Why is Dokan required for MediaPortal 2?
Dokan is a driver which allows us to show media items, which can be located all over the system (other computer, inside an archive or iso, etc.), as if they were located in the local file system. If you know Daemon Tools, it is very similar.
Dokan hooks into the Windows file system and creates a virtual folder. If you select a media item which for example is located on another computer, MP 2 opens a network connection to that computer, downloads the media item on-the-fly and makes it available in a folder. The process is transparent to the user and happens behind the scenes. When the playback ends, the virtual path to that item is automatically removed by our system.
The driver doesn't affect the system's performance.
The reason for having an own file system driver is that we want to show all possible types of media resources from different locations via heterogenous protocols. For example, MP2 allows to play music files that are located inside a RAR archive, or you can play a DVD located in an ISO image, or you can play media which is stored on another MP2 client or server.
To make those resources available to the media source filters, which are part of the codec, it is sometimes necessary to provide a file path. In an ideal world, codecs would just need a data stream, but we often need to provide a file path.
It is needed to mount files that reside on a remote system as local files, so that they (among other reasons) can be played with DirectShow -> and all source filters require a local file. The communcation layer between MP2 Server and Client is UPNP. And there is no DirectShow filter that can directly play a UPNP link.
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