Monday, May 21, 2018

2.2.8

Due to the upcoming enforcement of the GDPR, I decided to remove both google analytics and crashlytics in 2.x.  I honestly did not use the analytics data for anything, so there is no loss there.  Crashlytics was useful but over the years google has improved their crash reporting service enough that I can easily drop crashlytics in order to comply with the new EU law.

Release should go live on google play in the next few hours and on amazon by tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2018

3.0 WIP 21: Basic Preferences, Theme Builder, and Alpha 1 release date

Development for 3.0 Alpha 1 is wrapping up finally.  The last week or 2 I spent time fixing a lot of bugs and finishing off the initial preference UI.  The current preferences was kind of hacked up and only has a few options but I needed to make something to toggle a few of the crucial settings and build themes (and also show the changelog/licenses).  The majority of preferences for GMMP will require me to write some custom preference UI elements, so those will slowly be rolled out in future alphas.

There will be a video of the theme builder at the end of this post, but the only other visuals i have are for the changes to the FAB in the artist, album, and genre view.  The album details view will now default to playing the album when selecting the fab, but the artist and genre will play all the songs shuffled.  Eventually the defaults will be configurable but i think these are decent default settings for now.




The FAB will hide itself when you scroll down



For the theme selector, so far I have 4 things configurable.  Base theme (right now just material light and dark, but i will also add a white and black), primary color, primary dark, and accent color.  The changes to the UI are made instantly so you do not need to restart the UI or anything like that.


Finally, I have tentatively set the release date for the first alpha to be May 24th (EST).  This is right before memorial day weekend so i'll have plenty of time to hotfix any major issues that come along.  I have decided, that until most of the main GMMP functionality is in the alpha, it will be released as an apk outside of the playstore with a different package name.  This means you will be able to install it side by side with GMMP 2.x.  While I do think 3.0 right now is very usable, for most people it wont be enough to be their daily driver just yet.  This also gives me some time to fully test the upgrade process.  I ideally went to keep everyone's database and stats intact.  Also just a warning now, all the settings will be reset and not restore-able.  I have changed so much in the last year that a clean slate was needed (plus i renamed all the preference's keys to use a standard naming scheme that makes it much easier to deal with in code). 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

3.0 WIP 20: Light theme, list paging and highlighting the current song in all views

Light Theme

I spent some time making sure the light themes worked correctly and there was surprisingly a lot of work needed to get them looking good.



By default, the theme library GMMP uses lets the text to all of the views that are not the toolbar to be black.  The toolbar is smart enough to check the background color and choose the appropriate text color to display on top of that.  Since a large amount of GMMPs UI uses the primary color as the background, I had to create a lot of custom views to do something similar to the toolbar.



A dark background will give you light text and light button colors and vice versa for a light background.  Note: I still need to work on the button colors behind album artist.  Light colors on top of art is obviously preferred


Paging

In my opinion one of GMMP's strongest points has always been the ability to handle very large library, so I started testing 3.0 with a large library.  I put a 200 gb sdcard filled with music into my Moto e4 and began testing.  I quickly found out that what I had written started to struggle when throwing 20,000 songs at it.  The lists rendered fine and you can navigate through your music at a speed you would expect.. however the memory usage seemed to be very high causing random pauses when selecting items.  Fortunately google has something exactly for this in their Paging Library to handle this.  What this does is load data around where your list is current positioned.   In the case of having a list with 20000 songs, at any given time only a few hundred will be loaded into memory to be displayed in the list.

I am still in the process of working out all the kinks with the paging library, but my initial implementation seems to work pretty well.  The lists will show up almost immediately (vs taking a few seconds to load) and I no longer experience the random pauses when making selections.  Now some things do not play too well with this library like the fast scrolling, but I will either get things working with the fast scrolll library, write my own implementation of fast scroll, or come up with an alternative to navigate large lists fast (perhaps something like android auto does with the letter selection).

Song Highlighting


One of the most frequently requested features I received was the ability to show the current playing track in all the list views instead of just now playing / folder view / queue view.  Every view that shows track lists besides the bookmark view should now highlight the playing song if its in the visible list.  The video below shows that in action.



I also made a few other additions like syncing with the android media library and loading the entire list into the queue when selecting a song (this now includes the full track list view as well)

I am still targeting a late May release for the first alpha.  The player is in pretty good shape now but has not yet gone through any sort of significant testing, so there is the potential for a delay if I run into some bad issues.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

2.2.7 Released

2.2.7 (04/09/2018):
-Fixed reading embedded album art in ogg containers
-Added error check to hopefully prevent the "Cleaning database" notification from being stuck
-Jumping to a letter in the album list in android auto should now correctly take you to the right spot in the list
-Clicking search button will no longer remove focus on the search text field
-Additional workarounds for invalid unlocker issue

2.2.6 (04/03/2018):
-Taglib update to 0.11.1
-Fixed handling of unicode TXXX album artist tags
-Added workaround for invalid unlocker error caused by updating some devices to oreo
-Fade out if the next audio source isnt prepared when crossfading

3.0 WIP 19: On Queue Completion, Android Auto, Improved Voice Commands and Auto Pause/Play

The last two weeks were mostly spent refactoring / rewriting the remaining Music Service code that i had previously disabled.  That includes the MediaSession, Android Auto Support, Audio Focus handler, On Queue Completion, Voice Commands, and Auto Pause/Play.  The only thing remaining I believe is the auto volume adjust and the ability to handle multiple remote control presses.  At this point it looks like a realistic release date of the first alpha should be in May.  I am probably a week out from starting internal testing, which basically means i start deploying the app to all my test devices and actually use it as my main driver on my phone.  Up until now i have still been using 2.2.x.  I am not expecting that many bugs, but what I am expecting is a lot of things i just forgot to implement that are crucial to making GMMP usable.

3.0 working in Android Auto

Audio Focus

The new audio focus handling is mostly the same as 2.x.  Google did add some new capabilities for oreo which I did add.  When GMMP requests audio focus, sometimes something else has to keep focus for a bit while longer.  In this case the request returns that the focus request was denied temporarily, but will let gmmp know when it can take focus.  When this happens gmmp will wait for the go ahead and then start playback after the OS says it can take focus.  I am not sure how useful this is, but I figured i'd mention it.

On Queue Completion

I made some minor changes when re-implementing this feature.  Play Random Track was replaced with a simple Shuffle.  It will load all your music into the queue and turn on shuffle.  Another nice improvement is the music selected by on queue completion will now be preloaded when you are playing the last track in the queue.  This will allow gapless and/or crossfade to work.

I had mentioned this in a previous post, but in 3.0 many of the options will be right in the UI instead of being hidden away in the general preferences.  This should make it much easier to change options quickly.  On most of the views, they will be in a "Customize" section of the 3 dot menu on the toolbar.



Before 3.0 is fully released I will most likely add a few more on queue completion options, but for now I think its good.

Improved Voice Commands

While testing voice searching in android auto, I had noticed it was sending unstructured voice command .  An unstructured voice command is basically a voice search that you do not know what it is looking for (ie an album search, track search, artist search, etc).  Now gmmp will run through a bunch of queries to try to find what the user is requesting to play.  Previously in this situation it will only search the track name.  

Auto Pause / Play

The auto pause / play functionality was simplified a bit.  Since GMMP was first written for android 1.6, it was previously looking for a huge list of different events to determine whether to pause or auto resume.  Now to keep it simple, GMMP basically just listens for a "NOISY" intent when playing over a wired connection, bluetooth, or speaker.  This intent is broadcast in many situations like when you unplug your headset or receive a phone call, so it basically has everything covered.  Another minor change is gmmp will only look for a2dp connections (this is what is used for playing music) instead of all BT connections in general.  

