Awesome Library Bar!

  • Idea
  • Updated 5 years ago
One thing i don't like is having to dig through my library to find my music or find the music i like.

You know what rocks.... the awesome bar. The "search library bar" does the same thing... but its not in the right spot... and it doesn't feel natural to use. Its not accessible, obvisious and simplified and it doesn't really even do a good job at finding the right music... lol its everything an awesome bar isn't!! Ok, So here's my idea:

Lets stop hiding this "filter on the fly" bar and make it more like firefox's interface. People are accustom to firefox, so if we make this bar the whole length of songbird, it becomes obvious... i'll starttyping my song here and it'll find it (in my database/library). just like i search my history/bookmarks in firefox.

Secondly, there is very little use for filter planes if you have an awesomebar... think about it... if im searching for "green day" i could just type "Green when" and find my song faster than using this dumb filter pane: find "green day" on one pane, and "when i come around on another" assuming i don't know the album. its unnaturally slow and clunky.

Basically combine the "location bar" and "search library bar" to be the same thing, and have a secondary, smaller bar for searching other stuff like google or The Hype machine (whatever THAT is). Just like the awesomebar - Search Bar combo on firefox.

We give stars to address on firefox... we give stars to songs on songbird... hmmm....

If we put time to tag them with stars, lets use them! And we can use these pointy figures more effienctly ---- how? WITH THE AWESOME BAR OF COURSE! When i start typing an artist... we should list artists/songs/whatever with the highest star rating first! Then slowly decend.

Now, the problem with this set-up is when you use your awesome bar to search your history for say something you found on The Hype Machine or Last.fm and stuff from your library pops up... so the idea is we should list our music FIRST then internet stuff second... and maybe a cool icon to let you know if the content is remote and not local. This also might not be an issue if we start typing an address...

...and if you wanted to get real fancy... you could give your history... remote media stars too to help orgainze and find stuff too. If we keep history, and we give it stars, we should be able to easily spot the remote media against our own local media.



Whats different:

1) Just like the Back/forward are always there... we should make reload/home there too... so they're there... but they should probably be grey out when looking at the library

2) Um... Theres an awesome bar. Obviously.

3) There is a favicon on the awesomebar... its supposed to be the library icon when your looking at the library, so i used the icon thats standard now when you go to search your library on the current version. Its also NOT changable... but will change when your looking at a page to its favicon... Clicking the awesome bar will revert it back to the library icon indicating your going to query your library.

4) I forgot to put text in the "search library field"...If you couldn't guess what i typed, it was "3 D".

5)There is a plus button at the end... same as the current method. but this one should open your query in a new tab if you query returns a million results... right now it doesn't seem to do anything.

6) There is a secondary search field.... but this one will only search remote media and the internet... it IS changable (but it exclude searching the library. You can't search your history with firefox's search bar either... so it follows the same concept)

7) finally the panes selector... which seems kinda useless now... but i guess i f you like your panes... you can bring them up for cover flow or other stuff.

8) The first 1 to 8 items that should appear have stars... and i made the point to show it descends from highest rating to lowest rating... I say 8 being that you might get alot of returns still. Here's how i think the priority should be based:

a) Highest rated song. Closest Match.

b) If Both are rated the same... the artist that has the highest average rated songs.

c)If Its the same artist... the album with the highest rating...

d) If its the same album... the one thats played the most?

e) Stuff that has no rating, but matches

9) After the 1 to 8 closest matches... i thought we should be able to bring up other clear matches... such as the single artist (Read: to replace filter pane)... which also brings up the list in a new tab. But while i don't explain it clearly... this isn't limited to artist... we could also use albums.

10) Meta Data... (Read: Lyrics) Meta data could be comments, others that perform in the song (ft. artist)... dates... genre, composers, label... but really what I had in mind lyrics... because everyone knows the words to songs... or has a good idea of a single phrase but mght not know the song title, artist and album... so you can search for a song if you know the words to a song. Clicking the meta items opens the results in a new tab.

11) Histroy... yea... i thought we should look at remote media independately... so clicking it opens a new tab... and display hits to the string in history...

12) Interface was made using inverted colours of the current player at the bottom... the image is completely photoshoped... and i couldn't figure out the orginal text font so i found one that was close...

Please.... tell me what you think!
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TheParadox2

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Posted 6 years ago

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TheParadox2

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This is great news... or atleast half of it is.

Im really looking forward to seeing it.
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Jigar Shah

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Only one concern, performance. Currently even simple search sometimes freezes UI. Hope this will improve situation and not worsen.
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Slate8

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Couldn't agree more. The current library search constantly freezes Songbird. This idea will be a killer feature if it is fast.
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Simon

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Second update- I've now got artists,albums, tracks and playlist all with drill-down (on demand) feeding a queue which plays.

Performance needs some improvement. (It is getting stats which slows things down, i.e. to get no. of albums for an artist you need to access all their tracks, so showing the atist names means accessing all their tracks. Similarly,to get length of an album you need to get all the album tracks- even though only the title and a few bits of info are displayed). No sorting yet (As I don't use ratings or playcounts - life's too short...)

I'm having some difficulty getting the textbox to start the query although a separate button does it fine.

I will push ahead then release what I've got next week sometime, as a beta release for testing/feedback.
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Laura Thomas

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Thanks for keeping us in the loop on your progress Simon. It sounds like it's really coming along!
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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I can't wait to see how it is turning out Simon. To improve performance while searching, could you index all of the information needed from a person's library as a database, so it doesn't need to be gathered while the search is taking place? I don't know much about it, but I believe this is how a search engine or search on your computer is performed. For example, every once in a while, the add-on could index, or calculate the number of albums per each artist and songs per each album, and store the numbers in a database. Then when you perform a search, it could just retrieve the information it needs instead of having to calculate it on the spot.

This database could also hold sorting information. Every time you type a certain query and then choose a result from the drop down list, you could add to a tally for that result in the database, and results could be ranked based on how often you choose them in a search. For example, with Quicksilver on OSX, the first time I searched for the term "fi", Finder was the first result and Firefox was the second result. But since I select Firefox from the results more often than Finder, Firefox is now the number one result when I type in "fi" and Finder has been moved down to the second result. This makes it so that you can find and select the result you are most likely searching for more quickly.
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Simon

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Well, in the great tradition of IT development, this week's release is delayed - but not by more than about another week.

However, I've made good progress on the preferences interface and getting art and stats (plus, I'm now doing asychnronous web calls when there is no local art found). I've tidied up the layouts a lot and I don't think there are any major issues outstanding.

I have a question about location of artist art. I can pick up artist work from the current preferences and I will pick up muzPhoto art (when muzPhoto is installed) but where else do people store their artist art? (Do other people keep their own artist art?)

I store mine in directories under the music library (as folder.gif, so that Windows directory displays it) but what do other people do?

There won't be any search history in the 1st release (I spent a lot of time on this this
week and couldn't get it working), similarly there will be no inter-relationship between 'my' search bar and the location bar. Those things will have to come later.
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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Your question about where to store the artist images got me thinking, so I posted this topic suggesting that we make a standardized database for storing artist images so that multiple add-ons can access the images easily. I think something like that would help this dilemma. Perhaps you could have the add-on check to see if muzPhoto has created a database yet; if it has, then you can use that one, and if it hasn't, it can just create the database for the first time.
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Would keeping a file for each artist maybe start to take up a bit of space? Especially with larger libraries.
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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Saving an image for each artist in the library would take up some space, but no more than is already taken up by having album art. After all, you most likely have a much greater number of albums in your library than artists, since each artist will generally have a few albums each.

I have 325 artists in my library, so if each image was on average 100kb, that would be 325 x 100 = 32,500kb, or 32 and a half megs. By comparison, iTunes's album art database on my computer is 233 megs. It is not that much space to sacrifice, and I think it is worth it because of the benefits of speed you get from having the images stored locally.
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Simon

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Hi all,

Still working on this - and nearly there... Just finishing up a (temporary?) playback queue and doing some testing to make sure that the extension has a fighting chance of running on other peoples PCs!

