Suggestions for improving the Now Playing List

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As we can see with all the topics here, there are still a lot of issues to improve, so that songbird can be THE PLAYER (I strongly believe it's just a matter of time). One of them is the Now Playing List. I know there's an add-on, but I think it doesn't function as it should, not to mention it shouldn't be an add-on but be in the core.

Well, but here's a list of suggestions for the Now Playing List:
- The way I see it, every mp3 I start to play should immediately be added to the Now Playing List.
- I should also be able to right click a song and choose "Play Now" (starting immediately, no matter if there's another track being played), "Play Next" (scheduled to play after the current song) or "Play Last" (adds the song to the end of the current Now Playing List).
- These options should also be available directly from within the file directory: "Play Now on Songbird", "Play Next on Songbird" and "Play Last on Songbird".
- The Now Playing List should also keep track of the tracks I've already heard, not only the one I'm listening to or the ones who follow it. Currently, it eliminates the songs I've heard as it gets along.
- To finish this list, I think the tracks I chose for the Now Playing List in one songbird session should be there on the following. I mean that if I have to close songbird I would like to keep listening to my selection of tracks the next time I open it

These suggestions and others have been made in several topics by more users. In order to keep track of them I've made a selection:

"We should also be able to right click on a mp3 on our desktop and add to songbird's now playing list whether it is there default player or not and whether it is running or not. And when an mp3 is being played it is automatically added to the Now playing list. the now playing list should also automatically save, without having to create a new custom playlist."
Source: http://gsfn.us/t/k2i

"The second one is implementing a "Now Playing" list, without the use of an add-on... Adding items to a playlist and then playing that is not really the same... When you double-click a file in the library, it should be added to "Now Playing", and start to play. =)"
Source: http://gsfn.us/t/k2k

"The NOW PLAYING LIST MUST BE ROLLED INTO THE CORE. now i would suggest the now playing list to be an entirely different section where songbird would have 2 tabs, "now playing" and "library" like realplayer, where under this tab there would also be VISUALIZATIONS (a very important aspect) the now playing list should also be saved without having to create a new playlist and whenever we open a file from our default music directory it shouldn't be added to the library, i mean its very annoying. i have to end up deleting a bunch of broken video shortcuts when im done watching them. and of course "Add to songbirds now playing list" is a must have feature upon right click on a file."
Source: http://gsfn.us/t/k2u

"I also think that a Now Playing screen is a basic component of a media player. (I know there is an add-on for this, but that seems to be something that is essential without having to use plug-in)"
Source: http://gsfn.us/t/k2e

"the ́"now" playing add on must be an integrated feature coming with the core install."
Source: http://gsfn.us/t/k2j

Thanks for paying attention!
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Posted 7 years ago

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ashughes

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Please go the the addon.songbirdnest.com page for the addon and post your suggestions as a comment there.

As far as rolling it into the core, I can't make a decision on that. However, it is completely conceivable that it could be done. We have done that in the past if an addon provides a feature that we want in the core. Perhaps the most noticeable example would be the iTunes library importer. It once lived as an addon but now exists in the core.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Thanks for the help!

It's really nice to see someone reads and replies the topics.

I've posted my suggestions as you told me.
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Hi,

I have an idea, which might be close to this one, so I'll post it here.

The latest 0.7 version is very nice but it has some usability issues for me. Especially regarding playlists. Usually I have no idea from which playlist are songs currently playing. As I already posted in bugzilla, Songbird should scroll down to the currently played song and highlight it. But I would go a little further. First let's see my sketch:

Songbird sketch

As you can see, there's not much difference compared to how Songbird looks now. One small difference is to move the Albumart to the top left corner. Another thing is a playlist panel on the right side. On top there should be a dropdown box with playlists like default, browser results and any other user defined. If a song in the table below browser panels is doubleclicked, it will be added to the right playlist. Also if I doubleclick an album or artist in a browser panel, it should be added to playlist. The playlist should look like the one in Amarok 2.

Then since there are many UMPCs and MIDs computers on their way, I think we would need a different UI for these devices. There 2 big reasons: small display and touch navigation. So I would split the functionality into 3 tabs. My idea is this:





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ashughes

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What you are suggesting can be accomplished through a feather/addon; albeit a rather complex one.

This thread is more about improving functionality of the Now Playing List addon. I think what you want to do is a bit complex and outside of the scope of Now Playing List. However, I am not the addon author, so I can't say for sure.

I would recommend doing what you suggest in a new addon/feather.

Thanks for the suggestion.
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Well the section regarding support for small and touch screen devices is rather off-topic, you're right.

