[mythtv] Proposed Change to MythMusic

Justin Hornsby justin.hornsby at gmail.com
Wed Jul 11 08:07:48 UTC 2007

It's not even as if you *can* use a mouse with mythmusic yet - none of
those buttons do anything when clicked.

The one thing I think everybody agrees with is that mythmusic needs to
be improved.  The thing is, I've yet to see any positive input on
precisely how to improve it.  There's little use saying "oh it needs
to be more like X with a bit of Y" since not everybody is familiar
with X or Y.

What we really need are mockups, functional descriptions & the like.
Anything a developer can really work towards.

As far as I know there aren't too many existing apps which make it
easy to deal with large collections of music other than the now
ubiquitous albumart browser - but then those don't suit people whose
music collections aren't based entirely around albums.

Some have said Amarok is a good model for a music player but last time
I looked at that it didn't seem at all viable for mythtv - it relies
on small fonts & cramming a lot of information on screen, and it's
hardly very remote friendly.  That part is very easy to forget.

XBMC, on the face of it, seems 'cooler' but I can't see how it makes
dealing with large collections any easier - plus its 'transport
buttons' popup seems antiquated & cumbersome - not to mention it
duplicates buttons on a remote.

AppleTV, Ipod et al - they sure look spiffy but I've yet to speak to
anybody who can describe how they operate in detail - I've certainly
not experienced them for long enough to make a subjective study.

If we had $1 for everybody who said mythmusic could bear improvement
we'd have been able to pay a professional to write a whole new music
plugin already.  What's needed is more constructive input & much more
detailed suggestions for a solution to the problem.

Have a think about it - how would you change the way we choose tracks
out of thousands in our collection?

Let's see less of 'mythmusic could be better / mythmusic sucks' & get
some case studies down if you really want to help.  Out of the legion
of mythtv users there must be somebody who has had experience working
on such a thing somewhere at some point.  There's a real opportunity
here for people to contribute in a big way IMHO.

Ok, so say we do away with the music transport buttons & make viewing
them (on top of the UI, say) optional so that those with mice /
touchscreens can use them.  That'd be a start.  We'd still need a
button to make the controls visible/invisible - or maybe a 'kiosk
mode' where they'd always be visible.  That'd mean we can devote much
more screen space to the playlist & music tree.

An album art gallery view would be very handy, and as far as I know
that's 'on the to-do list'.
You could use that for genres, years.. any other classification too -
all in addition to the existing list / filtered list views.

The improvements to the display model needn't only apply to mythmusic
either - I've thought about it in the past & implimenting a new
'browser' might work well for recordings & videos too.  Let's face it
if we're going to get new UI classes why not let the rest of the
project benefit?

Anyway, I've got some ideas I'm going to get down in the form of
still-frame mockups.  It'll at least be a *start*, and maybe I can tie
still frames together in video form to give an overall impression of
how the new stuff will work in context.

None of this, by the way, will make any bearing on how to play music
in the background - but I think we can all agree that the methods we
use to pick music to be played need some attention.

Justin Hornsby
Creator of ProjectGrayhem, blootube and neon-wide themes for MythTV
email: justin(dot)hornsby(at)gmail.com
web: http://www.juski.co.uk

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