I'll release a beta version a.s.a.p. and soon!
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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Awesome! I can't wait to see what it actually looks like.
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Laura Thomas

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AN-TIC-I-P-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-TION! :0)
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Can this be added to the Bird Bath when released, Laura?
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Laura Thomas

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You know it!!
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GeekShadow, Champion

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Sweet !
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Simon

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I have posted the first (alpha) release for the 'searcher' (working title) add-on:

http://addons.songbirdnest.com/addons...

I do need feedback, especially on query performance. You can post there or email me at songbird.searcher@gmail.com

There is still a lot to do on the working of the URL bar and the the layout and working of the results panel but the core querying functionality is pretty much done (although I would expect some performance tweaking).

There would be an enormous amount to do to bring my (interim) playback mechanism up to scratch, so I will try to get to a feed to the NowPlaying add-on working while I work on my new playback mechanism "in due course'.
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Steven

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:-( Any hints on if its not working for me? Dependencies or the like. I can't even get the "Do Hello World" button to work, if that means anything to you. Windows 7, all other add-ons disabled.

Version: Songbird 1.2.0, Build 1146 (20090616030043)
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alfred

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It doesn't work for me on OpenSolaris + Songbird 1.2.0 either. Maybe I should find a Linux box to try again.
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Fr-zeb59

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Mega thanks, it'a an innovant addon !
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ethanjim

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It removes the "Songbird" text from the task bar icon when it's used

Songbird 1.3.0b1 on Windows XP
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Laura Thomas

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w00t!!!
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Jan Kuča

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Hi, I just downloaded your addon and it's not compatible with the new Songbird 1.4.3. Do you think you could make it work with 1.4.3? Thanks in advance.
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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I realized that you have to hit enter after typing text into the bar to return results. If it is ever possible, I think it should constantly update the results as you type, just like the awesome bar shows results without you having to hit enter first. Probably now it would just slow things down too much for it to be worth it.

It is so exciting to finally try it! What version of Songbird do you recommend for testing it, Simon: 1.2, 1.3 beta, or a nightly? In 1.2, nothing seems to happen when I run a search. In the 1.3 beta, sometimes a search goes quickly, but sometimes nothing seems to happen and the program can even freeze. The album art looks very nice, and it is sooo cool that you got artist art working! Sometimes (usually when there are a lot of results) the results can look a little wonky:


And I can't seem to navigate the results using the arrow keys unless I click on the result list in the first place. It is very impressive though to feel how easy it is to find a song and play it using the awesome bar. I will keep testing and see what more I can discover about the add-on. Thank you for developing it, Simon. This is a great start for the add-on.
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Wyatt710

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I think you it should do one of two things to make it easy to understand what your seeing

1. You separate it into two sections when it is on the library tab it shows music history and when on a new tab show web history and bookmarks

2. You have it seperatable like + makes it music - makes it web history
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Simon

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I suggest version 1.3+ for testing, as that is the Songbird future! For info: I am developing on Windows XP sp3; I haven't tested on other o/s and, although I've tried to be platform independent, I am sure I will have missed some things. Let me know and I'll try to fix them.

Steven: I've just found an issue, which I am coding for the next version , when preferences are missing/not set for Music Management/Watch Folders etc. - you could try setting directories for these and/or disabling searcher looking in such locations. Otherwise try to disable all options in searcher and try again...

ethanjim: Thanks, that's surprising and not happening here, I'll look into it. Are you running on windows?

Murphy: Thanks, I'm aware of the results looking wonky, that's one of the many things I'll be fixing in the layout. (I haven't seriously considered arrow keys/scrolling etc. on the layout yet).

