PDA

View Full Version : Confused about RandomPlay



max.spicer
2005-09-06, 05:22
Before I start, please don't read this the wrong way. I'm not complaining about anything, just puzzled! It could well be that the plugin just isn't for me, but I'd like to give it a fair chance first.

What's all the shouting for about the RandomPlay plugin? What does it give me that I didn't have before? As far as I can tell, it gives me a way of playing ten tracks at random, and that's it. I can't add another ten tracks until the first ten have finished playing. How is this better than the current random functionality? Granted, without RandomPlay I can only have _all_ tracks/albums on random, but there's nothing to stop me pressing stop when I'm sated. Why would I want only ten? I understand that RandomPlay was really only written to provide an alarm clock functionality, so what is the advantage when you use it on its own? One advantage that I can think of is that it exposes RandomPlay functionality in a more obvious way than the current "select random and add tracks method" (but see my 2nd paragraph), but wouldn't it be better just to add a more obvious path to do this into the ui (i.e. add some menu items that automate the task)? I thought that this is what RandomPlay would do, but it seems not.

A more general issue that's been bugging me for a while is how plugins are integrated into the main SlimServer distribution and released with it. Surely, once a feature is deemed good enough to become part of the core distribution it should cease to be a plugin, or at least its plugin nature should be hidden from the user. If RandomPlay is a good feature that is included as standard, why should the user have to know to look for it under Plugins? This part of the interface seems completely counter-intuitive to me. Plugins should be things that the user added themselves. Anything else should be properly integrated. Please take this paragraph as an invitation for discussion, not as a winge!

Max

Robin Bowes
2005-09-06, 06:02
max.spicer wrote:
> Before I start, please don't read this the wrong way. I'm not
> complaining about anything, just puzzled! It could well be that the
> plugin just isn't for me, but I'd like to give it a fair chance first.
>
> What's all the shouting for about the RandomPlay plugin? What does it
> give me that I didn't have before? As far as I can tell, it gives me a
> way of playing ten tracks at random, and that's it. I can't add another
> ten tracks until the first ten have finished playing. How is this
> better than the current random functionality?

Max,

What it's supposed to do is select 10 random tracks then, when the first
finishes playing, add another random track to the end of the playlist.
So, you will always have 10 tracks in the playlist with new random
tracks being added to the end as the ones at the top finish playing.

R.

--
http://robinbowes.com

If a man speaks in a forest,
and his wife's not there,
is he still wrong?

mherger
2005-09-06, 06:05
> What's all the shouting for about the RandomPlay plugin?

It's great :-)

> What does it give me that I didn't have before?

Quick access to a random selection of songs. Shuffle the whole
collection would often block the server.

> As far as I can tell, it gives me a
> way of playing ten tracks at random, and that's it. I can't add
> another
> ten tracks until the first ten have finished playing.

Of course you do! I think this behaviour is configurable. But normally
it will remove a song once it has been played and add another one at
the playlist's end. It therefore will play forever.

> How is this
> better than the current random functionality?

It's much faster.

> A more general issue that's been bugging me for a while is how
> plugins
> are integrated into the main SlimServer distribution and released
> with
> it. Surely, once a feature is deemed good enough to become part of
> the
> core distribution it should cease to be a plugin, or at least its
> plugin nature should be hidden from the user.

Nope. Plugins add functionality that everybody doesn't need. Disable it
and gain some free memory, remove complexity and possible source of
problems. I never had any issue with iTunes or MusicMagic integration.
They can be as buggy as they wont to be, I don't (have to) care -
because I don't use those plugins ;-).

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
SlimString Translation Helper (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

kdf
2005-09-06, 08:49
On 6-Sep-05, at 5:22 AM, max.spicer wrote:
>
> A more general issue that's been bugging me for a while is how plugins
> are integrated into the main SlimServer distribution and released with
> it. Surely, once a feature is deemed good enough to become part of the
> core distribution it should cease to be a plugin, or at least its
> plugin
> nature should be hidden from the user. If RandomPlay is a good feature
> that is included as standard, why should the user have to know to look
> for it under Plugins? This part of the interface seems completely
> counter-intuitive to me. Plugins should be things that the user added
> themselves. Anything else should be properly integrated. Please take
> this paragraph as an invitation for discussion, not as a winge!
>
as the number of included plugins get larger, I tend to agree with you.
However, the Plugins api is so easy to write and test with that its
just sometimes simpler to create a new framework from there. also,
these could be features that some users may want to completely disable
in favour of squeaking out every last bit of performance or memory
footprint. Plugins are design to allow a partial or complete shutdown
of the feature. Any other method for this would require little bits of
code appearing throughout the server. Plugins are nicely
self-contained.

-kdf

max.spicer
2005-09-06, 11:49
Ah, that makes more sense. It's not at all obvious that this is what's going on though as it's contrary to how the SqueezeBox always works: Now Playing shows the current playlist; if it's not there, it doesn't get played. I think some ui is needed here to make things more obvious. Maybe a pseudo-entry at the end of the list saying something along the lines of "more coming"?

