, and so forth

Default Fortmat:

m4atags ~/Music/Just\ Dance.m4a --literal-tags # use the literal tagnames
    "©nam": "Just Dance",
    "©ART": [
      "Lady Gaga",
      "Space Cowboy"
    "©wrt": "Tyson Ritter",
    "©alb": "Move Along",
    "©day": "2000-07-11T07:00:00Z",
    "apID": "",
    // etc

Verbose Format:

m4atags ~/Music/Just\ Dance.m4a --verbose-tags # use the literal tagnames
      "tag": "©nam",
      "start_bit": "0x6E",
      "length": 11,
      "name": "title",
      "value": "Just Dance"
      "tag": "©ART",
      "start_bit": "0x77",
      "length": 24,
      "value": [
        "Lady Gaga",
        "Space Cowboy"
    // etc

Binary Format:

m4atags ~/Music/Just\ Dance.m4a --binary-tags /path/to/file.bin # use the literal tagnames

Perhaps Google protobuf

TODO give example protobuf format

or a simple C/C++ object with version info.

Althought this example is given in psuedo-C, C++ allowance of inheritance for the versions would probably be the best choice.

#define MT_T_ALBUM   1
#define MT_T_ALBUM_S "©alb"
#define MT_N_ALBUM_S "album"

#define MT_T_ALBUM   2
#define MT_T_ALBUM_S "©ART"
#define MT_N_ALBUM_S "artist"

// ...

struct m4atags {
  int version;
struct m4atags_v1 {
  int version;
  int tag;
  int start_bit;
  int length;
  int name;
  // ...

read_in_file(m4atag* tag, char* filename);
switch(tag->version) {
  case 1:
  m4atag_v1 tag1 = (m4atag_v1*) tag;

Stream meta-data

These utilities extract stream meta-data, not information about the media.

  • mp3tags
  • aactags
  • jpegtags


aactags ~/Music/Just\ Dance.m4a --with-md5sum --with-sha256sum
    "bitrate": "256",
    "quality": "cbr",
    "duration": "2:46.381",
    "mime": "video/mp4",
    "md5sum": "c40575a7a594ba2d109646d5a6c3ca8a", // checksum of the data stream, not the file
    "sha256sum": "103efcab8cbbee87890facbf01c1404df84f9264dbc8ea658677b905d9b521df",
    "data_offset": "0xFE3C", // the start of the data stream in the file
    "data_end": "0x356EF81", // the end of the data stream
    // and so on

File, Media, and Stream meta-data

The main executable, mediatags, should gather all possible meta-data using the appropriate child-libraries.

Using file for type detection is not acceptable due to the overhead (AtomicParsley can parse all m4a tags in less time than it takes file to execute.

  • mediatags


mediatags ~/Music/Just\ Dance.m4a --file-meta-data=true --stream-meta-data=true --with-stream-checksums --with-media-meta-data
    file: {
      atime: 1193909541, // unix timestamp
      ctime: 1193909541,
      mtime: 1193909541,
      md5sum: "e7444acd4d538ede466c6d6cb932c5ec", // of the whole file, not just the stream
      // etc
    stream: {
      // see above for example
    media: {
      // see above for example

System Specifications

This library is designed to be fast as to run well on embedded environments:

It will most likely be prototyped on one of the following COMs:

Gumstix Overo:

  • OS: Angstrom OpenEmbedded Linux
  • GPP: 500MHz (720MHz max) ARM TI OMAP3530 CPU
  • RAM: 256MB
  • Storage: 2GB microSDHC
  • External Storage: 1TB SATA over USB


  • OS: Angstrom OpenEmbedded Linux
  • GPP: 1GHz max ARM TI DM3730 CPU
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 2GB microSDHC
  • External Storage: 1TB SATA over USB

By AJ ONeal

If you loved this and want more like it, sign up!

Did I make your day?
Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee  

(you can learn about the bigger picture I'm working towards on my patreon page )