Add-on category overview as main menu item (not my addons)


I’ve been a longtime Libreelec user and today I made the switch to OSMC on my raspberry pi. First of all, let me express my happiness with the absolutely terrific theming! I used to always use Grid, but had given up a lovely UI with the switch to Matrix, since Grid already wasn’t supported in Leia. So this is an incredibly nice surprise.

However, I’ve encountered something which I don’t understand and can’t seem to fix in OSMC. It is not necessarily something that I need, I have my clean install up and running and am totally happy with it. But it’s bugging me out so this is out of curiosity.

Kodi has always had a different way of accessing addons: 1 to really launch add-ons, and another to install, edit an configure them. Exactly why I don’t know, but it used to always be clear with Estuary (and maybe also Grid, I don’t have access anymore)

This is way 1, with my current install in the Estuary main menu and when accessing this menu item. This menu item is also clickable as a menu item to “enter”

This is way 2 with my current install in Estuary. It is accessed via the settings icon.

Note that it is only possible to launch addons via the first method. This is particularly necessary for an addon like VPN manager for OpenVPN - see pictures below.

Now, I can’t seem to be able to add such a menu item to the OSMC skin. I can add singular menu items such as Program Addons. But can’t add the overview menu.

Here I don’t see a way to place this in the main menu

When I add program addons, I get the option to launch VPN manager for Open vpn

I don’t get this option with the addon explorer that I can add to the main menu which does give me the overview of the different categories, since it’s this settings overview of addons.

So I hope I managed to get across what I’m trying to achieve and look forward to your ideas (I first added more pictures but as a new user I’m only allowed five). If I managed to have missed this topic addressed elsewhere, I’m sorry. It’s hard to search on what exactly this may be called.

As a quick and dirty solution:

go Settings->Add-on Browser->My Add-ons
Mark “All”, Context Menus chose Add to Favourites

Go back to main menu
Go Settings-Interface->Configure skin… Customize main menu
Enter Title “List of installed Addons”
Change action → Favourites → All

This might not be what you want, but I don’t really understand where you want to land.

Thanks for your reply, but this is gives me a main menu item with access to all my addons to configure them, via the settings. Just like my last image. What I would like is access to all my addons from a main menu item in order to launch/run them, as in my before last image of VPNmanager where it says ‘display status’.

I’ve currently only managed to add the different categories of addons (video, program, etc) separately. Then I’m able to launch them. I would like a menu item that has the addons and links to the different categories or all addons therein. So not via settings but as launchable addons.

Ah, well that VPN widow is unique to that addon.

So what you are asking is 1 addon that list “a bunch” of addons with the possibility to start/run/configure other addons.

In what way would it be better then the ordinary way of configure or run addons?

Well, first of all this is possible with the stock Estuary theme, so I find it surprising it is not an option with OSMC. Even when I currently switch to Estuary, the addon main menu item shows an overview of the different addons in their categories underneath one another. And when I click this main menu item, I get access to the overview of different categories. I’m not currently able to access such an overview with the OSMC theme enabled. I’d think that accessing all one’s addons in order to run them would be a regular feature as it is in all operating systems.

It would be better because currently I’d need to add different main menu items for different categories. This is related to the fact that I have not found a way to find this overview of all addons as I’ve described in the previous paragraph. I’ve only found an overview of addons via the settings but this is meant to configure them, not run them.

Ok, since I’ve never used Kodi default skin more then the time it takes to change skin on a Kodi install. I am gravely unaware of that skin, but if default Kodi skin can do it so should Osmc skin to, unless it conflicts with some design Pilar’s for the skin. I will take a deeper dive into this and hopefully get back to you.

Cool, thx. Curious to see what you’ll find out!

Should anyone come across this apparently incredibly unique usecase, the following is so far my solution. I have added the program addons main menu item in order to access VPN Manager. It is apparently the only addon in not being able to launch from the ‘my addons’ section. I’ve additionally therefore also still added a main menu items to access all other addons, as split in their respective categories.

Nonetheless, the main menu item for addons in the Estuary Kodi theme does give an overview of addons I’ve not managed to find or create in the OSMC theme. This overview gives access to all the addons in their respective category, but as a default action opens/stars/launches them upon clicking them, instead of opening a submenu with options for the addons such as open, configure, delete, etc.

I can see how one may have gotten this impression, but really your just looking at Kodi having a few different views of the same thing to cater to different use cases. The add-on section in settings allows for access that can be locked out for something like a kids profile as well as still having access if you don’t choose to maintain an add-ons category on your main menu. You can launch add-ons from the view in the settings, your just have to do it from the information screen which is also the default click action. The add-ons accessed through the other views are basically the same but they have a default click action normally of open instead. You can access the settings in any view by using the context menu or information buttons on your remote.