It does seem as if this plugin is being used as a sticking plaster for the slow shuffle behaviour, though. If shuffling wasn't slow, would the plugin be needed? It seems odd to diverge on the user-interface just to solve a problem with another bit of it.

Max


> What's all the shouting for about the RandomPlay plugin?

It's great :-)

> What does it give me that I didn't have before?

Quick access to a random selection of songs. Shuffle the whole
collection would often block the server.

> As far as I can tell, it gives me a
> way of playing ten tracks at random, and that's it. I can't add
> another
> ten tracks until the first ten have finished playing.

Of course you do! I think this behaviour is configurable. But normally
it will remove a song once it has been played and add another one at
the playlist's end. It therefore will play forever.

> How is this
> better than the current random functionality?

It's much faster.

> A more general issue that's been bugging me for a while is how
> plugins
> are integrated into the main SlimServer distribution and released
> with
> it. Surely, once a feature is deemed good enough to become part of
> the
> core distribution it should cease to be a plugin, or at least its
> plugin nature should be hidden from the user.

Nope. Plugins add functionality that everybody doesn't need. Disable it
and gain some free memory, remove complexity and possible source of
problems. I never had any issue with iTunes or MusicMagic integration.
They can be as buggy as they wont to be, I don't (have to) care -
because I don't use those plugins ;-).

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
SlimString Translation Helper (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

max.spicer
2005-09-06, 11:51
This is all on technicalities that the user shouldn't have to care about. If someone has an ipod, how impressed would they be to hear that the reason the thing they are looking for is buried somewhere is because of a technical detail that lies under the ipod's hood? As a techy person, I appreciate this and can put up with it. However, my mum would just get confused. The target audience really should be my mum!

Max


On 6-Sep-05, at 5:22 AM, max.spicer wrote:
>
> A more general issue that's been bugging me for a while is how plugins
> are integrated into the main SlimServer distribution and released with
> it. Surely, once a feature is deemed good enough to become part of the
> core distribution it should cease to be a plugin, or at least its
> plugin
> nature should be hidden from the user. If RandomPlay is a good feature
> that is included as standard, why should the user have to know to look
> for it under Plugins? This part of the interface seems completely
> counter-intuitive to me. Plugins should be things that the user added
> themselves. Anything else should be properly integrated. Please take
> this paragraph as an invitation for discussion, not as a winge!
>
as the number of included plugins get larger, I tend to agree with you.
However, the Plugins api is so easy to write and test with that its
just sometimes simpler to create a new framework from there. also,
these could be features that some users may want to completely disable
in favour of squeaking out every last bit of performance or memory
footprint. Plugins are design to allow a partial or complete shutdown
of the feature. Any other method for this would require little bits of
code appearing throughout the server. Plugins are nicely
self-contained.

-kdf

kdf
2005-09-06, 11:58
Quoting "max.spicer" <max.spicer.1uyaxn (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> This is all on technicalities that the user shouldn't have to care
> about.
sorry for answering your question.
-k

max.spicer
2005-09-06, 14:02
Sorry, I didn't mean to disagree. I was kind of agreeing but at the same time trying to make a point about the ui problem.

Max


Quoting "max.spicer" <max.spicer.1uyaxn (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> This is all on technicalities that the user shouldn't have to care
> about.
sorry for answering your question.
-k

kdf
2005-09-06, 14:19
Quoting "max.spicer" <max.spicer.1uygyd (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> Sorry, I didn't mean to disagree. I was kind of agreeing but at the
> same time trying to make a point about the ui problem.

I know. I am just at the point where I feel this has all been said before, and
I regret getting into it again. It seems to me that every new feature or change
made in order to grant one request is then met with at least one other asking
why this had to be done and exlaining why it shoule have been done a different
way.

If I state my opinion, I get called names. Or worse, get my nasty private
messages in my inbox. I meant to provide back story only in answer to your
confusion, not to be taking part in a discussion that I have already had.
Honestly, I can't be part of them and still feel any motivation to write code
any more. I'm probably just too stubborn to simply walk away :)

-k

max.spicer
2005-09-06, 14:41
My main hope was to try and get some thoughts from SlimDevices. I'm interested to hear about their thoughts on the whole interface issue. I hadn't realised that this was a such "done before" issue, so apologies for opening it up again. If anyone could point me to some relevant threads, I'd be grateful. I'll have time to do some proper searching tomorrow.

Max


Quoting "max.spicer" <max.spicer.1uygyd (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>:

>
> Sorry, I didn't mean to disagree. I was kind of agreeing but at the
> same time trying to make a point about the ui problem.

I know. I am just at the point where I feel this has all been said before, and
I regret getting into it again. It seems to me that every new feature or change
made in order to grant one request is then met with at least one other asking
why this had to be done and exlaining why it shoule have been done a different
way.

If I state my opinion, I get called names. Or worse, get my nasty private
messages in my inbox. I meant to provide back story only in answer to your
confusion, not to be taking part in a discussion that I have already had.
Honestly, I can't be part of them and still feel any motivation to write code
any more. I'm probably just too stubborn to simply walk away :)

-k