Building a Songbird Add-On: Part 0

songbird-artist-web-media-view-mockupAfter complaining about alphabetization in music libraries for — wow — almost a year, I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it.

I know very little about JavaScript and XUL, but that is going to have to change. My goal is to complete the add-on described here, an Artist Web media view, or perhaps “Constellations.”

To make the task appear less daunting, I’ve broken it up into many milestones of marginal improvements. If I follow this timeline, the plugin will be usable and released to the public as Constellations v0.1 on July 27.

Milestone ver Description Target Date Actual Date
i 0.0.1 display all artists in a vertical list 08 Jun 2009
ii 0.0.2 display most recent Last Played value for each artist 15 Jun 2009
iii 0.0.3 display total Play Count for each artist 22 Jun 2009
iv 0.0.4 vary font sizes according to total artist Play Count 29 Jun 2009
v 0.0.5 vary font colors according to total artist Play Count 6 Jul 2009
vi 0.0.6 vary font colors according to Last Played 13 Jul 2009
vii 0.0.7 arrange artist names left-to-right instead of vertically 20 Jul 2009
viii 0.1 focus first of the artist’s tracks in the playlist pane when the artist’s name is clicked 27 Jul 2009
ix 0.1.1 resize/re-color based on play frequency instead of play count 10 Aug 2009
x 0.2 options window that alternates between which variable is assigned to which font property 31 Aug 2009

I’m going to create a separate blog to track my progress on this, for several reasons:

  1. Threat of shame. If I emphasize publicly that I am going to do this, and I fail, I’ll be kind of embarrassed. Hopefully that will motivate me to actually complete the project.
  2. Geeks love proving that they’re smarter than you. If I’m having a tough time with some relatively elementary code, maybe people will mock me in the form of writing the correct code themselves. I’m certain that what I’m attempting could be done in no time flat if I’d been formally educated in things like JavaScript. Maybe the biting sarcasm of people who need to demonstrate their intelligence will show me where I’m going wrong.
  3. To encourage plagiarism. Look, I’ll admit that I’d be proud if the add-on that comes out of this bore my name. But ultimately, I don’t care. If somebody sees what I’m doing, likes it, wants it to be their own, and knows they can beat me to it, then great. At least we’ll have the add-on.

If you feel like mocking me or encouraging me you can email me at topdownjimmy@gmail.com, leave/follow comments on this post, or visit my dedicated Constellations blog to see where I’m taking this and how quickly I fail.

2 Replies to “Building a Songbird Add-On: Part 0”

  1. blackheartmachine says:

    Good luck on the project. If you finish, I’ll certainly use Constellations.

  2. Jay says:

    Thanks blackheartmachine. When I get something that is relatively functional, I’ll be posting it to the Songbird add-ons site.

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