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Songbird Music Player

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Thumper

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Post Posted November 25th, 2005, 10:33 am

http://songbirdnest.com/

An XULrunner-based frontend for VLC, designed to be an extensible, open-source replacement for iTunes.

And they go and put a stupid, non-native skin on it, like every acid-crazed Linux developer of the late twentieth century.

Of course Asa is cheering them on, presumably because Netscape 8 was such an awesome idea. Or something.

- Chris

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Post Posted November 25th, 2005, 12:40 pm

I don't see the point of it. It's a music player in XUL. Should I care just because it's XUL?

Also, your anti-skin crusade is nutters.

ChrisI

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Post Posted November 25th, 2005, 1:30 pm

That's like saying, "Should I care about Firefox, because it's XUL?"

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Post Posted November 25th, 2005, 2:00 pm

Lose the comma. I do care about Firefox because it offers an unparalleled web browsing experience and promotes web standards. I don't care about the XUL aspect. Why should I care about Songbird? Its innovative "put-buttons-on-the-top" layout?

Thumper

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Post Posted November 27th, 2005, 6:04 am

np wrote:Also, your anti-skin crusade is nutters.


In what way is the universe better served by having another skinned music player? Skins are the worst thing that ever happened to audio. Justin Frankel set back media player development by fifteen years.

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Post Posted November 27th, 2005, 11:17 am

Thumper wrote:In what way is the universe better served by having another skinned music player?

In what way is the universe better served by having another non-skinned music player?

Thumper

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Post Posted November 27th, 2005, 10:32 pm

Because someone might actually get it right this time. Currently there still isn't a single Windows audio player that acts like a Windows app and doesn't suck. I suspect the same is true for MacOS, actually, seeing as nobody's going to bother competing with iTunes.

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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 12:00 am

There are two things about an audio player that are different than other apps.

1. An audio player does not have to been seen to work.
2. >90% of people care about a very small feature set (play, stop, shuffle, next, search)

Keeping in mind these two points, the ideal audio player implementation on a computer is a nice row of buttons on top of the keyboard. Anyone who wants more than this is very likely to want skins, visualizations, and the like.

Thumper

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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 12:58 am

That's untrue. Library support is essential to modern audio apps - they don't just have it to copy iTunes.

Anyone who wants more than this is very likely to want skins, visualizations, and the like.


Nobody wants skins except idiots. Visualisations are usually used by people who want a party player, so would be just as happy with your keyboard buttons. You haven't got clear use cases here.

- Chris

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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 3:44 am

For what it's worth, I've been using Foobar because the only interface I ever need to look at is the system tray context menu and the library which I invoke via a keyboard shortcut. I could probably set up global shortcut keys with the numpad or something and I'd never, ever have to look at it - despite it having an equivalent UI to notepad.

I totally agree on the skins thing, they're completely unnecessary as a default. Making them optional for the people who seem to think this stuff matters is fine, though - I'd have no problem with that. Ditto visualisations. I've never understood why people put so much weight on the appearance of their media player - the whole premise of it's job is to deliver media and surely 9 out of 10 times this is best done in a transparent way.

Personally I care more about the XUL aspect than anything else about Songbird. From a design and implementation point of view, I can learn a few things before launching into my own XULRunner apps. It might also get XULRunner out to more developers, which is a good thing if/when it becomes the standard platform from which Firefox and Thunderbird are built.

Thumper

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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 10:49 am

Ditto visualisations.


You clearly haven't used Winamp enough lately. Milkdrop essentially obsoleted every other Windows music player, and is my primary reason for still using Winamp (lord knows freeform skins got boring when it was discovered there were only three good ones ever).

There are exactly two models for modern music players: the "playlist + visualisations" one (Winamp) and the "music library" one (iTunes). Given that Milkdrop is a shining, flawless jewel, and Winamp has essentially perfected the art of an appliance-style music player, the only possible improvments at this point are to the music library model. The first one would be a player which doesn't have some stupid third-party toolkit UI and doesn't have some misguided moral stance against ID3v2.

- Chris

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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 11:00 am

I use Winamp. I never change the skin, but I do use one other than the default. (Good Ol' Winamp)
I have to disagree with the keyboard buttons alone being ideal. I'm more of a 'point and click' guy. To me FoxyTunes tends to be ideal. Even though it's not a player but just a controller, it's small, and out of the way, while the controls are always available. Including the display of the artist/track, a track slider, and volume control w/mute, that's all I need.

BenBasson
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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 11:37 am

Thumper wrote:You clearly haven't used Winamp enough lately. Milkdrop essentially obsoleted every other Windows music player, and is my primary reason for still using Winamp (lord knows freeform skins got boring when it was discovered there were only three good ones ever).

There's a good reason for that - last time I installed Winamp it quickly developed a habit of BSODing and taking down Windows XP (one of the few apps that ever has on this PC) after about 5 seconds of play. I haven't cared enough to troubleshoot this yet, but I guess I might one day.

Visualisations are probably great, but I have no place for them, I generally listen to music while I'm doing other things, with music not being the primary reason for opening a media player. I guess others might have a different usage model, though.

Thumper

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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 11:50 am

Yeah, exactly. That's why Winamp has "appliance" nailed: it's a replacement for your mini system at sexy parties. For actually sitting and using a computer while listening to songs, you want a bit more control and fiddle value. Tha's why I don't see the value in abortions like foobar, which simultanously suck at being an appliance and suck at being used.

- Chris

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Post Posted November 28th, 2005, 12:13 pm

Works for me. I can't argue the non-existant merits of the preference UI, but it does what I want entirely - stays out of my way and plays my music, plus incorporates a simple album list. Out of the box it's a bit nasty, but I found it well worth the tweaking effort. I don't expect normal people to use it though and probably never will.

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