Cover art viewer in Play

Discuss Play, an open source multi-format audio player.
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p944
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Cover art viewer in Play

Post by p944 » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:01 pm

Hi,

I have been using Play for a while now and have developed a new image grid view that I've integrated into Play that shows a grid of scalable cover art (see attached screenshot). Was interested to see what people thought of the idea and the general look of what I have.

The basic idea is that if you have a lot of albums (>300) you can visually scan the grid for what you are looking for in a similar way to browsing a physical cd collection. I worked out that you could easily show 1000 albums at 24x24 (which is surprisingly ok if you know your cover art).
I've wanted to do something like this for a while as previously as soon as I've uploaded about 100 albums I fail to use whatever player it is anymore as I cannot easily browse for something randomly that I feel like playing any more. Lists just don't cut it for me.

The basic UI is made up of an extra panel in the main window that shows a grid of album art which is manually arranged by the user.

Current interface is pretty simple:
- right click for a context menu to play all (copes with multiple discs) or individual tracks
- if editing then can drag albums around (multiple selection, rubber-banding)
- else drag pans around scroll area
- album art is found by looking in the directory that the stream files are in (assumes only one image file will be found and directory is accessible)
- new albums or non-arranged is shown in an extra section/shelf below the main area ready for moving around
- you can hide albums you don't like (for shared libraries)
- mouse-over to view artist/title/large cover (if your icons are small)
- layout stored in your personal application preferences area
- computing what tracks are in an album is done a bit adhoc using artist/title and mcn number (which is what I have to work with using my flac files).

Interested in suggestions/feedback/interest. Very happy to post code or whatever, only problem I can see are changes to nib files which I've been led to believe are binary format, so not simple to merge/review. Otherwise changes are extremely additive (new classes, new methods in AudioLibrary, new image files). I have not yet upgraded to Leopard so the build that I have patched at home is off an old build (svn tag 982) as I've not managed to get the latest to build on Tiger (not spent enough time on that yet to claim it's not possible).
I've been using this patched version for a while now and I really like it (but then I would :-)).

Oh, and Happy New Year,

Cheers,

David.
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sbooth
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Re: Cover art viewer in Play

Post by sbooth » Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:46 pm

I for one think this is an excellent idea!

I'm a bit unsure as to the best way to integrate cover art into the UI; browsing this way reminds me of either JuK or Amarok (it's been a while and I can't remember which one it was) which I really liked at the time. I'm just not 100% sure that another pane in the split view is the best way to present the images. Unfortunately, I don't have any better ideas right now. I have thought about making Play use multiple windows: one for the queue, one for the controls, and one for whatever browser(s) the user wants, but I don't think it's a particularly elegant solution to this problem.

p944
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:24 pm
Location: UK

Re: Cover art viewer in Play

Post by p944 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:23 pm

I was thinking that the grid would generally be an optional replacement for the track browser, so you would use one or the other (switchable like the View/Hide Play Queue menu option, not done as trying to have minimum change footprint so far). This is similar to your idea of the "browser of choice" window.
btw, the grid responds to the search text by only showing relevant albums (currently only by title and artist) and a right click shows the tracks and lengths on the menu, so most information is still readily accessible.

p944
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:24 pm
Location: UK

Re: Cover art viewer in Play

Post by p944 » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:04 am

Hi,

Is there any way that I can get this cover art code into the mainline of the project? Is there a pre-requisite change you would like to see first? Could this maybe be re-worked so as to be a plugin, do you have any pointers on how you would see plugins working with Play?

I would like to take updates/bug fixes to Play but I obviously want this cover art browsing ability in my version and due to the changes to the (binary) nib files doing a merge each time I take a new cut is obviously a pain.

What do you think?

David.

p.s. Have you fixed the bug where the last track in the playlist sometimes repeats forever (flac, add multiple files), I am on 1073.

p944
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:24 pm
Location: UK

Re: Cover art viewer in Play

Post by p944 » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:06 pm

Maybe iTunes is going this grid art way in the future?

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=558648

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