The view that your showing above with Estuary is actually called ‘widgets’ and they are something that can be added and modified in the OSMC skin. There is a how-to that covers tweaking this stuff that can be found here…

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Hope fully this will get you a bit closer, Starting from a “default” main menu:

Settings → Interface → Configure Skin → Customize main menu

Add → Choose item for menu → Add-on → Add-on Browser
Enter title “10 L.U.As” (Abbreviation for “Last Used Addons”, had to give it a “cool” name)
Manage Widgets
Select widget → Custom widgets / Additional widgets → Favourites

But here comes the magic, type in this: addons://user/all
Sort by : Last used (If Last played is your only selection, you got the wrong widget type see PS edits)
Sort direction: Ascending
Item limit: 10

Back, Back ,back — all the way to home menu… I think that is what you want if you mark an addon, context menu enables setting/disable for that marked addon.

Edit: Something in my recreation of my own recipe I missed a point, seems that my successful had a last used as filter, not Last Played. I can’t seem to replicate that right now. It’s 10 pm, having kids nagging at you since 6 am makes stuff like this annoying. I bet it’s has to do with how i picked favorites or custom widgets first. Anyway I think you got the solution if you play around and get comfortable with this way of management. Good Luck and good night


Thank you so much, both of you, for your informative replies. I had already found the widget settings upon setting up my install: series nicely displayed the artist posters, but films didn’t. I then added it. But I didn’t know there were so much more options. I now do and have, for example, also added Netflix posters to the Netflix menu item, which is really cool. This would also give me options to add the addons as widgets on the main menu. So I’ll play around with this a bit.

However, I have one question left and I feel that brings me right back to my first post:

Upon clicking the main menu item for add-ons in Estuary I get the above menu. This is not the ‘my addons’ section, but another display of all the categories from which addons can be run/launched. What would I need to add to the main menu in the OSMC skin in order to access a similar submenu?

Because If I add the ‘Add-on Browser’, that brings me to an overview in settings in which the primary action is the option menu with configure, update, delete, etc.

I hope I’ve read your posts correctly and rightly concluded that this question is not answered yet!

The short answer is it is “doable” in OSMC-skin, but it will probably break the skin. Estuary’s “widget” is hard coded into the skin, we could do the same in OSMC, but the current widget engine isn’t built for that.

The solution I provided is the “best thing” I could do to hava a dynamic list to start addons from all categories, which has been run before. I had it working myself, but then on my second attempt to make it something has gone wrong and i can’t get it to list the “lastused”. But I’ll work on it later.

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Alright, thanks! I can’t seem to replicate your solution as I only get a link icon in my main menu. However, I´m currently satisfied with my main menu. I have Series Films (so my libraries), two items for video addons, namely Netflix and NPO (Dutch Public Broadcast Service via Retrospect Addon), Programs (so I can open VPN Manager), Settings and Power Menu.

Through this whole thread I learned that it is specifically VPN Manager which can’t be run from My Addons in the Addons Browser. That prompted the curiosity, but my current setup satisfies my needs. I might still get in touch with the developer of the VPN Manager addon to ask why this is the case though! Should I gain any new info, I will post this here.

So @joakim_s , if you want spend time on recreating your solution out of your own curiosity, by all means go for it. But it isn’t really necessary for my setup any longer. So you might as well spend a weekend with the kids :wink:

Once again, thank you so much. Really appreciate the help. Feels like a great introduction to the OSMC community.

Alright, I’ve gotten in touch with the developer of VPN Manager and received a reply:

"I can see this behaviour in the Estuary skin too now you’ve provided the extra info. Each add-on will describe the catagory it’s in at a high level and the entry points that it provides. i.e. (section 1.4). VPN Mgr is correctly defined as a xbmc.service (as it runs all the time) and a xbmc.python.pluginsource (to enable the menu access). One of my other add-ons that does video things, is correctly defined as a The video add-on has run enabled. I’ve also looked at other services, such as a the version checker which also does not offer the run option.

I’m not a skin developer, but from my understanding, it’s up to the skin developer to choose what views offer what actions with what add-ons - i.e. on a video add-on view, you’d not display services add-ons. I’m guessing that in the My Addons view of Estuary, the skin author has chosen to not offer the run option with services add-ons. This could be entirely reasonable as not all services would also have additional functionality through a menu."

What goes for the Estuary skin, also goes for the OSMC skin, I guess. For now I’ll stick with the program addons main menu item and will look into creating hotkeys for the actions of VPN Manager.

You can add more than widget to the programs section. Although the skin will not show them stacked on the same screen like with Estuary, if you navigate over into the widget on the home screen you can then use the up/down direction buttons to flip between the widget that is being displayed.

If your having to open the VPN so often this is an issue then perhaps you may want to just add a new main menu item titled “VPN” and click “change action” then at the bottom of the list “custom item” and then manually type in…