Bangarang – a media player

December 7, 2011

Happy hacking pops out a 2.1 holiday cake

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — jamboarder @ 2:19 pm

There’s nothing like doing what you enjoy for no other reason than for the sheer joy of it.  Even better, when such joy produces something you can experience. Bangarang 2.1 is now released.

I really enjoy creating stuff.  Occasionally, if I’m at all like other folks (debatable, I know), I look at the stuff of other people’s passions (music, paintings, architecture, whatever) and say man I wish I could do something like that.  I often find myself wishing for the passion of others while ignoring my own passions, my own motivations.  Working on Bangarang is one of my own avenues of creative expression. I do it with joy.  I’ve learned that, much like others who explore their own avenues of creative expression, I’m most creative when I choose not to do it from a place of anxiety or obligation to the work.  It sounds stupidly simple but I have the most fun when I’m actually having fun.  Fun breeds fun. Joy breeds joy.  And it is not just ok, but better, to take breaks when the fun diminishes.  That is the luxury of a hobby instead of a job. I do it for fun and I can take breaks whenever I want to.  And the fun does diminish.  It is the nature of living.  We can’t go about prancing around like we’re blissfully happy and eternally creative all the time.  We’re not.  And that’s ok, because it allows us to appreciate those joyful times all the more.

And the Bangarang 2.1 release paired with the holiday season is one of those times for me.  Happy holidays!

(Release notes are here).

November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving turkey, it’s probably time…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 1:27 pm

Mmmm, after the jerk-flavored roasted turkey for Thanksgiving dinner (with an amazing Paula Dean corn casserole) I got some excellent coding mojo. That is, of course, after the tryptophan wore off. Then I realized that it has been over 6 months since the last bug fix release and it kinda seemed like it was about time to get these fixes I’ve worked on over the last few months more widely distributed.  So I tagged Bangarang 2.1 beta last night.

There was once a 2.1 target features list, but as I’ve realized over the last few months, with just myself as the main developer, it just makes sense to work on whatever motivates me, when I’m motivated to work on it.  I’ll do target features and and more fixed release schedules if the number of contributors grow. Fun is my biggest motivation and it’s gotten quite a bit done thus far.  And yes, I do enjoy knocking out bugs as much as I enjoy adding features. :-)

I think there were enough new features to warrant the bump to 2.1 instead of another 2.0 bugfix release.  Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed these last few months of development and if anyone wants to join in on the fun, holler! Till then please help me test and report any issues you encounter.

January 30, 2011

Bangarang 2.0 Released

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 6:47 pm

I’m happy to announce the release of Bangarang 2.0.

After a year in development, we’ve have finally crossed the finish line.  There are many new features and  bugfixes since 1.0 including:

  • New Info View that provides helpful information about your media when you need it and integrated metadata editing and drilling.
  • Info fetchers to help lookup additional media information for Artists, Movies, TV Shows, Actors, etc.
  • Support for Audio and Video feeds
  • Organize and browse media using (nepomuk) tags.
  • Improved DVD support including support for subtitles, chapters, audio channels and angles.
  • Embedded and external subtitle support
  • Improved audio and video settings
  • Bookmarks support
  • Revamped Files and Folders support
  • MPRIS and system tray support
  • Shortcuts support
  • and more…

This has been a fun and enlightening development cycle. Bangarang, like other open source software, is the product of volunteer effort . Speaking for myself, I poured chunks of my heart and soul into this – more, sometimes, than I probably had to spare – but that’s half the fun! That’s the deal with life – you can’t take it with you in the end.  Besides, it has been wonderful having something into which I can direct my creative energies. :-)

Stefan Burnicki has been a great developer to work with and if he ever comes knocking on your door offering to help out with your project, feel free to let him in!  Andreas Marschke provided helpful support in the early 2.0 development cycle.  Elias Probst and Jérôme Artu have been the best testers and bug reporters ever and made a huge difference in what 2.0 might otherwise be without them. The translators have been great and several others have provided one-time patches and support. If you would like to participate positively in the next release see the project links at the bottom of the page.

Now, as excited as I may be about this release, I realize that some people may encounter bugs that we did not find during our test phase.  Please feel free to use the issue tracker to report these bugs. Packagers can find the released source tarball here.  This release can by downloaded from opendesktop.org.

I hope you enjoy this release!

Peace!

January 24, 2011

Bangarang 2.0 Release Candidate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 9:07 am

I’m happy to announce that the Bangarang 2.0 Release Candidate is now available.  It can be downloaded from opendesktop.org.  Packagers are welcome to get the source tarball from here.

