Roku is going to release a developer kit for experimenting with the Roku for games and smart home applications, among other things. The IDK allows users to personalize their streaming devices for their own use and load their own code for experimental programs.
The Independent Developer Kit is separate from the software development kit, or SDK, that Roku uses for commercial applications. The tool is aimed at hobbyists who want to experiment with their own Roku devices. The IDK allows them to “create applications in their favorite programming language” and load them into their Roku, the company wrote in a blog post.
The IDK runs on Linux and supports C/C++ as a programming language, but with an interpreter that can be embed, other languages can be used with the application. Such an interpreter does not come standard with the IDK. The IDK is completely community-driven, and is not further developed by Roku itself. Everything runs through a dedicated developer forum. The IDK works on any Roku device that supports Roku OS 10.5 or later, with the exception of Roku TV, Roku Streambar, and therefore older devices.
In addition to the IDK, Roku has developed a beta channel feature where developers can test their applications in a closed environment before publishing them to an app store. Each beta channel will remain online for 120 days for testing. Roku will not certify and release developed apps through the Roku Channel Store. The apps developed with the IDK are intended for personal use, Roku writes in the faq.