Application Development Guide

The XMA application interface is used to provide an API that can be used to control video accelerators. The XMA API operations fall into four categories:

  1. Initialization
  2. Create session
  3. Runtime frame/data processing
  4. Cleanup


The first act an application must perform is that of initialization of the system environment. This is accomplished by calling xma_initialize() and passing in device and xclbin info.

Create Session

Each kernel class (i.e. encoder, filter, decoder, scaler, filter, kernel) requires different properties to be specified before a session can be created.

  1. xmadec
  2. xmaenc
  3. xmafilter
  4. xmascaler
  5. xmakernel

The general initialization sequence that is common to all kernel classes is as follows:

  1. define key type-specific properties of the kernel to be initialized
  2. call the_session_create() routine corresponding to the kernel (e.g. xma_enc_session_create())

Runtime Frame and Data Processing

Most kernel types include routines to consume data and then produce data from host memory buffers. Depending on the nature of the kernel, you may be required to send a frame and then receive data or vice versa. XMA defines buffer data structures that correspond to frames (XmaFrame) or data (XmaFrameData). These buffer structures are used to communicate with the kernel application APIs and include addresses to host memory. The XMA Application Interface includes functions to allocate data from host or device memory and create these containers for you. See xmabuffers.h for additional information.

Some routines, such as that of the encoder, may require multiple frames of data before recv_data() can be called. You must consult the API to ensure you check for the correct return code to know how to proceed. In the case of the encoder, calling xma_enc_session_send_frame() may return XMA_SEND_MORE_DATA which is an indication that calling recv_data() will not yield any data as more frames must be sent before any output data can be received.

Of special note is the XmaKernel plugin type. This kernel type is a generic type and not necessarily video-specific. It is used to represent kernels that perform control functions and/or other functions not easily represented by any of the other kernel classes.


When runtime video processing has concluded, the application should destroy each session. Doing so will free the session to be used by another thread or process and ensure that the kernel plugin has the opportunity to perform proper cleanup/closing procedures.

  1. xma_enc_session_destroy()
  2. xma_dec_session_destroy()
  3. xma_scaler_session_destroy()
  4. xma_filter_session_destroy()
  5. xma_kernel_session_destroy()

Standalone Example

See XMA copy_encoder example for an standalone working example of encoder kernel type.