APR
13
2008

Amarok Insider - Twelfth issue released

The next issue of Amarok Insider has been released, along with lots of screenshots. It takes an in-depth look at Amarok's visual theme, Plasma-centric technologies, Web services, and MacOS X integration. It also discusses pending Amarok releases, talks about past and future events, and interviews some crazy Amarok fans. Enjoy!

Comments

I know Amarok is a complex program with a heap of features, but I'm not sure about the screenshots - they seem somewhat cluttered. I like the current (1.4) layout, because it focuses on what Amarok does - play music.


By AndyC at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

What exactly is that you find cluttering the interface? Browsers and Context View can be hidden, and playlist switched to classic mode. Also, each individual service can be disabled from the configuration dialog. Lastly, don't forget that the artwork is still in constant flux, and is heading towards simplicity.

Cheers!


By Ljubomir at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Actually I find the new fancy playlist a lot *less* cluttered than the classic column-based playlist.

Especially if you enable more than 5 columns or so in Amarok 1, it starts to resemble Excel.


By Mark Kretschmann at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Perhaps you wanted to say "it starts to resemble OOCalc" ? ;)


By Capit. Igloo at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

That was problem when user wanted more than 4-5 colums on amarok window without keeping it fullscreen.

But it still was better in one important way. Showing the info of music.
1.4.x series playlist could be full of different albums, artist etc and it was short one and very simple to use. But Amarok2 playlist is made for whole albums, not for random songs. When I add 20-30 songs what are mostly, if not all, from different artist and albums, I have very long and hard to control-playlist on my screen. But if I add 5-8 CD from database, it's nice and good because I have only a 5-8 artist tab there what I can hide or show.

This is one reason why I dont like new Amarok playlist.

Other reason is that playlist is on right edge and database on left edge and I need to drag files from left to right side. On 1.4.x series I can just do small mouse movement to get them dropped easily to that place on playlist I like.

I hope that Middle place (plasmoids) can be removed so Playlist could get bigger again, or at least switch the playlist from right to middle.


By Fri13 at Mon, 2008/04/14 - 5:00am

I think that the "curvy background" on the right pane gets overused and that gives a bit of the impression of clutter.

I'd just use it only once for the navigation on top and stick to plain colors for the other background on the right.

Except for that the new screenshots rock :-)


By Torsten Rahn at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Good artists are a rare resource in open source. We're struggling to find good ones that actually stay with the project. Most of them are never heard of again after a few days.


By Mark Kretschmann at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Agree


By ad at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

I think the feel of clutter is due to the high amount of (different and nested) visual borders. See the attached picture were I highlighted plenty (but not all) borders with red.


By anon at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

> I think the feel of clutter is due to the high amount of (different and nested)
> visual borders. See the attached picture were I highlighted plenty
> (but not all) borders with red.

From a dev's perspective, it's easier to forget about borders than to make the finishing touches and disable them. Of course, this isn't helped by the fact that widgets have borders around them by default.


By Tray at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

I agree. We've noticed the same thing the other day.

As a first step, I've removed the bulky and redundant frame around the playlist today. SVN up and check it out :)

PS: We're open to further GUI improvement suggestions.


By Mark Kretschmann at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Hate to be a bother, but can someone give us a screenshot?


By The James at Mon, 2008/04/14 - 5:00am

Here's the latest version, with the playlist border already removed:

http://mark.kollide.net/snapshot63.png


By Mark Kretschmann at Mon, 2008/04/14 - 5:00am

Thank-you very much.


By The James at Mon, 2008/04/14 - 5:00am

On the attached screenshot I've highlighted more suggestions for improving the consistency of Amarok. Specifically, eliminating the subtle yet needless and ugly color gradients between different areas, eliminating the useless separator at the top of the Plasma panel, and eliminating the horizontal scrollbar when in fact nothing is overflowing to the right.

Also, I think there should be no space between the scrollbar and the box it controls. The Mac OS X style seems to get this right by not inserting a space:

http://amarok.kde.org/files/Image/AI/12/full/12-osx2.jpg

but the Oxygen style is sloppy and puts the space in.


By vlad at Tue, 2008/04/15 - 5:00am

Thanks for your suggestions. Some rare constructive criticism. :)


By Ian Monroe at Tue, 2008/04/15 - 5:00am

> Thanks for your suggestions. Some rare constructive criticism. :)

You're welcome, thanks for taking it into consideration :)


By vlad at Tue, 2008/04/15 - 5:00am

Nice, I feel much calmer looking at that screenshot already.


By Leo S at Tue, 2008/04/15 - 5:00am

Hmmm... Perhaps the different parts of the interface should not look like if they were "stamped in" (eingestanzt, you know what I mean) but merely stick out. I don't know if that's a theme-specific issue or a general design question.


By blueget at Tue, 2008/04/15 - 5:00am

Amarok2 Really looks great... even there are those few GUI design problems for those who likes 1.4.x series ;-)

Amarok2 looks more slick'n'slide than iTunes and WMP :-D


By Fri13 at Wed, 2008/04/16 - 5:00am

> it focuses on what Amarok does - play music

Amarok does _a_lot_ more than only play music. That's why it is so popular.