We completed what I believe was a very successful and productive beta phase. I hope these efforts are reflected in this release candidate.  Do not doubt that you can contribute in a substantive and meaningful way to open source software projects by providing helpful, constructive bug reports.  Many bugs have been fixed and features implemented directly and solely as a result of the excellent issue reporting during this beta phase.  I’ll provide a full description of changes and improvements since 1.0 when the final 2.0 release is announced.

All strings are now frozen and folks who would like to translate Bangarang into your favorite language for the final 2.0 release are welcome to do so in the usual ways – merge requests or email – over the remainder of this week.

If there are no show-stoppers Bangarang 2.0 should be available by January 31, 2011.

Thanks to everyone who have provided so much support during this 2.0 development cycle.  We’re almost there!

December 14, 2010

Bangarang 2.0 beta

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 11:03 am

I’m happy to announce the first beta of Bangarang 2.0.  Below is a short list of the new features since 1.0:

  • New Info View sidebar that provides helpful information currently selected items:
    • Recently played, highest rated and frequently played
    • Info Fetching support for artists, movies, actors, directors, etc.
    • Integrated metadata editing.
  • Support for audio and video feeds
  • Revamped filesystem media list browsing
  • Nepomuk tag media list browsing
  • Media lists (including playlist) filter
  • MPRIS support
  • Bookmarks
  • Audio equalizer
  • Shortcuts support
  • Subtitles support
  • Improved DVD support
  • A diversity of new and exciting bugs… ;-)

Bangarang 2.0 beta can be downloaded from opendesktop.org.  Interested packagers can get the source tarball from here.

Bugs can be reported here.  Bugfixes patches/merge requests are VERY welcome!

If you would like to help – yes, I would really like your help – feel free to visit the project development home or the mailing list.

Thanks and much respect to fellow code wrangler Stefan and our stalwart bug reporters Elias and Jay.

Peace!!!

November 21, 2010

Bangarang – What the dilly yo?!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 11:56 pm

Yeah I’m old school like that! :-)

Anyway, it’s been a while since I last blogged about Bangarang development so I figured I should share a little (or long) insight into what to expect for the 2.0 release with a few screenshots to help explain.

Before anything else, I need to mention that Stefan has been totally kick-ass with just about everything he’s tackled. He is the only other longer term coding contributor to the project and there’s absolutely no way I could list all the stuff he’s worked on, but I’ll mention a few: Lot’s of work on DVD support including subtitles, angles and audio channel support; Excellent star rating renderer that’s used all through out Bangarang; Shortcuts support and configuration; Filter support on the media list and playlist views; Tons of bug fixing, improvements and cleanup.

The InfoView

A good deal of my time and efforts over the last few months have gone into the InfoView.  The InfoView is a sidebar showing information on the currently selected item(s).  The information in the InfoView varies depending on the selected media items.  I’ve already blogged about the Recently Played, Highest Rated and Frequently Played info boxes displayed in this view.

Most of the work on the InfoView since then has been focused on allowing easy, seamless interaction with displayed media information.  Let’s start with artwork:

Representative artwork for categories such as artist and genre are created based on the artwork of media items in the category.  Custom artwork can be set for artist and genre categories if for some reason the user would prefer to see say a picture of the artist or custom genre artwork.

The primary function of the InfoView is to display media info. A secondary function of the InfoView is to allow editing  media info.   This means that I did not want to distract from the primary function by using editing widgets to display information (which emphasizes interaction over information). I also didn’t want to switch from a “display mode” to an “editing mode” like in Bangarang 1.0 which exposed all the editing widgets for all fields at the same time which can be jarring.  I also wanted to add support for browsing directly from the InfoView by, for example, clicking on the artist name to see all songs by that artist, or by clicking on the genre. On top of all that I wanted to add support for multiple artists, composers, genres, actors, directors and (nepomuk) tags.  That’s a lot of functionality to stuff into a relatively small area, so it has taken some time to identify and implement a solution that is not overwhelming.  Some of this was all front end UI stuff, some of this required work on the deeper plumbing.  We’re finally approaching something I’m satisfied with:

The first image shows what the info view looks like normally – basically like a sheet of paper (very low interaction impulse).  When the user moves the mouse over the values for each field, more functionality is revealed as shown in the second image (basically increasing the interaction impulse). The user can directly edit the field by clicking on it, add a value to the field by clicking on the “+” (2nd & 3rd image above) or browse using the field value by clicking on the browse “>”icon. So in the example provided in the 2nd image, if the user wants to see other Rock songs it’s just a click away.

For music files that support ID3 and Vorbis comment tags, multiple artists, composers and genres will be updated along with the nepomuk datastore.

Info Fetchers

Since users can edit info in the InfoView, I wanted create a framework that would allow metadata editing to be a little easier. Info Fetchers do pretty much what the name says… fetch info.  Info Fetchers specify their required fields for each media type/category they handle and, when present, they’re exposed in the ui for user to add metadata with:

In the first image, after the user enters the url for an audio or video feed, the info icon is shown which, when clicked, offers a way for the user to fetch additional info. Fetched info (second image) is treated the same as information entered by the user.  If multiple matches are found the are presented for the user to choose as in the third image. So far Info Fetchers have been created for fetching feed info and dbpedia info on persons(artists, actors, directors) and movies.  More will be added over time.  More recently, I learned from Sebastian about the nepomuk web extractor plugin framework that Artem Serebriyskiy has worked on.  It should be possible to eventually write a Info Fetcher to use nepomuk web extractors to fetch media info.  Once again, the work Sebastian and friends and doing on nepomuk is great and this is my personal appeal  to the community to step up with whatever support you can provide (coding, documentation, whatever..). My intent is to prioritize Info Fetcher/web extractor plugin development for services that provide media related information in a philosophically libre sense.  (Frankly, these are the services worth my time and effort rather than ones that lock up publicly available information behind a proprietary/pay wall.)

Note though that Info Fetcher need not exclusively work with the web. An Info Fetcher has been written to look at file names to extract season and episode numbers for TV shows. In fact this was a long outstanding merge request by a contributor which was easily converted to an Info Fetcher.

Other stuff

All the work has not just been on the Info View though.  Files and folders have been overhauled to allow direct file system browsing from the traditional KDE Places:

File listings are progressively loaded with basic then full metadata so browsing is much, much faster than before.  If you’re quite happy with the way you’ve orgainized files in your file hierarchy, Bangrang will allow you to browse that hierarchy with the same ease as every thing else.  Additionally, as shown in the picture, whenever the user wants to they can index selected files or folders when they see fit, rather than being forced to (as in 1.0).

MPRIS support was kindly added by Ni Hui:

More recently additional ways to manage the Recently Played, Highest Rated, Frequently Played media lists were added:

There are several other changes here and there with just a few minor features left to implement for 2.0.

When’s 2.0 going to be released?

So Bangarang 1.0 was released in January of 2010.  When I started on 2.0 I imagined I’d be able to get it out in 6 to 8 months. However, the reality is that in order for me to work on Bangarang I need to maintain a balance with all the other aspects of my life in order to enjoy working on this, my hobby.  I’ve managed to find this balance in the last few months and that usually means hacking on Bangarang only on weekends.  And that’s fine with me, cuz I’m really enjoying this and I really want to release something to be proud of.  That said, I would like to release 2.0 soon.  Which is part of the reason I’m writing this post.  I’m happy to say that I hope to release the first beta in the next 2 to 3 weeks. If that still sounds far away, remember that’s 2 to 3 weekends – 2 to 3 hacking sessions for me. With all the new changes, unfortunately stability has gone down a bit so I’d like to spend some time doing a few rounds of bugfixing before the beta release.  As always, I welcome any help that anyone has the positive motivation provide.  There is a LOT of stuff I’m learning about as I do this, so there could be very simple things causing a crash that I’m simply uneducated about how to fix.  So don’t assume there’s nothing you can do to help. :-)

Thanks to all the translators who have provided contributions so far.  You’re AWESOME! String freeze should be around the first RC (I’ll be sure to provide lots of heads up).

Well that’s it.  Sorry for taking so long to provide an update.  For those who are still interested after all this time, the source repository is here and there is a project mailing list is available here.  Of course, you’re welcome to comment here.

Peace!

June 11, 2010

Upcoming noise, chaos and disorder

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 11:51 am

Whew!!  After a crazy 2 months of on and off travelling, I’m finally back home and settling in for the summer.  It finally looks like the sun will be kind to Seattle starting this weekend – I had a beenie on at the Sounders FC match last night… seriously… it’s June… let’s get with the sun and the warm already…

Anyway, there’s lots of work to do to get Bangarang 2.0 into it’s testing and release cycle.  I’ve been getting a great deal of welcome help over the last few weeks from Stefan Burnicki, for which I am immensely greatful!  The last few weeks have been mostly about some refactoring and maintenance, so between that and the travelling the new feature clip has been somewhat slower.  It’s not been at zero though: you can now set the number of items in the Recently Played, Frequently Played and Highest Rated media lists, edit and browse by nepomuk tags, as well as few other tidbits here and there.  A full description of new features will be provided when 2.0 is released.

Regarding the 2.0 release cycle, I hope to get most of the rest of the 2.0 feature list  implemented in the next 2 to 3 weeks. There’s still more media semantics work to do.  I’m hoping to take advantage of the nepomuk user action ontology to improve on the media semantics implemented so far.  I also have a few ideas for optimizing list engine performance and well as few other welcome, quick-to-code-up features not on the feature list.  I’m keeping a careful eye on startup time and basic memory consumption since it really is not my intent for Bangarang to be everything to everyone.

In any event, hopefully sometime around the end of June we can release an alpha to get some early testing feedback, with a feature freeze and beta shortly after that.  The project is on a feature based release cycle, so it’ll be ready when it’s ready.  That said, I’m really eager to get this next release out.  Sooo, if you’d like to see a Bangarang 2.0 release sooner rather than later and would like to help, feel free to stop by the project page or just speak up here.  We welcome both coding and non-coding help.

peace and much respect!

May 17, 2010

Wishes…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — jamboarder @ 10:04 am

Oh how I wish I could say that

Oh well.  Like many of us, the requirements of family and work prevent me from participating in some of these events.  Has anyone had much success with remote participation at events like these?  It’s definitely not the same as being there but it’s better than not being there at all (at least for the remote participant).  If anyone has ideas for remote participation drop me a note.  I’d be interested in discussions and sharing information regarding multimedia and Nepomuk.  Either way, hope everyone has a great time there.

As for Bangarang related news: Just added audio settings (eq) – good grief that was easy.  Gotta love this platform. :-)

April 12, 2010

Preparing Breakfast (or what’s up in bangarang:master)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 8:26 pm

Warning: this is a screenshot-laden post.  Nobody likes those kind of posts about a project in development so feel free to ignore what follows… :-)

It’s been roughly two months since the last release of Bangarang, so I thought I share a little of what’s been happening for the 2.0 (Breakfast) release.  Just to be clear, we’re still probably at least a couple months away from even an alpha release, so anything described here exists in a so-seriously-early-I-can’t-even-call-it-pre-alpha state.

One of the focal points for this next release is putting information in front of the user that helps them make decisions quickly.  It’s generically identified as “Media semantics” on the target feature list and most of the underlying framework is now in place to start using throughout the app.  It took some time to work out but it is starting to take shape.  The idea is to take information accumulated by users in the normal course of enjoying their media and use that to provide context-relevant info that should hopefully help the user make decisions.  The screenshots clippings below show the first cut at how this’ll look and work:

The info view from the 1.0 version has been transformed into the sidebar on the right (shown or hidden with the familiar Info icon).  The idea is for the information in this sidebar to reflect contextual information for whatever is currently being viewed/selected in the main media list view.  So when the list of artists are being shown it shows contextual information about all artists.  When an artist is selected it shows information about that artist – supplemented by some info from dbpedia – and so on…

Information about a selected media item is available in the sidebar as well (metadata is editable directly in the item view as well).

While the screenshots above are for Music, similiar data is/will be provided for Movies, TV shows, Actors, etc. as well.  It is definitely not all working perfectly or smoothly yet and not all types of data has all the contextual information yet, but I hope this provides a little info on how this particular feature might be shaping up.  It is definitely not the end-all of ideas for media semantics but underlying the framework – which includes the usual heavy dose of nepomuk – allows for a decent amount of flexibility that would certainly allow for other even more interesting contextual semantics (never played, most played at this time of day/year, unfinished movies, playback timelines, etc.).  Perhaps I’ll blog separately on this framework.

By the way, if anyone is interested in contributing to KDE I encourage you to consider Nepomuk. It is neat technology and Sebastian is awesome and definitely welcomes participation.

All the work so far hasn’t just been on this feature though.  Notice the album art in the in album list screenshot and basic bookmarking support was added this weekend.

Hope you found this interesting and don’t worry, I’m still trying to fix bugs, maintaining some ui restraint and working on the basics. :-)

As always if anyone is interested in helping please feel free to holler at me (especially if you live in North America or the Caribbean, but all are welcome). See the gitorious project page for more info.

Thanks for reading!

January 5, 2010

Bangarang 1.0 Release Candidate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — jamboarder @ 11:32 pm

The release candidate for the 1.0 (The Basics) version of Bangarang has been released.

This version includes several bugfixes and improvements. See the release notes for more information.

Testers can download the latest bangarang release from opendesktop.org.  Report any issues you encounter on the issue tracker.

If you would like to package Bangarang for your distribution you can download the source tarball for the latest release from here.  You can also keep up with the latest development at the gitorious project development home.

Just a short release announcement this time round. If you would like to contribute additional translations for the 1.0 release feel free to jump in.  Thanks to everyone for their contributions and encouragement!

Peace, much respect and have a positive, happy new year!

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