[Rhythmbox-devel] The Queue, Playlists, & The Library (follow up to Interface Ideas)

The thread 'Interface Ideas' was fascinating, with many opinions on how
to bounce between playlists, queues, and the library.  However, most
approaches had flaws which were pointed out in detail.

There is a simpler solution.  Please read past the summary.

Summary :-

Keep it _really_ simple - only ever play from the queue. Remove the
ability to play directly from the library or playlists, instead having
them interact with the queue.

Reasoning :-

Confusion between the ways to play music makes current stable behaviour
unintuitive, and problems in the development version sound compounded
given the addition of a queue.  See appendix for more analysis of this.

Rather than have these 3 separate, conflicting notions of how the music
is enqueued (leading to confusion) instead just have one set of enqueued
music - that in the queue.  This removes conflict and confusion.

In the library, default double-clicking on a song to enqueueing that
song, with context menu entries for 'Play Now', 'Enqueue Album', 'Play
Album Now' and anything else that seems relevant (Enqueue/Play Artist,
etc?).  The library should be a tool for browsing and selecting music,
not playing it.

For playlists, default double-click behaviour should be to change the
queue to clicked-upon playlist ('Play Playlist Now'), with a context
menu entry for 'Enqueue Playlist'.  Playlists should be a way for
storing potential queues, rather than being separately instantiable

Represent a playlist in the queue as an expandable sub-component of the
queue, so that multiple playlists and songs can be enqueued without
clutter, yet you can insert songs into playlists (which could show up as
'modified' with an ability to save the modifications).

By only ever having one source - the queue - of playing music, all
confusion is removed and it becomes a matter of working out how to
efficiently put music into the queue rather than working out what is
currently happening.

As a footnote, a queue should not remove already played tracks by
default.  This voids the 'repeat all' behaviour (an expected feature).
Perhaps it would be worthwhile adding a devouring queue as an option or
an alternative to a static queue?

Anyway, I hope that all sounded intuitive and useful.  As a long-term
user of Rhythmbox I hope I've successfully conveyed what I'd think is a
solution to the behavioural issues of Rhythmbox.

- Charlie

Appendix :-

The library is for browsing music.  The fact that Rhythmbox currently
plays the library happily as a playlist is coincidental.  Really, it
should not allow this.  It brings about a confusing relationship between
playlists and the library (and consequently, in the development version,
the queue).

An example; playing Artist A while looking at Artist B.  If a song ends
I'm not paying attention, Rhythmbox will start a song by Artist B when
really I wanted to be listening to Artist A.

However, this is contrary to how it behaves if I switch to a view of a
playlist whilst playing from the library.  Rhythmbox will continue to
play from the library unless I explicitly select a song in a playlist.

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