As it’s now turned Tuesday as I’m trying to start writing this weekly update, hopefully it’s not going to turn into the last update where it rolled on to become a combined one. So without messing around, lets get on with what was done and a bit about what is coming…
So first lets deal with the elephant in the room. I’m aware of a tweet that was made a few days ago regarding an ‘official’ beta release of some sorts that ‘could be imminent’. Even if that happens (which has been touted a few times already), I’m still fully committed to providing WACUP as I don’t believe we’re going to see the level of development that Winamp and it’s users need and rightly deserve. So I think that’s all that needs to be said about this for the time being.
Continuing on from part of the last update, there’s been some more work done on the replacement podcasts support. The first thing is a minor addition in adding a ‘duration’ column to the downloads view which makes it a bit easier to see if the downloaded podcast is what was expected - as the file size doesn’t necessarily mean much.
The second thing is more for dealing with new / migrated installs and is having the podcast feed updates do some additional checks for seeing if items not marked as downloaded have in fact already been downloaded. This is visually a minor thing and just ends up with more episode entries showing as having been downloaded (if they exist in the expected download folder) but internally it allows the podcast support to better track things so as to minimise attempts to re-download an episode if for some reason the downloaded information was missing.
— Darren Owen (@The_DoctorO) October 24, 2016
The third and most important thing is the added ability to accept itunes feed urls like https://itunes.apple … /dj-book/id561711243. So now instead of having to use one of the many website services that can be used to determine a Winamp compatible feed url from the itunes url, the podcast support will now automatically do all of that for you which makes it much simpler to add itunes feeds into Winamp. Best of all, it doesn’t rely on any external services so as long as Apple don’t break anything, it will just work, yay!
The next block of work done relates to some of the beta release aspects.
So as can be seen in the image above, I’ve done a bit of work on getting version history and credits / license pages implemented in the about section. To do this meant having to go back to something I’d not done in a long time in working with RTF (rich text format) files and the related Windows control so as to be able to display useful messages without having to hard-code things (which is most useful for a version history changelog).
I’ve also done a bit more tweaking on the native about page to refer to the WACUP specific about pages as well as the addition of a Patreon support button on the main WACUP about page. This is all little things which won’t matter to most but has been done whilst trying to figure out other things and trying to maintain a decent level of productivity.
With regards to beta releases, I’ve decided to make the WACUP beta releases be time limited (in a similar manner to other players and also what was done for a while with the Winamp 5.7 beta releases).
So the above will be seen subject to any wording tweaks. The purpose for this expiration feature is to try to keep from having old beta releases in use long after they should be.
I know that some don’t like these sort of things (I took enough abuse about it with the Winamp 5.7 betas when everything with providing releases went belly up which couldn’t be talked about at the time). But as already stated earlier, I’m very much committed to the development of what I’m trying to achieve and so timely beta builds should not be an issue.
Also to make it absolutely clear (as this came up when doing the same thing with the Winamp 5.7 betas), anything I release which is not marked as a beta release will not contain the expiration code. So if you then want to keep using an old WACUP release then you would be able to. It’s only the beta releases which will expire.
The next thing started and which on reflection is something I should have done from the start back in 2005 is taking my ML Bookmark Categoriser plug-in and using it as a base to replace the native Bookmarks plug-in. The categoriser plug-in was made to work with the native plug-in but with the route I’ve now taken on things, that is a bad thing to be trying to do as it prevents providing the best possible solution.
— Darren Owen (@The_DoctorO) October 20, 2016
So I’ve decided now to just have a single bookmark plug-in that does what both of the plug-ins (mine and native) were trying to do without all of the hacks and related issues that came about from one trying to control / adapt what the native plug-in was trying to do. I’m hoping to get this finished off before I need to do the next weekly update.
The next thing was part of some friday fun as I tweeted about playing youtube urls directly in Winamp (something I’ve talked about before) as well as getting the video window embedded into the media library window (not as easy to do as I’d hoped as the video window is a bit funky).
The end result is the screenshot seen above. This happened due to trying to improve the youtube playback handling so that it would also fill the playlist entry with a friendly tittle instead of a generic youtube url. It also caught a few crash bugs in my initial implementation of this which I’ve now fixed.
Doing this then led on to seeing if the video window could be embedded into the special library panel I’ve added and after a few hours messing around finally got it working. Under modern skins it’s a bit funky in what the skin assumes can be done if the video window is already embedded. So this feature isn’t going to be available for a while but knowing that most of it works was good for me to know.
The next thing is something that I found whilst messing around with some of the streaming services in that Winamp is intentionally blocking trying to process HTTPS based playlist urls. This took a bit to work out what was going on as I initially thought it was just the services not liking the Winamp requests but after a bit more digging it transpired there is an explicit check which prevents any attempt to process these HTTPS playlist urls.
With a bit more time messing around I’ve now managed to patch out the code that is causing this issue and now these HTTPS playlist urls will load.
Moving onto the remainder of things, there were some library updates carried out for libpng and libopenmpt. There was some drawing issues with the media library window fixed when the library navigation tree isn’t on the normal left hand side position (which only really showed up when the sizing of the library window was small). The final thing was getting the skinned preferences plug-in to cope with the RTF (rich text format) Windows control.
And now for the final thing which took up most of the time I had to work on things for the weekend just gone and relates to forums and beta access.
There’s still a bit more work to be done (expect another blog post before the end of the week when access is opened up to the forum) but I’ve got a basic forum setup that I’m happy with (having nuked my prior attempt which didn’t install correctly for some reason).
I’ve also decided to begin with to provide access to the WACUP beta downloads in a similar manner to how the official Winamp beta downloads used to be provided (i.e. using a limited folder access for those that remember it).
This generally worked well for a smallish group and knowing how everyone has differing views / preferences on file sharing options (e.g. Dropbox, OneDrive, etc) going with a generic option that just works I hope that this should suffice but will adapt things depending on feedback as things progress.
So without any files, the beta download page will look something like the following:
I’ve rushed my way through this update so hopefully it will all make some sense for those crazy enough to read it. If not there’s enough images to get an idea of what I’m rambling on about.
I now need to get back on with things so I can get the first WACUP beta released during the week of the 31st October. As once the forum is made available, I’ll be emailing those who’ve shown interest to help out beta testing prior to the download being made available during that week.
Now finally, here’s a general summary of what was talked about:
- I’m still very much committed to this independent update project irrespective of anything ‘official’
- More podcast support improvements including iTunes feed support
- Preparing more parts of the preferences for an initial beta release
- The WACUP beta releases will expire after 4 weeks but the non-beta releases will not expire
- Working on replacing my ML Bookmark Categoriser & native Library Bookmarks plug-ins with a single ML Bookmarks plug-in
- More youtube url playback improvements
- Testing if the video window can be embedded into the library window
- Patching out a Winamp check that prevents HTTPS based playlists from being processed
- General updating of shared libraries and minor bug fixes
- Getting the WACUP forums and beta testing access prepared for use!