But the rest what I suggest is very similar to what has been already written:

1) The now playing list (it is what I call simply playlist) should be in the core. It is a basic functionality.

2) To the suggestions above I would also add a drop down menu to select from multiple playlists. it should contain a "default" playlist and a playlist which will be a copy of the current filter result. Also there should be an option on what to do on doubleclick:
  • a) send to default playlist

  • b) send to current selected playlist

The next options as already mentioned in previous post should be:
  • a) Add to top and start playing

  • b) Add after current and play next

  • c) Add to end


The idea of multiple active playlists comes from foobar2000. Once you get used on it, you can't live without it. AFAIK there is no other player which supports it.

3) For this to work properly, you need to be able to override the double click action on filters' results. Also currently there is no doubleclik action on the filters associated. I do believe this must be changed in the core.

If it is possible I would like to help with this. What knowledge do I need to create addons? I have some experiences with PHP-GTK and PyGTK in which I created some applications. But I'm not a really good programmer though.
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ashughes

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All great suggestions and apply directly to the Now Playing List addon. I recommend that you post your feedback to the comments feed for the addon on addons.songbirdnest.com
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Hear you , ashughes - just adding my chirp for integrating the list into the SB core.
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I've just noticed JeCh is offering himself to help, and no one has answered him. Can someone from the company help here?

As for leaving suggestions in the comments feed for the Now Playing List add-on, we've all been doing that, but unfortunately there hasn't been any answer in the last 3 months. Does this mean the add-on has been disregarded?
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Tommy

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In addition to finding a way for a double click to add a song to the Play Queue as others have recommended, I'd like to add that a keyboard shortcut for this kind of option would be wonderful. I much prefer to use the keyboard over the mouse when it is possible.
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I am surprised there is not a "now playing" display pane. There seems to be a now playing add-on, but it does not seem to be available for Songbird 1.0.
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, Champion

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Hello ruipenunes,
I'm finally getting round to you - I hope you get email-notified of comments!
Some things you said I really like and have implemented, some things you said I also like but haven't done yet, and some things just aren't possible.

I've done 'Play Next' and 'Play Last', except I've called them 'Queue Next' 'Queue Last' because the 'now playing' mode is different to the 'queue/custom' mode. For reasons on why I've designed the addon with two modes you can read this article that I wrote to explain this. I know it can be confusing to people coming from other media players. If you don't like this, then I'm sorry but this is the way it has to be for now.

I also wanted to add hotkeys to these commands but for some reason the code didn't work....

For 'Play Now' you can just double-click the track. I know you and lots of others said that double-clicking should add the track to the queue instead of just playing it but this would be a huge departure from the expected behaviour. I'm not sure what the behaviour in Winamp is though, but this idea could theoretically be done, it's just not a priority. I'll most likely implement it as an option later on.

I think that the addon already saves the contents of the playlist across sessions. By 'save' I mean not delete. Are you referring to the 'now playing' mode or the custom/queue mode? Because the 'now playing' mode will by definition start empty as Songbird starts with nothing playing.

A lot of the other suggestions such as changing the interface of Songbird are outside the scope of the extension.

I think it is also important to keep in mind that Songbird is primarily used to gather and organise music libraries. It is not a stand-alone player like Real Player (correct me if I'm wrong). What I mean by this is that you would never see a 'Songbird Player' embedded in a webpage for instance. Does this make sense?

Cheers!
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Hi moshy,

thanks for your update and reply. I'll try to clear up some things:

"A lot of the other suggestions such as changing the interface of Songbird are outside the scope of the extension." - I've started to create the interface I suggested as an addon myself. I posted it here to show how I would like Songbird look like and behave.

"I know you and lots of others said that double-clicking should add the track to the queue instead of just playing it but this would be a huge departure from the expected behaviour. I'm not sure what the behaviour in Winamp is though" - In Winamp the default behavior is to clear playlist and start playing the song you double clicked. Most people I know don't like it and change it to queue the double clicked song as last. So Winamp has an option for this.
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@JeCh
Re Winamp: The best I've got as of now is right-click > Queue Last for that, which does the same thing.
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@moshy

Yes, I understood this from your previous post. But please consider to associate this with doubleclick (of course optionally) in a future version. There's nothing worse then deleting a queue you've create with an accidental doubleclick. :-)
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@JeCh, i think it will be a lot better an undo comand, in the case you ruin your playlist, undo and keep going
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Hello Moshy!

Thanks for paying attention to the suggestions made. I think the new version is a step forward, although there's still a lot to get better, as the add-on is yet a little buggy.

Anyway, I've been testing it, but only now did I have the time to post here.