By birdy at Mon, 2008/04/14 - 5:00am

I tried to switch from amarok to exaile as I figured it'd conserve memory by not loading libraries from two desktop environments.

While amarok does more, it also uses less space than exaile, KDE libs and all.

Rock on, guys. Best of everything.
ps. (but I still wish I could rediscover my music by playing it at >1x tempos, you know, *cough* fast forward.)
Great for classical.
<1x great for rap.


By ethana2 at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

no proxy support under windows, so no amarok for me


By mimoune djouallah at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Can you elaborate on this? Is this a general KDE issue or an Amarok issue?


By Mark Kretschmann at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

I believe konqi also suffers from this so I guess general...


By Jos Poortvliet at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

hi
1- proxy is still broken under kde trunk, it is a known bug.

2- kcontrol (systemsettings) is in kde-base workspace, as a result it is not available to windows users. thus no way to configure amarok, kget etc to use proxy.

so we poor windows users we have double pain :-)


By mimoune djouallah at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

So why did you pollute this thread with it?


By THIBOLOT at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

eah, perhaps this bug need to be fixed, don't you think so ?, i already filled a bug report against systemesetting about this issue, i really don't know if i wrote something wrong that upset you ?


By mimoune djouallah at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

It has nothing to do with Amarok.

This article is about amarok.

Whining about a bug in a very early port of kde in the comments of an article dedicated to progress in Amarok is rude. Don't do it.


By THIBOLOT at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

please calm down.. you're a bit overreacting here. it's very much a valid point to point out some shortcomings with the (early) windows port of KDE+Amarok. And the style of writing suggests it was shurely not meant as a rude bashing...


By thomas at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

It especially doesn't have much to do with Amarok, since I bet phonon-ds9 backend does have proxy support since its using DirectX. So you could play streams fine. (though web services would be b0rked).


By Ian Monroe at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

ok you are right it has nothing to do with amarok, proxy in kde is still broken, and under windows to configure proxy is as simple as kcmshell4 proxy.

ok i am just a stupid user.


By mimoune djouallah at Wed, 2008/04/16 - 5:00am

Can I use it to sync my iPod?


By John Doe at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

yes


By Beat Wolf at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

no.

not yet.


By THIBOLOT at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

in the alpha


By Pascal at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Nope, won't be ready by then.


By THIBOLOT at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Will it work with the Ipod Nano (3rd gen)?

Either way...

.... Great job guys!!


By An at Wed, 2008/04/16 - 5:00am

I am so happy to see those screen shots. The new UI looks nice, easy to use and actually light weight. I am happy to see that the original amarok look & feel is still around in this new version.

Kudos to all the team!! As usual, can't wait to try this out.


By Emms007 at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Thanks dude :) We're also very excited about Amarok 2. Most of us devs already use it daily for music playing, and going back to Amarok 1 really feels like stone-age.

I guess it's a good sign that we enjoy using our own product (eating your own dog).


By Mark Kretschmann at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

"Alarming: Amarok devs to convert to canibalism. News at ten." ;-)


By Daniel Molkentin at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

As far as I know eating dogs doesn't make you a cannibal.


By Narishma at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Amarok symbol == wolf. The wolf is eating dogs.


By Jonathan Thomas at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Microsoft's internal mantra is "eat your own dogfood", which means if you write code/a program, then you need to use it - you can't expect others to, if you don't. It's good to know the Amarok team use v2 on a daily basis, let's hope they spot the obscure bugs too and not just the obvious ones ;-)

Is it possible to skin/theme Amarok 2 to make it look like 1.4, just for the old school people?


By Phil at Mon, 2008/04/14 - 5:00am

Very exciting reading, and nice screenshots.

To be honest, I don't really like the current look in SVN. However, it's getting there; the sliders are quite nice-looking. :)

I think it's all the shininess my eyes don't like. As someone said, it looks cluttered. The new ui also lack "sharpness", unfortunately I can't really describe what that means. But I'm sure it'll improve over time.

If I have some free time tonight I might try to make a small mockup. Not a new theme I'm afraid, as I don't know SVG very well.

Oh, a final question: are the toolbars configurable? I never use the stop button, and just prev/play/next looks imo much better.


By Hans Chen at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

Nope, the toolbar is fixed. However, maybe we'll decide to remove the stop button, that's still a possibility.

As always: Proper solution for everyone > customization options. That's the Amarok way (TM).


By Mark Kretschmann at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

"As always: Proper solution for everyone > customization options."

Although I like to play around with options, I agree with this philosophy.

About the stop button, have you ever considered moving it to the side? WMP does this; even if I don't like the software itself, I think the controls are placed very well. http://www.geekpedia.com/pics/Windows%20Media%20Player%2011/Lost.png
This way the symmetry of the three "important" buttons is maintained.


By Hans Chen at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

how about three buttons #prev#play/pause#next# and a fading in/out #stop# depending if a song is played or not, like the last.fm buttons


By Hias at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

That makes no sense at all :) Sorry.


By Mark Kretschmann at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

it would, if you were me a few minutes ago, but now I guess you are right :)


By Hias at Sun, 2008/04/13 - 5:00am

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