I’ve been a bit quiet about GNOME’s applications of late. This isn’t because nothing has been happening, though – quite the opposite. We’ve been steadily working away behind the scenes, and our application designs have evolved considerably.
This is the first in what will be a series of posts, in which I’ll summarise recent application design changes, as well as plans for the future. In this post, I’ll be focusing on Music.
We’re at a critical point with many of the core apps. There is still a fair amount of polish work to be done, and interesting features are missing in some cases. However, much of the basic functionality is in place, so we have a good platform to build on. We are a position to make a lot of GNOME’s apps truly great: it’s just a matter of making the final ten yards.
Of course, we need help to make GNOME’s apps really shine, so if you want to get involved with any of the initiatives I’ll be describing, please get in touch.
Music: where things stand
A number of features have landed in Music over the past couple of cycles, so that it now has a good basic feature set. There is a really nice search interface now, for example, and smart playlists were recently introduced in 3.16.
I personally use Music as my primary music player, and I really appreciate how it offers a clean view of my music collection, particularly with the nice grid of album covers. I’m very happy to have a music player that doesn’t look like a database front-end. :)
But what about plans for the future?
The first new feature that we have planned for Music is a new play queue interface. This is intended to give you quick access to what’s currently playing. You can also star tracks that are in the queue, such as the song you just listened to.
The new play queue design aims to improve the interaction around shuffle and repeat. We want to make sure that these only act on the current play queue, so that you don’t accidentally leave shuffle on forever (this will be possible through the smart playlists, if it’s what you want), and it allows shuffle and repeat to be used temporarily for a particular music selection.
Even smarter playlists
As I already mentioned, smart playlists landed last cycle, in 3.16. We really want to build on this functionality. I’m excited by the possibility of making smart playlists much more dynamic, so that they reflect your music collection and listening habits.
If you have a lot of jazz in your collection, we could offer special jazz playlists, or if you have been using the app for a while, we can suggest retrospective selections of tracks, such as your favourite artists from the last month or year. There’s a huge amount of scope here to create an engaging, personalised listening experience.
A first step in this work is to rework the existing UI for smart playlists.
The final new feature that I’m going to mention here is media import. While optical media isn’t as popular as it used to be, it is still important for some users, and we want to make it simple and easy to rip a CD and add it to your music collection.
Polish, polish, polish
Last but not least, we want all the core apps to provide a really polished, high quality experience. So, while there are plenty of big new features planned, refining the existing featureset is also an important goal. Many of the needed changes are quite small, and there are plenty of bugs that are marked as priorities for this cycle.
We need your help
Music has a great maintainer, in the shape of Vadim Rutkovsky, and the app is on its way to providing an excellent, modern, music experience for GNOME. That said, many of the bugs and features I’ve mentioned in this post need people to work on them. So, if you are interested in getting involved, or in helping to create an awesome music app, look no further. We’re looking for experienced developers, as well as newcomers.
For information can be found on the Music wiki page.