Play Queue: Do you like it?

Discuss the development and future direction of Play.

Do you like the play queue?

Yes
5
63%
No
3
38%
 
Total votes: 8

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sbooth
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Play Queue: Do you like it?

Post by sbooth » Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:07 pm

What are people's thoughts on the way that Play handles audio enqueuing and playback?

Specifically, while different from iTunes and other jukeboxes, do you like the way that files are appended to the play queue when double-clicked?

mute_dammit
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Post by mute_dammit » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:41 pm

Yeah, I like the queue... although I don't like the way it's accessed. It feels hidden to me (I come from a win/linux background, though, so maybe I'm just missing out on the obvious Mac Way).

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sbooth
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Post by sbooth » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:48 pm

I agree that some sort of indication would be nice, to make things immediately obvious if the streams being displayed are the ones in the Play Queue or not. I've thought about moving the browser out of the drawer and into the main window (similar to iTunes) but I'm not sure I want to steal that much real estate. Also, I think some visual feedback would be nice when streams are added to the play queue.

theirongiant
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Post by theirongiant » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:57 pm

I don't know what version I was using before, but updating to r564 has fixed one problem and caused another.

I have an album of FLAC files. I used to drag and drop the folder onto the playlist window, and the tracks would appear in this order:
15
1
2
3
...
14
Drag and drop playlist reordering still does not work, a la iTunes.

I don't like the new "Play Queue" method, becuase I'd like to play from any playlist at any time. Your new version apparently doesn't allow this. Perhaps I'm spoiled by iTunes, but I don't see the necessity of Play Queue if I'm not hosting a party.

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sbooth
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Post by sbooth » Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:45 am

The problem with drag-and-drop reordering of playlist items has been fixed.

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krmathis
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Post by krmathis » Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:14 pm

I just reported the resulting of this "feature" as a bug.
In my opinion its totally wrong to not allow the user to play the files he add to the Play window (Library).

This procedure work on any audio player I know (iTunes, Cog, Foobar2000, ...):
1. Open the player.
2. Drag and drop audio files to the main window.
3. Double-click any of the tracks to play them.
4. Double-click any other track to play that one, or use the next/previous track buttons to navigate.

To make it worse, the "Browser" pane are hidden as default. So the user have no idea what it going on.
Just like me! ;)

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sbooth
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Post by sbooth » Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:14 am

krmathis wrote:I just reported the resulting of this "feature" as a bug.
The age old question: is it a bug or is it a feature?

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krmathis
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Post by krmathis » Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:42 pm

sbooth wrote:
krmathis wrote:I just reported the resulting of this "feature" as a bug.
The age old question: is it a bug or is it a feature?
I know, I know...

I respect your choices, and are graceful for all the work you put into developing these nice application (Max and Play).
But I am sad to see that Play no longer are the easy three step "drag | drop | play" audio player that is used to be. :(

RonaldPR
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Post by RonaldPR » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:38 pm

I hadn't looked at Play for quite some time. Because of this discussion I downloaded version r619 to see what the Queue feature looks like. I must agree with 'krmathis', something is not right here. Queuing songs is fine, but the interface is wrong.

The way the play queue is implemented is confusing and it makes Play difficult to use. If I had not read this discussion, I would have thought (as krmathis did) that there is a bug that prevents Play to play the songs I choose. Only the first song will start playing immediately. Apparently now only the songs that are added to the queue will be played, it is impossible to simply choose an album or an artist or a genre or even a single song and start playing it, it must be added to the queue first, than you have to switch to the Queue view and then you can click it to be played.

The fact that this feature is hidden makes it even more problematic. One needs to choose the Play Queue from the File menu or from the browser drawer (also only available from the File menu) to maybe be able to understand what is going on. The main window in the default Library view gives no indication whatsoever of what is happening. One selects a song and starts playing it, one stops/pauzes playing that song, selects another song and starts playing it, but it is the first song that continues playing. Very unintuitive.

Maybe it would help to have a button in the main window that toggles between Library view and Queue view. That button would make it easier to understand how Play works, although it still would not solve the problem of not being able to simply choose and play from the Library the song (or album or artist or genre) you want to play.

A few other remarks:

- If the queue is indeed a queue, should not a song disappear from the queue after it has been played?

- I think there should also be a button in the main window to show and hide the browser drawer.

- Cannot the position of the browser drawer (shown or hidden) be saved between quitting and launching Play?

- Why are songs referred to as "streams"? Usually in audio players songs are called "songs" even if they are not actually songs, while "streams" is usually used for streaming over network connections.

