Application Interfaces - DashTunes

Description: DashTunes is small itunes control widget. You can see what's playing, rate songs, play/pause, skip or go back a track, search & play a song or playlist, adjust volume, uncheck a song, or add the current song to a 'favorites' playlist. DashTunes also has different skins.
Author: jonlink
Version: 2.0b
New in v2.0b: This is a beta release. It is mostly just a redesign, but that might changing a lot of code. The design isn't quite done, but it is nearly finished. There are no new features, but bugs have been squashed. Mainly I wanted to see how small I could get this without making it too busy.

I'm just looking for feedback on the design/function and bug reports at this point. feature requests are also welcome, though i'm pretty short on time lately so there are no promises there.
Uploaded on: November 3rd 2005 at 3:20 AM
Rating: (4.15 stars)   [Show Detailed Ratings]
Downloads: 2913 (all versions), 1907 (this version)
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Very un-aqua. Other than that it's good.

Posted by: twisted on Jul 28, 05 (4:09 AM) for version 0.7b (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

twisted, could you please clarify that? I'm not sure what you're looking for. Could you give me some examples of widgets that are "aqua."

fyi, from the apple site: "Avoid using Aqua controls on your main interface... Instead, design custom controls for your widgetís main interface."

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Jul 28, 05 (4:30 PM) for version 0.8b (previous version)  

I interpreted his comment as the widget being very cartoonish and not in the glossy style as most widgets use.

Posted by: Lundmark on Jul 29, 05 (2:00 AM) for version 0.8b (previous version)  

yeah, you're probably right. well that is an issue of personal preference I suppose. obviously i like it. i wanted something that had a distinct look.

that said, if lots of people think it's ugly i'd like to know. distinct doesn't have to mean hideous.

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Jul 29, 05 (3:22 AM) for version 0.8b (previous version)  

I don't like the look much, either. If you want help with the design, I could try and make something that looks better.

Posted by: jtbandes on Jul 30, 05 (12:40 AM) for version 0.8b (previous version)  

I think the design. I suppose it COULD be a bit more bubbly, but it's fine the way it is. And the functionality is great; So small, but does everything, even the search. Good job.

Posted by: Garcon on Aug 02, 05 (5:16 AM) for version 0.8b (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

well i guess links don't work in the description, even though it says they do... feedback to jonlink@hotmail.com please.

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Aug 20, 05 (5:28 PM) for version 1.0b (previous version)  

I had something different in mind, so I may not be the best to voice an opinion, but I do like the spacing of the various elements on the widget and the square arrangement. That, to me, looks like a good use of space, for which I think this widget does better than the included iTunes widget, which goes for a rounder, fancier effect.

However, for functionality and looks I still prefer the Apple widget. This is probably a nice widget, but it is very toony and cute.... It'd blend in fine with Disney characters or Windows (with its toony interface, if the widget is available for the OS), but at least on my Dash it looks out of place. I don't know about people calling it ugly, but I wouldn't be surprised if people say it is out of place.

Posted by: BagOfHammers on Aug 21, 05 (4:48 PM) for version 1.0b (previous version)  

This looks great, but when I started it the background went away after it loaded. Not sure what happened there. I've got DashTunes 1.1 and OS 10.4.2.

Posted by: schapht on Aug 22, 05 (2:27 PM) for version 1.0b (previous version)  

bagofhammers, i think you were refering to the old interface, right? if not i'd have to disagree that it looks cartoony. have you looked at the different skins? i know that aren't mind blowing, but i think the are adequate.

schapht, i fixed the background bug, or at least i hope i did. if you are still experiencing this issue please let me know.

thanks for the feedback.

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Aug 23, 05 (1:41 AM) for version 1.0 (previous version)  

I love the widget! it's a beautifully compact widget with (in my opinion) good graphics, but i think there's a glitch with it, since every time i open dashboard with dashtunes up, iTunes suddenly pops open. when i took the widget off, though, iTunes stopped opening. otherwise, i like the widget!