I found a significant number of bugs. Which leads me to think that somehow one should make a reflection on why is this add-on needed and what it should exactly do.

In my opinion it should simply keep track of what was played, what's playing and what will be played, and of course give the user the chance to add new songs and change the order they're supposed to play.

Let me try to describe the behaviour I'm thinking:

- Situation 1 - I open SB. Double click a song in the library or in a playlist. It starts playing. In this situation there should be a Now Playing option that basically would show the double clicked song and the ones who follow it in the library or playlist.

- Situation 2 - I double click another song in the library or playlist. The same thing happens, clearing the previous selection. However if I do this from within the Now Playing list I'm simply skipping the song that was being played and playing a new one.

- Situation 3 - I find a new song in the library or playlist that I want to listen to. I right click it and choose "Queue Now". By doing this I'm adding this song to the previously chosen selection, interrupting the song that was playing and starting this new one.

- Situation 4 - I find a new song in the library or playlist that I want to listen to. I right click it and choose "Queue Next". Once again I'm adding this new song to the selection, although this time it doesn't interrupt playback. It will only start once the current song ends.

- Situation 5 - I find a new song in the library or playlist that I want to listen to. I right click it and choose "Queue Last". This way I'm adding the chosen song to the end of the previous selection.

- Situation 6 - I'm checking the Now Playing list. I decide to change the playback order. I have the possibility to drag songs up or down and then drop them in their new position. This should be a possibility in every SB playlist, but not in the library.

- Situation 7 - I'm checking the Now Playing list. Just like it presently happens, I can reorder the tracks in the list by album, track title... However when I do this, I'm not reordering the entire library or playlists.

- Situation 8 - I close songbird, putting a stop to my selection. I open it again. The selection I had made is still there, so I can keep listening to it.

This is in a very simplistic way, how I think this add-on should behave. I'm probably forgetting something. If that's the case, I'm sorry.

Anyway, having this into consideration, here are some (re)suggestions:
- It should be possible to queue songs from playlists. Right now one can only do it from within the library.
- As I've said in my original post, I think the Play Queue should keep track of the tracks I've already heard, not only the one I'm listening to or the ones who follow it. Right now it still eliminates the songs as they get to be played.
- I think there should be an icon to represent Play Queue in the tree. It would look a whole lot better as it would integrate better with the SB design.
- Once again, as I said in my original post, I think that when I close songbird, putting a stop to my selection, I expect it to remember that selection the next time I open it. This still doesn't happen.
- The usual behaviour when double clicking a song is to eliminate the previously chosen selection to start a new one. This means, as someone said, that in order to prevent this behaviour, the user should be able to decide what a double click does or, at least, have the chance to undo the double click who ruined the selection made.
- If you think double clicking should behave as I've said before, then there should be a "Queue Now" option, that basically would interrupt playback, starting to play the new song without eliminating the selection made.

This is it. I hope this post, can be of some help to discuss what this add-on and Songbird should do on this matter.

Keep up the work.
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, Champion

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I like these ideas, unfortunately it is impossible to get the songs to appear in the order they are going to play in when shuffle is on. This means that I can't do a lot of what you suggest.
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Hi Moshy!

I already saw (down here) that you're planning to implement some of the things I and other have suggested. That's great. I believe that step by step we'll get there. In the end, if it's still not possible to have what everyone's suggesting, then we'll see...
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I already saw (down here) that you're planning to implement some of the things I and other have suggested. That's great. I believe that step by step we'll get there. In the end, if it's still not possible to have what everyone's suggesting, then we'll see... What about talking with the SB team for some help? Maybe they can find a way.
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The other post was way too big, so here's another one to list some problems I recently found in the add-on:

1. I can't access "Play Queue" by clicking on it in the tree. It seems the link is off. The only way I found to check on Play Queue was clicking on the song being played on the player. However, there are situations in which even this solution doesn't function. For instance, if I interrupt a selection by double clicking a song. On this situation, the selection remains, but there's no way I can access Play Queue.

2. In more than one situation, I found out that SB was scrobbling the wrong song to Last.fm . SB was telling me the song being played was X, but last.fm said it was Y. From what I could see, this happens when songs are being played in my chosen order, which is different from the one showed in Play Queue.

3. The playback is irregular. Once a song ends it takes a lot of time until the next one stops.

4. If I, for some reason, stop playback, it eliminates the selection made. This is really annoying.

5. When I double click on a song without previously having queued any other, then this song isn't added to Play Queue.

6. The way I see it, the Play Queue should reflect the order selected. If I tell SB to play song A first and song B after, then this is what I should see if I go to Play Queue. This doesn't happen currently, although the songs are indeed played in the chosen order.

