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This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies. Posted in: Widget Requests
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An iTunes widget

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BagOfHammers



Joined: 03 Jul 2005
Posts: 167
Location: under the lucky hippo tree

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 - 11:08 am    Post subject: An iTunes widget Reply with quote

Sure, I know, Apple included an iTunes widget.

Still, there are many things I wish it were that it isn't. For one, they decided to depart from the brushed metal look. Some people get sick of the brushed metal - great, they already have their solution then. But what about me? I like brushed metal.

Also, the volume control goes around in a circle. Now, maybe that's somehow supposed to reflect the iPod's use of the wheel thingy. But for me, it's a bit uncomfortable to aim my cursor at this dial and spin it. Fine in the physical world, but as long as it's on screen anyway, I'd appreciate the simple feel of a straight control.

Plus, I generally feel the thing is bulky, and I don't appreciate the greenish display.

I was happy to see a widget somewhere around here that got rid of the display and simplified the widget. However, although I don't appreciate the design, I find the display itself (and the functions included) useful.

Ultimately, what I'm hoping for amounts to an iTunes widget that is an exact copy of iTunes, as the minimized stick form. Slim, classy, fully functional. I just wish I could send iTunes to the Dashboard...since I can't do that, I'm hoping someone can make an exact copy to run in Dashboard, instead.

Now, I keep saying "exact copy", but there are a few things that could be done without, in fact, I expect MUST be done without, IF someone is to make a Dashboard iTunes copy. They are:

-No close, minimize, zoom buttons...with slim build and resize capability, I don't think the size should be messed with. And of course, close is built in to Dashboard, there should be no way of making it disappear (confusing)...therefore, please remove the buttons.

-No necessity for the visualization that appears by clicking the round "play"-like button in the display...I imagine this may possibly be difficult to build into it, and besides, complicates the widget. Probably takes memory usage too.

Further, some additions would be welcome:

- Ability to flip to a backside
- Ability to launch iTunes from the backside
- Ability to type in a track title and make it play, like the Symphonic widget by SupaPuerco.
- Ability to scan along a track like the included iTunes widget...I imagine a tracking bar placed where the small view of iTunes says "Elapsed Time" and the time elapsed...the time elapsed, in my opinion, is not that important. If it has to be included, it could be placed off to the side or something.


Now, if someone is kind enough to take on this challenge, I'd be extremely grateful, and I expect so would many other people that are dissatisfied with other iTunes widgets. If you feel like a major challenge, I'd appreciate the keyboard shortcuts to work as they do in iTunes. (Space to pause/play, left/right for previous and forward, those three alone would be great.) But I'm not even sure how possible any of this is.

Any thoughts? I'm probably on a minority of people who don't especially like the included iTunes widget, but doesn't anybody else envision what I'm ranting about? It's not that the included one is "bad" or anything...it's just that the iTunes (in the small view) seriously looks like it would be perfect in the Dashboard....
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jtbandes



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 269
Location: Oregon

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 - 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like this idea, because I too don't like the included iTunes widget.

Is there a way to play songs when iTunes isn't open withoust launching iTunes? This seems possible if the widget goes spelunking in the depths of the user's music folder.
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pm
Administrator


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 398

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 - 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jtbandes wrote:
Is there a way to play songs when iTunes isn't open withoust launching iTunes? This seems possible if the widget goes spelunking in the depths of the user's music folder.


You could probably figure out a way to get Library data from iTunes' XML file and then play the songs through the widget with a Quicktime plugin. That way you wouldn't need to open any programs.
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cerberus



Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 118

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 - 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The music calculator widget is playing .wav files from inside the widget package for it's metronome. I think it does not use a widget plug-in, but perhaps calls the QuickTime plug-in that makes QT files play in Safari and other browsers. In this case, movies could also be played (doesn't the latest iTunes also play movies too?)

Also the finder can play audio files in the get info window and in column view, so perhaps an Applescript can be made to call that function in Finder without actually opening a Finder window.

I like this idea for an iTunes widget, but I am using a menu bar extra called QuickTunes now and it will take a special widget to change this for me.. I don't think having to go to the Dashboard to control iTunes is any more convenient than going to straight to iTunes.app, but the menu bar display shows up everywhere.

I would like a widget that can start iTunes on a remote computer somewhere else on the network, or search playlists and audio files on the network, and even other places on the computer besides the "iTunes Music" folder This is where Symphonic fails for me... It would be nice to have a widget that can manage entertainment needs over the network and also to help synchronize iTunes playlists and even browser bookmarks, address contacts, and whatnot.

I suppose I should subscribe to .Mac, but also I think widgets can bring these kinds of synchronization functions to local networks too. iSync does not do much for me so far... One shouldn't need a.Mac account to get get two Macs on the same LAN that are both running Safari to sync up their bookmarks, or import an iTunes playlist from another computer and link the files... IMO these are perfect jobs for widgets yet to be written.

===

edit.. I just checked out Apple's iTunes widget.. Yeah I have seen controls like this on audio plugs where the designer is going for a "realistic model".. Users will yelp until an option is made to have those controls behave like sliders and usually on the X-and Y axis both... So every software I can think of has backed off this kind of control by the 2.0 version. Nevertheless it is has way cool potential for gaming applications. and perhaps for projects where data is presented in the round such as my variation on World Clock. Apple widgets are cool even if not so useful because they each have some special way of doing something that provides an example of how hard things can be made to look easy.

cerberus
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BagOfHammers



Joined: 03 Jul 2005
Posts: 167
Location: under the lucky hippo tree

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 - 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Controlling iTunes from the menu bar is neat, but it's not my thang.

I really just want a better iTunes widget, namely, what I describe up there at the top ^. I made my Dashboard the quick access to iTunes because I am using a couple of album art widgets, and I've streamlined my dashboard for a minimalistic feel devoted to primarily iTunes and a few of my favorite widgets that stay out of the way most of the time. When I want to have visual controls and album art, it's all under F12, and just as easily goes away. I keep iTunes minimized.

Problem is that the included iTunes widget is for me, not good enough... I appreciate scanning and shuffle/repeat controls, but I'd much rather see something more like the mini view of iTunes.

I wonder if there are some obstacles that have prevented peoeple from developing what I described in my first post.... At least, I don't think it is very difficult to top Apple's design...just use their own iTunes design!
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jonlink



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 172

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 - 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the challenge comes in communicating with iTunes. apple's widget uses a pluggin-- this is the only good way to do it. applescripts work, but they are clunky and slow. believe me, if it were simple i would have done it already. as it stands i have a half working widget that has never quite struck me as workable. eyeTunes might be a the key (it's an open source pluggin for itunes), but right now it isn't usable. until then i'll keep tinkering and hoping that someone else might get this thing going proper.
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jonlink



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 172

Posted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 - 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well i've put some more polish on what i've got-- still needs a lot of work i'm affraid.

http://www.dashboardwidgets.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=5448#5448
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mattf
Server Admin


Joined: 11 Oct 2004
Posts: 45

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 - 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that you said that a menu bar item really isn't your thing, but I might seriously consider checking out Synergy. It's a heck of a lot more than a simple menu bar extra, most people tend to get addicted to its usefulness. Personally, Dashboard is meant for quick access to an array of information that would normally take several minutes to gather by surfing to individual web pages, and tying it into a compressed format. Controlling computer apps like iTunes just doesn't make sense to me, especially when Quicksilver does a lot of that for me easier than any old widget could. Just my thoughts. Smile

-m
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jonlink



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 172

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 - 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

personally i've never found the menubar to be a good place for things that i want regular access to. it's great for airport, time, and menus-- but the less time i can spend there the better. i generally don't like like pull down menus either though so that might have something to do with it. the only menubar thing i ever use is "mainmenu" and i even only keep that in the menubar for as long as i need it. i know i am not the only one who feels this way, but your proof that the opposite is also true.
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mattf
Server Admin


Joined: 11 Oct 2004
Posts: 45

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 - 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Synergy uses buttons, not drop down menus. That is the only reason I use it. If I had to use a contextual menu I'd not use it. The biggest thing I like though is key commands, I'm basically able to control every aspect of iTunes from any application through key commands. This may/may not appeal to others, but it works out rather well for me. Smile

-m
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Powermacguy



Joined: 07 Jul 2005
Posts: 122

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 - 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

there is a app called Spark which has hotkeys for most apps including itunes.Here
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jonlink



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 172

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 - 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

powermacguy, get rid of the quote marks in your [url] tag and i'll work properly.
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BagOfHammers



Joined: 03 Jul 2005
Posts: 167
Location: under the lucky hippo tree

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 - 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jonlink wrote:
well i've put some more polish on what i've got-- still needs a lot of work i'm affraid.

http://www.dashboardwidgets.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=5448#5448


I couldn't get the link to go to where I think you intended it to. I just got a "this topic doesn't exist" sort of page.

Mattf, thanks for the heads up on those apps...I've looked at Synergy, which is nice and stylish and efficient, but it would get in my way while I'm working and I don't see a way for me to call up song info whenever I want, unlike the Dashboard. I want to see that sort of efficiency fitting my interests...especially the floater panels and notifications are nice, but to have more control would be a necessity for me. As for the Dashboard being for info, I also use the Dashboard for info, but I listen to music a lot and therefore require quick access to iTunes...further, I want it to be clean and smooth. For these reasons I like putting control under the F12 key, even though the menu bar may actually be faster. I could also work around it manually by making keyboard shortcuts, couldn't I? But another thing I enjoy is the album art widget, which would be compromised outside of the Dashboard.

As popular as iTunes is, there are many user-end perspectives and desires. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fair-sized demand for iTunes control through the Dashboard. This may be partly why Apple made their iTunes widget, but there comes the more detailed problems of interface, functions included, and design. I suppose they avoided the brushed metal look and interface of iTunes (small zoom view) on the basis that Dashboard widgets generally have their own style and interface, often simpler/toony compared to apps. Still, would it really hurt anyone?

I'm not a developer so I don't know, but it makes sense that difficulties lie in widgets controlling apps. I was wondering if whatever the iTunes widget uses (a plug in, is it?) could be copied or mimicked, but if it is difficult that accounts for the relative rarity of iTunes widgets.
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BagOfHammers



Joined: 03 Jul 2005
Posts: 167
Location: under the lucky hippo tree

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 - 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just bumping this thread up...I still would like to know if anyone else is interested in this sort of iTunes widget....
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BagOfHammers



Joined: 03 Jul 2005
Posts: 167
Location: under the lucky hippo tree

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 - 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How's bout now that iTunes 5 is out? New design should be there for some time...
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