Posted by: modcaveman on Aug 23, 05 (3:47 AM) for version 1.0 (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

modcaveman, it shouldn't do that, and it doesn't on my computer. could you check again? also could you tell me if there is anything is odd happening in general? could you also take a look at your console (if you don't know where that is, it is found in the utilities folder) and see if you are getting any error messaages?

is anyone else experiencing this issue? if it is an issue i'd like to get it taken care of immediately.


thanks

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Aug 23, 05 (1:24 PM) for version 1.0 (previous version)  

I'm also experiencing the iTunes start issue. The background is cleared up though. The "Purple" skin doesn't appear. Probably just a little mistake.

I think the "un-aqua" that a lot of people are commenting on is the shading of the graphics. Most widgets have a very narrow bezel, or none at all. This one has a wide fade that gives it an inflatable appearance.

I have two more comments:
- The mouse-over reaction on the rating is a little confusing and maybe unneccesary. It would be nice to know if the rating I'm seeing is because of mouse over or the actual rating. Taking out the mouse-over would probably solve the usability issue. Another way could be to have the stars change color if you're not in mouse-over-edit-mode (for lack of a better term)
- When I hit pause it says "iTunes is not playing", and looses the song info. This is a minor thing, but it might be nice to differentiate between stopped and paused, perhaps by graying out the song data when paused, but removing it when stopped.

Posted by: schapht on Aug 23, 05 (6:22 PM) for version 1.0 (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

schapht, thanks for the input, great. i've implimented the mouse over & pause. i especially agree with the pause thing. i also tried to make the metal look less inflated. i'll look at the other i think some do suffer that problem, but (i hope) not all. oh, i fixed the purple thing too (typo).

the only big problem i have is this iTunes launch thing. i've put a link to the new version in the testing forum ( http://www.dashboardwidgets.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=5543#5543 )

could people please look at it and tell me what their console says, i've set up the release candidate to print out the info in the console-- that should get me what i need.


thanks for the input!

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Aug 23, 05 (9:15 PM) for version 1.0 (previous version)  

I first want to say that I love this widget, including the appearance. So keep up the good work.

From a functionality standpoint, I have one quibble. If I'm in iTunes and search for an artist, all the matching songs appear, and if I hit play, they'll all play (either straight-through or random, however I've set it). But with the widget it only plays the first song by that artist and then stops. This is how it's documented, so it does what it says it'll do, but my feeling is that it should continue to play all songs by that artist as it would do in iTunes. (The same for albums.) Just my $.02. smiley

Posted by: becky on Aug 24, 05 (4:30 PM) for version 1.1 (previous version)  

"bagofhammers, i think you were refering to the old interface, right? if not i'd have to disagree that it looks cartoony. have you looked at the different skins? i know that aren't mind blowing, but i think the are adequate."

Sorry I wasn't paying attention. I honestly didn't even bother downloading the widget, but I have now (only to look at the design, since you suggested a new interface).

I don't know if it's just me, but there is NO new interface. Just different colors/fills for the widget - that's not as significant. I was talking about the ultra-simple, all-aligned spacial arrangement and the tooniness of the icons, more than just the backgrounds. But the number of backgrounds you have is quite good!

There's nothing wrong with simplicity, and you have an adequate number of (background) skins. Still, changing the color doesn't change the *whole* style, so I'm afraid it still looks out-of-place, although I can get it to look somewhat less toony.

There's nothing wrong with it, per se, I just don't like the look. On the bright side, it *looks* like a good (if toony) widget (haven't tested it though).

Posted by: BagOfHammers on Aug 26, 05 (3:28 PM) for version 1.1 (previous version)  

Very nice widget (do exactly what I want), but...
it takes too much CPU on my dual G5 2.5 Gh (WindowServer+DashTunes Client) take up to 30% CPU !!!

Posted by: Bare on Sep 12, 05 (8:19 AM) for version 1.1 (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

Quote:
Very nice widget (do exactly what I want), but...
it takes too much CPU on my dual G5 2.5 Gh (WindowServer+DashTunes Client) take up to 30% CPU !!!


