[Rhythmbox-devel] iTunes

Few days ago, I installed iTunes on my Win2k, and evaluated it for a
while. Here are some thoughts.

(Note: Some of these things apply to RB, some do partially, and some
don't at all, maybe in "don't try this at home" fashion only)

Overview of remarkable things in Apple iTunes I was able to spot after
few hours of usage:
   * Nice things:
     - Party Shuffle seems like nice idea, although it has some
       flaws pointed out in discussion on rb-devel [1]
     - Visualization is done rather neatly in non-fullscreen, in that
       it takes over space usually occupied by list entry and sidepane,
       basically leaving out only menus and top info & control bar. In
       fullscreen it's, well, fullscreen ;)
     - (That seems to be more-or-less Aqua feature, or maybe Aqua HIG,
       dunno) When tooltips are displayed, pressing Ctrl changes them to
       more verbose, descriptive versions. Ctrl isn't very discoverable,
       but general idea of providing a bit longer help in-place is nice.
     - Music store integration is impressive, but I won't go into it
	here ;)
     - Search entry is a bit extended compared to RB's entry, it
       allows for limiting search to Song, Album, Artists etc. as well
       as it provides little button for clearing and binds <ESC> to that
       too (<ESC> is probably the best thing about it ;) Not exactly
       can't-live-without-it feature, but possibly worthy in longer
       term, when someone has too much time on his/her hands :)
     - In Browser, All entries in respective columns show numbers of
       total albums / genres / artists. Small, but nice thing
     - Info area (that grayinsh, rounded place where LCD-like display
       shows title and duration) has small "snapback" button which
       instantly takes you to current list and song. Advantages over
       keystroke and menu entry: it's there, it's _visible_, and
       _instantly accesible with mouse_. And for me at least, mouse is
	90% of interaction with RB (I keep it in tray, and only 	sometimes
bring to front, so each time I have RB window focused, 	my hands are on
mouse already)
     - Built-in[2] CD burning seems like nice thing, although I didn't
       try it in real life, just tapped the button to see what happens
       ;). But we all know and want that :)

     - Print CD Cover functionality - if you burn your playlists on
       CD, you want covers for them :)

   * Not-so-nice things:
     - Info area tries to be jack of all trades, and is consequently
       master of none. RB's separate labels for title and artist, while
       not so eye-candy, are certainly more usable than small caps for
       title / artist / album scrolling in turn in tiny area

     - Ditto, even more, for that circle do-it-all button in
       top-right corner. Context sensitive widgets are generally evil,
       and this one is particularly evil - there is no way to change
       vis prefs known to me other than turning visualisation on and
       only then using that magic button which turns into "show vis
       options" this time
     - Info area also has small button that toggles spectrum analyzer
       replacing song info (which itself is not exactly great idea,
       IMHO, what do I need spectrum for if I can't see basic bits
       about song?) which is depicted as, Ladies and Gentlemen, little
       circle with right-pointing arrow in it. Plain dumb

     - Side pane's whitespace is totally insensitive to right-click
       spells cast on it. No "New playlist", no nothing.
     - Create new playlist button below sidepane (which _is_ there -
       that kinda counts as plus) with Shift depressed morphs into
       Create new Smart Playlist. Dunno, maybe it's just me, but I
       generally dislike widgets morphing on "obvious" events like
       pressing Shift, if it's not well-established practice, like is
       the case with GIMP. Not that I see other great way to do it
       without adding new button, but still I don't like it that

     - Visualisation shows Apple logo overlaid on top on every
       possible occasion, like starting or just resizing the window.
       Yes, apple is cute logo, but granted, it's hellishly annoying

     - File menu is really messy. Oh well, RB doesn't have that
       problem :)

[1] Possible solution to "not enough place on 640x480 screen to
present both Library and Party songlists, while most people decide
next song based on whatever is already there" problem: Party view
could pop-up new, smaller window with Library view, floating over
main window with Party view in it. It's much easier to manage it this
way, at least IMHO.
[2] Builtin as in "integrated" of course. RB shouldn't really do that
itself, just call right people to do the job, that goes more-or-less
without question. We all love Unix principles, don't we :)
Maciej Katafiasz <mnews2 wp pl>

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