I found more problems, however explaining them here would be quiet complicated. If they persist, maybe I can point them in some other occasion.

Thanks!
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nicbot

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How has this earned "The company implemented this idea."?? By an addon that has not been updated to work with the current version as of yet? I don't see any built in implementation of this 'idea'. Please advise or mark this thread 'outdated' if it is.

Although I love the addon capability of Songbird and will continue to, I am slowly starting to feel that Songbird is going to become a victim of it's own design.

Main issue; If an integral feature of a media player (ie- Now Playing window) is only available by an addon, then the end user is bound to that authors ability to update his addon promptly with every major release. This gets compounded with each addon the user chooses to incorporate in their setup.

I realize that Songbird is still young, but I feel this needs some review.

This specific feature should NOT be an addon and should be included in the core build.

Just my thoughts.
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Dustin Paluch, Champion

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Excellent points. I agree that it should be rolled into the core.
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doesnt mean "the company implemented this idea" that the company will be rolling this into the core?
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i thik an undo function is vital with the now playing(imagine that you have almost done with doing your now playing list and double click a song and then the last song you double clicked is the only one in your list. its frustrating.
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kaalakiota

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Just make it work exactly like the now playing list in WMP11. It would need to be integrated into the core though, since songbird can currently play from library or from the list. These need to be the same thing.
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forget wmp11, it is "crap", this idea is a whole new level above wmp11
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kaalakiota

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Yeah WMP11 may not be the best player ever but I think it got the now playing list functionality just right. It's like songbird's, but songs are not deleted from the list. Double clicking an album automatically loads that album into the list and starts playing it, but it's editable (unlike songbird playing from library). With songbird extension how it is now, you either have to start using the playlist, and manually drag whole albums in, OR you can play from library but have no control.
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nicbot

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Let's get real here. other media player besides Songbird has gotten the now playing list functionality just right. Come on SB please put this in the core ASAP!!
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kaalakiota

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Except iTunes, which doesn't have it at all for some reason I've never been able to work out.
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Dustin Paluch, Champion

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ITunes has Party Shuffle. It's not exactly the same, but you can right click on a song and add it to the list.
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Just a word to say how i'm disapointed by the absence of the Now Playing List feature. Like many other, i don't even understand why it's not integrated in the core since the very first version.
I don't see see how to use SB without it. It seems obvious to me that in most cases, we just want a temporary playlist, created with the mood of the moment...
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qways, Champion

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moshy gave a helpful exlanation why it is so complicated
here_

http://nowplayinglist.mozdev.org/drup...

anyway songbird even without songbird is ACME
_I'll be waiting_for the new update
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kaalakiota

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There are quite a few more examples of things which you would have thought should really be part of the core player rather than requiring the user to go seek them out, since most people won't. Even with the suggested addons it seems a bit strange that they're not just part of songbird (such as ipod support)
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iPod support certainly shouldn't be in the core of Songbird. In the core should only be the feature that mjority of users will use or the features which simply can't be addons.

I certainly wouldn't want iPod support in core. I don't own an iPod and I never will. And I believe most Songbird users are like me. If you're looking for an open player, you're certainly not a big fan of proprietary solution (such as Apple's products).

But what most users want and what they certainly will use is a now playing list with the ability to quickly create temporal playlists and with the ability to queue tracks. This should be in the core.
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nicbot

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I agree, but I think the reasoning behind the included iPod support is because they are trying to position themselves as an iTunes killer/alternative. And in order to capture these users they need to have out of box iPod support.

Note the obvious out of box iTunes look and feel...yuck!

Songbird is having a bit of an identity crisis IMHO.
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, Champion

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Because this is a third-party add-on, and not part of the core, it will always feel and behave in an unintegrated manner. The best I can do is try and make improvements where it is actually possible.
The next version is going to have some more options:



I think there are more requested still ...
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@moshy
Thanks for the update. I'm looking forward to see your plugin updated and working with 1.0. Have you ever talked with the developers regarding integrating your addon into the core? As you can it is very often requested here.

The idea to modify the current or create a new playlist is a very good one. Maybe a dropdown switcher for the playlists as I already suggested would be nice.

One comment for your screenshot: The options "Remove it from the queue" and "Scroll the list to the next track" should be able to work at the same time. Imagine you made a list which you want to play randomly. After playing a song you want to remove it and you also want the list to scroll to the next track. So please make checkboxes for these options instead of radio buttons.

One more thing. Let me insert here Winamp screenshot with a short description of it's behavior:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I think this is what most people (including me) are looking for.