06 Jun 2005

notes about my widget

interesting things i found out about my widget:

i'm listed on apple's page. apparently it was added to apple's download page without me actually knowing. i've now submitted an official request to get it listed with version 2.0 of my widget. woulda been nice to know that apple had it listed.

people on dashboardwidgets.com keep on talking about "oh the one in konfabulator did this/that", so i went and had a look what the hell they're talking about. they seem to be referring to itunes companion, which looks like an excellent widget, but for konfabulator.

honestly, i hadn't seen or heard of this widget or any of it's features before i started writing mine. i started mine to scratch a programming itch. and so it seems its functionality is nearly the same. i can assure you that i'm not trying to copy it or anything. the author has probably got exactly the same goals as i do, god knows why he hadn't ported his to dashboard?

i did also think about making my widget look like a normal cd jewel case, but i decided against it given that (1) i'm not artistically talented and (2) real life objects in dashboard look odd and out of place.

i don't have konfabulator, so i can't try the widget out. but from the looks on the screenshot, it is much more mature than mine. it even has a feature to add the album art to the song if it fetches it from amazon. that is going to be in the next release of my widget, but nice to see that we're thinking along the same lines.

thirdly, the itunes interface is quite cryptic, even from applescript. for instance, i can't find a way to determine type of track is playing. there are normal file tracks, shared tracks (shared music on someone else's itunes), device track (ipod), radio tracks, url tracks, etc. each of them have a different way to encode various bits of data, which is pretty annoying.

there's still a lot of work before i can say that my widget is complete. i've still got some ideas for crawling for artwork. but as apple says, you should keep your widget as simple as possible and perform one single function. so my widget breaks this a little because i do both displaying album art and song ratings, but i still want to keep with their philosophy. so just expect this widget to become more refined in displaying album art and rating songs, and not making it into a pseudo mini itunes interface.

if you want a quick itunes interface, try synergy. i'm a happy user and it does it's job great (and also very cheap!) a very simple app that controls itunes and displays itunes status changes. in fact, synergy is so good that i only do my widget because of curosity and because i can use it to rate my songs. synergy has also has the ability to manipulate ratings, but because of its interaction with growl, i don't use that function much. if you use synergy with growl turned on, and you'll know what i mean.

You can reply to me about this on Twitter: