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yet another Front End!

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  • yet another Front End!

    ok guys and girls it is that time again. time to announce a new front end that is going into development. I am beginning the development of new front end that will be available by May. this front end will be designed primarily to run on the mac mini ( what i currently run in my car) but will be available as well to you windows users out there. The app will be built using adobe's new flex builder 3 utilizing a new tech called adobe air that will allow the app to be installed and run natively on your machine and not in a browser. With adobe Flex the app can run on any platform with the provided free download of adobe air from their website

    I can say with a fair amount of certainty that this will not become vapor ware. I am building this as my senior project so that i can graduate this may with my undergrad degree. Since i have to turn in a well built, well thought out app in order to graduate (and thus not waste $40,000) there is quite a bit of motivation behind this project.

    Functionality - this will not be a super elaborate front end. i have been using AMP as of late, and with due credit to Alchemo for creating a very solid front end, there were just to many things that he tried to do. First and for most this will be a music player. With that this app will be very simple and very easy to use. At most you will be two screens away from every function. 90% of the time you will only be one screen away. the biggest use of course will be the music side of things, but i am planning a way for users to add there own functionality. Since i only have a little over a month to finish this app for school i am not sure that this function will make it the first time around, but i am going to try.

    Looks - The idea that I am running with in this app is something very simple and elegant. I know there is a huge debate on aesthetics (wether the app should look like the corresponding OS or not) and I will do my best to please but ultimately it will be my design choice. On the other hand, one of the benefits of flex is the easy skinning capabilities, so each user theoretically will be able to customize the look and feel to a certain degree. as soon as have something to show i will post some screen shots.

    i will need some people to help me test the app especially here in a couple of weeks. my mini currently has a blown logic board (speaking of which if anybody knows where i can get a new one on the cheap i would be very much appreciative). PM me if you want to try it out, and as soon as i get a stable running version i will send you a copy.

    if anybody has any ideas about how attack certain areas of functionality please feel free to share your thoughts
    Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

  • #2
    I would/will be nice to have a front end work on any platform that air supports. However, you should prolly post this in the general software development forum (if you haven't already) because that is where all the help is. there aren't many devs in this forum and certainly fewer who can help with an AIR project.

    What capabilities does AIR have for media playback? somehow I doubt it has a hook into quicktime which is what most Mac FEs use for media playback.
    check us out at:


    • #3
      true. i thought about posting in the general section, however i have been a member here for over a year, and i have only really talked with the guys here in maccar. Since this is going to be written on a mac/ for a mac, i figured this would be a good spot. However i may make a mention in the general to see if anybody there has any words of wisdom they would like to share.

      i didnt actually think about the whole quicktime situation. the beauty of air is that it can be used with flash, html, java, javascript, ajax, all the above and anything else you can think of. im sure there is a way somewhere somehow. if anybody has any ideas i am all ears.

      UPDATE- ok so i just did some checking and from what i can tell the newest version of flashplayer is capable of playing itunes files. im still not 100% sure if that includes the protected files or not but that will be something that i will cross when i get there
      Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here


      • #4
        Good to see more apps being developed for mac! +1


        • #5
          Nate, I meant to comment on this. Sounds interesting, and I like the deadline aspect of it!

          I'm anxious to see what you build!
          Originally posted by ghettocruzer
          I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
          Want to:
          -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
          -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video


          • #6
            thanks guys for the interest. everything is coming along quite well and i am making some good progress. only a few snags as of right now, primarily trying to get the stupid itunes album artwork to work in my app. either way i should have some screen shots available soon (currently everything is just using a standard flex skin, not bad but def not the end result that i want). with only 5 weeks left of this semester it shouldn't be much longer.
            Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here


            • #7
              man good luck with the iTunes album art. (see my thread about it)

              I ended up having to use the quicklook framework which won't help you...
              If you do figure it out I would be very interested in hearing how you deciphered apples cryptic hex ids.
              check us out at:


              • #8
                This is awesome! I can't wait to see some results of your work.


                • #9
                  hey guys just thought i would update everybody on the progress that has been made. first off i made a some small advancements that has led me to some good news and then some bad new. first off the good news, the latest version of flashplayer (version 9 update 3) is capable of playing music downloaded from itunes (AAC and M4A), so in that arena everything is clipping right along. now for the bad news, despite flashplayer being able to play downloaded itunes, it is incapable of playing protected itunes music. in other words any music that you have downloaded that is not from the itunes plus store or music that you have copied from a cd into itunes, will not play. this leaves me with two options:
                  1 the easy way: make anybody that has downloaded protected music from itunes (me included) download another program to strip the drm from their itunes collection (something that i would not mind doing anyway) or
                  2 the hard and prob better way: figure out a way to possibly interface the real quicktime player through an external java app and then add it in as a plugin or module of some sort.
                  anyway i banging my head against a wall.
                  What do you guys think?
                  any ideas?
                  Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here


                  • #10
                    3. Use a less obscure environment than Flex and then you can use QT

                    4. Just forget the whole DRM thing and only play unprotected stuff.


                    • #11
                      Yeah the more I think about it the heavier I lean towards just ditching drm all together. Anymore I just buy music from iTunes plus anyway. I'm thinking at least this time around I am just going to support unprotected music until I can find a better way
                      Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here


                      • #12
                        yeah DRM is just a pain in the *** for the people who actually buy music. It doesn't curtail pirating one bit.

                        it is incapable of playing protected itunes music. in other words any music that you have downloaded that is not from the itunes plus store or music that you have copied from a cd into itunes, will not play
                        when did apple make ripping a cd into itunes protected????
                        check us out at:


                        • #13
                          they didnt. i just wasnt clear in that one post. what i meant to say was that if you ripped your own cd or bought from the itunes plus store then the music will play fine, but if you buy from the regular itunes store then you will have to strip the drm before it will play in flash. i really hate drm, and i am really glad that most music stores are starting to offer drm free selections. anyway there are several scripts and apps out there that will automate the process of stripping drm, so i will see if i can implement something like that to streamline the process.
                          Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here


                          • #14
                            hey everybody just thought that i would give a quick update to where everything is standing as of this moment.

                            currently the app is a functioning music player, however with restrictions. as it stands the music side of things i mostly complete, however there are some known bugs that i have to work out. some of the restrictions that apply right now is the fact that you can not play actual ".mp3" files. I know that sounds weird but there is a reason behind it. in the flash player there is a sound object that can only play mp3 files and then there is a netstream object that plays everything else (mp4, aac, mov, flv, etc). i opted to go with the netstream seeing as it plays the majority of formats. i will in the near future add the ability to play mp3 files just to alleviate as many restrictions as possible. secondly you cannot play protected music files, which is kind of a givin, but still a pain i know. the app is stable despite its restrictions, and it runs on both windows and mac for you cross breeders out there.
                            Also i added a feature that i had always wanted in AMP, and that was the ability to change the color scheme based on the time of day (white during the day, black at night), in order to make the screen easier to see. this feature is active on the app now, but is has to be manually activated by a button. i am working on a way to have the system calculate sunrise and sunset and then change skin accordingly.

                            i should have some screen shots up shortly, however all the graphics are the default flex skin and i plan to change that all in the near future as well.

                            i would like to have some people test it out and let me know what is/isn't working. also my mini has a fried motherboard, so i am unable to test in a car environment, so i also need some feedback on how well the app fits the screen, and how well/poor the UI is laid out. if anybody wants a copy to screw around with please let me know, and i will send it to them. i really appreciate any help you guys can give.
                            Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here


                            • #15
                              Looking forward to see this, if you need me to test it out let me know