[Rhythmbox-devel] A whole bunch of stuff

A few days ago I finally decided I wanted something better than xmms or any of the other music players I'd ever found on the internet. I won't go into to detail but soon after starting work I ended up upgrading my system to slackware 10.2 and dropline 2.12. In the process I discovered Rhythmbox and realised that a whole lot of this music player I had planned out actually already existed. Of course it makes lots of sense to make the additions I want to the already existing rhythmbox than carry on writing a program from scratch. To that end I've worked out a huge list of things I'd like to discuss!  Apologies that it's really long; I hope a lot of these things are considered useful enough to be part of the official Rhythmbox tree.

* One important thing I was going to implement is tagging. I know tagging has turned into some kind of meaningless internet buzzword at the moment but I have a few actual uses for it. Such as, sometimes I have the urge to play guitar over records for a while. It's only certain songs though and I thought the best solution is to tag these songs with "guitar" or something. Then I simply filter for that tag and my problem is solved. I'm sure there are some other good uses too (perhaps it could be used instead of genres like on last.fm? Though I'm not interested in this feature personally.) I have a couple of songs I only listen to at Christmas as well. An xmas tag that I filtered out for 50 weeks of the year would sort that out. So I think they would be pretty useful.

How to implement this will take some thought. Initially I pictured each song having its tags as children in a tree view of the playlist, so they would be hidden until you clicked the expand arrow (maybe shown for the playing song, etc.) . To edit them you could just double click the text I suppose. I imagine this would be ass slow though since the new GTK liststore/listview/treeview components are not racehorses at the best of times. I guess it could just be another column but by now I have a whole bunch of columns and they don't all fit. I can't really think of a better way though. Editing could be in the browser somewhere and stored... I guess in the rhythmbox db rather than in the song itself. At least for now. Tag filtering is something should obviously be placed in the browser somewhere.

* Another thing is tagging (or catagorising through some other method) albums. I have some that are demos or bootlegs which I have in my collection but don't actually want to listen to very often. The obsessive compulsive in me maybe also wants to seperate singles, EP's etc. Though I agree this is pretty pointless.
* Skipping songs is often crazily slow. While it's not mentioned in bugzilla I don't think I imagine this is an issue that's being worked on. Since it's not like I have an enourmous collection (<5000 songs) and.. well I guess my computer isn't high end these days, but it should be able to run a simple media player without hanging around.

* Sorting isn't as functional as I would like. I want to be able to sort my library by artist, year and then track number. I'm sure there's people who want to sort by a crazy combination of stuff. This is actually an issue for me in more programs than just RB, so maybe it's more a problem with gtklistview.

* I don't like how the artist name and album are links to last.fm. The first time I used them there was a song playing and on the spur of the moment I decided I wanted to listen to the entire album. So I clicked the button, thinking it would have the same effect as hunting for it in the browser window, and instead a browser pops up and totally throws me off. I appreciate the idea of having links to the last.fm pages but I also really want to be able to browse to the current artist/album without searching through a tiny listbox or typing the whole name. Maybe we can solve this using a right click menu or something. (and see also: http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=317517 about last.fm links for arbitrary songs)

* I've seen some stuff about how the search box is a little flawed. eg. if I'm after songs by the punk rock band X. If I type X into the search box I'm going to get a couple more entries than I expected, such as every band, album or song with an X in its name. However something I realised is I could click on the artists list box in the browser and press X and it should take me to that artist. What actually happens is the whole thing freezes up but I take that to be more a bug than a feature.

* Since a tag editor is already in the works RB could be used to import songs into my library. The current "import songs" is all messed up I think. If I take the library listbox as a representation of the library on disk, import songs throws that all off because now the listbox has songs that aren't in my library on disk. I hope you get what I mean from this heh.

Anyway this is not really my issue! It would be ace if I could take a directory or a CD full of music, listen to it perhaps away from my library to see if I like it, normalise it, tag it (manually, with musicbrainz, however) and then move the files into my music library. And perhaps tag them so I can remove them again easily if it turns out I don't like them. I guess whether this should be included depends on how broad RB's scope is supposed to be.

* The little speaker icon (and its counterpart the no entry
sign) is mentioned in bugzilla here: http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=144181
Originally I thought it was a big waste of space and could be replaced by just making the entry bold. (Though I seem to remember that's a huge pain with a GTK listview for some reason.) Then I realised it could be pretty useful for showing
a song's position in the queue, there's the little no entry sign, etc. So I don't remember why I brought this up.

* A "jump to song" text entry/dialog. In XMMS sometimes I would decide I wanted to a certain song so I would hit J, type enough of the name to distinguish it from all the other songs and hit enter. I didn't even need the screen to be on. The current search box really doesn't satisfy this since I don't want to lose whatever subset of the library I'm playing, I just want to jump to a song within it.
Also why is the search box not called the filter box ??

* Ctrl+arrows would be better for skip than alt. First off that would match Ctrl+space better. Second altgr doesn't work, it has to be left alt, so it takes two hands to skip a song. Which is more annoying than you'd think.

* A couple of other small UI tweaks:
    - Toolbar buttons to go into small mode and fullscreen mode
    - Panes between album, artist etc. in the brower
    - Also it might be nice to change the browser setup (which boxes it shows) via right click menu to save delving into preferences.
    - The "last played" field is silly, it should be a friendly date like the ones in the the new GTK file select dialog etc. Seeing all these 2005-12-17 is way too technical for a music player, I want "yesterday" and "two days ago" etc.

There's some more stuff I have on my list as well but none of it is really worthy of discussion (crashes, things already in bugzilla, etc). Well I hope all this is some use, and thanks for any response..


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