I'm gonna have to ask that you check that again. I only get 18% at most, usually it is at 0% and I am on an iMac G5. I'm not sure why you are mentioning WindowServer (are you including this in your number?). WindowServer is a system process and is not part of DashTunes.

The widget isn't constantly active, so it should only use processor resources when updating the song info or when something gets clicked on.

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Sep 17, 05 (5:21 PM) for version 1.2 (previous version)  

oops... also, please email me if you are having any problems with the widget.

thanks

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Sep 17, 05 (5:25 PM) for version 1.2 (previous version)  

since you can already play/pause, and skip tracks, you might as well add the time of the song and at what part you are in the song. that would truly make the widget an iTunes controller. otherwise, really well done.

Posted by: modcaveman on Sep 18, 05 (10:41 PM) for version 1.2 (previous version)  

so much better than the original. the search bar works much faster as do the controls. great work

Posted by: danman4961 on Nov 04, 05 (1:36 PM) for version 2.0b (current version)   View Detailed Rating

Very good job for a beta, jonlink. Here are some things:

1. The flip button doesn't fade in and out; it simply appears.
2. When the Light Metal skin is selected, it's very hard to see the flip button.
3. Use standard buttons and controls for the backside. The standard font is 11px Helvetica with a small text shadow, and the button graphics can be found in yourharddisk > Library > WidgetResources.

Otherwise, keep it up.

Posted by: skyhawkrider on Nov 12, 05 (7:01 AM) for version 2.0b (current version)   View Detailed Rating

I noticed a problem: when I lower the rating of a song from over two stars to two stars & under, iTunes immediately plays the next song in the Play List.

Since I am using this widget primarily to rate songs on the fly, this is issue renders the widget highly compromised for this specific purpose.

If this can be remedied then all will be well.

I like that you also include the album in addition to song title & artist.

I'm running 10.4.3

Posted by: MisterHand on Nov 18, 05 (1:32 AM) for version 2.0b (current version)  

Noticed additional aspects of the rating problem: when rating a song with no stars to a rating of one or two stars, iTunes plays the next sdong in the Play List.

Also I can't get the rating to drop below one star, if I try iTunes just plays the next song.

These issues are really rendering this widget inoperable for rating songs on the fly.

Posted by: MisterHand on Nov 18, 05 (2:01 AM) for version 2.0b (current version)  

Be careful...this thing absolutly throttles my CPU...but it was hard to track down the process that was doing it by either 'top' or 'ActivityMonitor'.

Posted by: reallylongaddress on Nov 30, 05 (6:55 PM) for version 2.0b (current version)   View Detailed Rating

thanks for the feedback folks... i've been on haitus.

the widget automatically goes to next song when given a low rating, but this can be disabled via preferences on the back. also, i decided not to incorporate zero stars as that is not an actual value, iTunes reads that as unrated.

as for cpu, that just isn't true. if it is you should let me know, but the fact that you were having trouble tracking down the problem leads me to believe you are mistaken. I use this widget daily and never have a problem-- nor has this issue been reported. that said, if you still think it's my widget email me with specifics. what were you doing to make it "throttle" the cpu, for instance?

thanks everyone.

Posted by: jonlink (developer) on Dec 23, 05 (9:51 PM) for version 2.0b (current version)  

I love the widget but since I reinstalled the OS (10.4.6), I've been unable to get DashTunes to work again. When I've tried to install it, or reinstall it, or anything of the kind, when I add it, there is no border and all I see is a jumble of controls. Has anyone else experienced this problem? I've tried the 1.x version as well as the latest 2.0 beta and it's always the same result.
Like I said, I love the widget, it's perfect for what I want from an itunes widget, except that I haven't been able to use it since I reinstalled OS X.

Posted by: jeromatron on Jun 19, 06 (6:34 AM) for version 2.0b (current version)  

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