Edit: Of course "songs" could be called "tracks" also in this context, but "streams" does not seem right to me.
Last edited by RonaldPR on Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by RonaldPR » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:48 am

After a (short) night's sleep, I am still thinking about the queue feature. It is nice to have the possibility to choose which songs you want to be played next, but the problem is not only that the queue is hidden by default but also that this is now the only way Play can be used.

The program should play the songs that are shown in the main window. If the full library is shown, then the full library should be played, starting with the song you double click. If an album is shown, that album should be played in the same way. If a genre is shown, that genre should be played. Etc. And when you double click another track, that track should start playing. Simply what an average user would expect to happen.

The play queue is in fact some sort of temporary play list. Using a play queue should be an extra possibility, not something that replaces or interferes with what I see as "normal" operation.

RonaldPR
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Post by RonaldPR » Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:14 am

I am writing down my thoughts while they come, I hope you do not mind.

- Simple double clicking a track should always start playing that track.
- Selecting a track and clicking the play button should always play that last selected track.

- Adding a selection to the queue using the File menu or the contextual menu is OK. That way one is consciously using this option.
- Maybe double clicking while holding a modifier key could be made to add to the queue.

- The track that is being played should be displayed bold in all list views, not only in the Play Queue.
- Skipping to the next or previous track should be to the next or previous track as shown in the list that is displayed in the window, not to an unknown track in an invisible play queue list.

- There should be an more obvious way to view the play queue list. Maybe a button "Show/Hide Play Queue"?

- Just playing a track from outside the play queue should not add it to the queue. If there is a play queue, playing from the queue can be started or resumed afterwards.

RonaldPR
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Post by RonaldPR » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:39 pm

I have been thinking about how the play queue could be integrated in a way that does not confuse the user.

A very different approach would be to make the play controls (play/pause/skip/next and previous) only visible together with the Play Queue. In the Play Queue the controls work as expected.

In the other (Library) views the play controls could be replaced by a line that notes the number of tracks that are in the play queue and a button to show the queue.

Something like: "There are 20 tracks in the play queue" with a button "Show Play Queue"

Each time you add a track you can see by the changing number of tracks in the queue that adding to the play queue is what you are doing when you double click a track.

In Play Queue view, you can use the play controls like you can now. I think the button should be replaced by a "Hide Play Queue" so one can easily return to Library view.

With "Library view" I also mean the other (partial) library lists one can choose from the browser drawer.

The "Play Queue" should in the browser drawer be a item by itself at the top, above "Collection".

Hm, with these changes I might even like the Play Queue concept. :)

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sbooth
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Post by sbooth » Sat Apr 14, 2007 1:20 am

This sounds like a good idea- I will prototype it and see how it works!

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Post by sbooth » Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:08 am

After an hour or so of working and this, with much contemplation, I'm not sure I like the idea of disabling the playback controls unless the Play Queue is displayed.

My current usage of Play goes something like this:
  • Add 10 random streams to the play queue because I feel like being surprised
-or-
  • Search for a song I want to hear
  • Add it to the Play Queue
  • While it is playing, use the browser to look for other things I want to hear, and add whatever I find to the Play Queue
I like this approach because if you are adding an eclectic assortment of songs, if you've added more than one song to the queue, playback doesn't stop, and you aren't required to play from the current view you're displaying. One of my biggest pet peeves with iTunes is that when you're playing a track, if you switch to a different view playback will either stop or play from the view you've selected. Play was specifically designed to be different in this regard.

Back to my first point, though, about disabling the controls. If I add a bunch of streams to the queue (or even the entire library), I want to be able to skip to the next song if I'm tired of the one that is playing now or I don't like the one that comes on. Only being able to do this when the queue is displayed would be huge detriment to the way I use Play.

I fully agree some sort of visual feedback is required to show what is going on. I had initially messed with trying to get some kind of animation so that when a row is double-clicked, it would zoom off to a corner. Unfortunately I'm not too good at animations and CoreImage, so I basically gave up because it looked really lame.

I have added two simple text fields to the main window that I think get across the main points that need to be expressed:

Image

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krmathis
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Post by krmathis » Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:23 am

Why not make the Play Queue an additional feature?
Meaning that you add files to the queue in other ways than double-click (its already in the context menu), and use it if you like. Then restore playing and display capability to the Library, identical to the ones we now find in the Play Queue.

That way there are a Play Queue for those who want one, and a regular drag-drop-play for those of use who want it simple... :)

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