I'm more concerned about intermittent freezing +failure of some queries. Can you identify any common characteristic(s) on the problem queries? I suspect there is something which I need to code for which does not arise in my library. Any error messages? Does changing any of the searcher options help or give a different result?

Wyatt: I'l be adding music search history later.I think music search history will be separate from web history and have different options associated with it The URL bar icons should already be different for music library (=Songbird notes, or my colored jigsaw piece) and web (=blank page or favicon).

For info: the drop-down arrow under the 'send to queue' button changes the send to queue button between 'queue first', 'queue next', 'queue last','replace queue with' etc.
Is this useful, or over the top?
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zephyrstudios

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Hrmm, I'm sad to see that the current searcher plugin doesn't work with the latest songbird release, I hope to see some more advancement in the development of the Awesome Bar.
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Simon

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Do you find it useful, with its current 'queue'?

I do intend to update it but think that until it has a decent mechanism for queuing and playing back the query results, then it isn't much use. What do you think?

Simon
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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I recently made a music player mockup and wanted its search function to have a drop down list of results like this. Fortunately, I had put so much thought into this topic before that I already had lots of ideas for how it would work. I wanted to share some of the different ideas here.

First, I made the search box about the same size as the current one in Songbird, which means I had to make the drop down list much thinner. Since Songbird has been shifting focus away from the web browsing aspect of the program, I thought utilizing the existing search box instead of an awesome-bar might be more practical now.

Second, I tried to use icons to differentiate the types of results instead of typography, and I think it works pretty well. Songs utilize album art and an eighth note icon, albums utilize album art and a CD icon, and artists just have a person icon.

This is it (I am linking to the mockup on flickr in case anyone has specific comments for it):
Music player v4 with search
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touringlonewulf

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I understand the point why moving back to the search bar,
But i still don't like it.
In firefox I'm not using the searchfield at all...
Everything is just typed in browser address bar.
But please keep working on it!!!
imho it is more important TO HAVE this feature, not where it sit's.
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Drybones5

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@touringonewolf

I understand what you mean, I eliminated my search area in Firefox completely.

BUT I use Songbird's search all the time when looking for a song or artist.

So I think this idea is moving in the right direction, and looks very nice looking if I might add.
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brudaswen

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Just as a short remark. Since the URL Bar in Songbird is gone by default, I like your idea of using the Search Bar as an Awesome Library Bar.

Additionally I have some idea: I am using Opera Mobile, which also has an URL Bar and a Search Bar. Normally the URL Bar takes about 80 % of the space and the Search Bar gets 20 %. But what I really like is, that whenever you start using the Search Bar, the proportions change, so that one can concentrate on Searching something.

I think this can also be an option for the search functionality in Songbird.
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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One thing to note about that idea though is that since it is a mobile program, it has little screen real estate to work with and probably expands the search bar to give you a more reasonable amount of space, right? I usually never have to type more than a few letters into the search field to find the right result in songbird, yet it can already hold about 17 characters or so.
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Simon

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I'm looking at the 'awesome bar' code again now - so let's have you comments and suggestions!

I am particularly concerned about the playback mechanism - I've no idea how people want that to work after they have made a query and selected some result to play.
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Tyler Murphy, Champion

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I think this is the dilemma: if the user searches for a song and hits "enter" on the result, does it just play the song, or does it play the song and then continue playing that album or artist afterward, or should it continue playing through the entire library afterward.

I think that I would usually want to play the song within the context of the album. I usually find a song and continue listening to the album from that point, probably because that is what happens when you would play a song from a record or CD. Artists usually make albums to have a flow to them, so I think that this option is safer than having it play the song in the context of the library, for example, where it would eventually start playing through different albums or artists you have based on alphabetical order.

If some people would prefer that though, maybe there could be preferences for the extension where so they can select the context that select results will play in.
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Drybones5

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Its always best to gives options to the users to change how it acts
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sabret00the

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The awesome bar should act like the Winamp, jump-to dialog. It jumps to the track or enables you to enqueue the track/move after current. But it should always return to the playlist/album you were playing prior.