I also added some new pause / play triggers which include: 
  • HDMI plug/unplug
  • Phone Power plug/unplug
For each type of connection / audio routing there will be the option to do a smart play or an always play.  Smart auto play will basically only automatically resume playback when GMMP was auto paused.  This has always been my preferred behavior.  I've always found it super annoying when a music player that i was not using at all decides to automatically start playing just because i plugged in my headphones.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

3.0 WIP 18: Add To Playlist, Sleep Timer, Improved Drag and drop and more

For a large portion of the time since the last post, I worked on redesigning the data access portion of GMMP which doesnt really have much to show off visually but I will briefly talk about it.  In the first WIP post I talked about the complex metadata view customization 3.0 will provide.  Now playing and all the metadata lists let you customize how they will look and what metadata they will display.  This was working pretty well for the layouts i had set up for demo purposes, but there was a problem of being able to get all the necessary data in order to populate the metadata views.  I had a bunch of hard coded database queries that were good enough to get some screenshots, but would not completely if i would add a lot of other fields to show.  An example would be in the track list I believe it previously only showed the trackname and time.  What if i wanted to also show the artist?  Well previously i would have had to either make the track query more complex by joining with the artist table or add separate query that did the track/artist join.  The problem with the first option is this would make every track query take longer regardless if the user wanted to show the artist or not.  The problem with the second option is this would require thousand of custom queries to get every possibly combination of metadata for the view.  Neither were acceptable to me so I decided to rework how data was being accessed.

My new solution was to design a database query builder.  It basically contains a few public methods so i can specify what type of query to do (track list query, artist list query, album list, etc).  I then specify what metadata fields are wanted, along with any conditions (like artist = so and so) and it will return the query to use against the database.  In most cases the metadata fields are generated automatically by scanning the metadata lines and the sort order selected.  So what does this all mean?  If your track list metadata line is something like "%ar% - %tn%" and the sort order is by album, the generated query will retrieve only the artist, trackname, and album.  This should lead to the best performance possible and the least amount of memory being used.

Add To Playlist

I readded Add To Playlist and it is mostly the same as it was in 2.x.  Behind the scenes its much better but UI wise it works the same.





More Now Playing Actions

I added volume control, stop after current, sleep timer, and the share option.  The sleep timer also now has an option to wait until the end of the playing song before pausing.






Drag and Drop Improvements

When I initially did the drag and drop, I couldn't find a way to use anything but the default behavior which was to long press to start the drag.  After some more research I did eventually find a way to add "handle" to start the drag and drop.  This is much more usable in certain situations like in the car.  To turn this behavior on, I added 2 new view modes to the view mode menu.  Handle and Card Handle





For whatever reason youtube would not let me upload the drag and drop video i created, so Im using the blogger video capability instead.



The preference UI is the only remaining UI task still need to be done before i can release alpha 1, the rest is basically just restoring the remaining music service capabilities that I had took out when starting with 3.0

















Friday, March 9, 2018

3.0 WIP 17: Landscape Support + Jump To Time/Playing + More

There is a lot to show off this update so I will get right to it.  WIP 17 brings landscape support plus a few other things.  The majority of the views are the same as the portrait version except for now playing and the album details view.  That is not to say more landscape specific views will not be coming in the future. 

Lansdcape Now Playing:


The now playing view is one of the most important views in a music player and I felt GMMP 2.x did not full take advantage of the space as well as it could have.  In 3.0 there are a bunch of changes.  I do plan on having additional Now Playing layouts (like one that users the blurred album art as a background and one that doesnt bleed through the toolbar/status bar) but they will come at a later point.

In landscape there will be 2 extra button slots that you can use.  In the image above I included a fullscreen / immersive mode toggle, and a direct button for the queue (instead of having a FAB).  As mentioned before, these buttons will be configurable.  You can leave empty slots or change the number of total buttons (so if you set it to 5, all 5 buttons will be equally spread out in the view).  In code I combined the gesture actions, context menu actions, and the media button actions into shared modules, so the idea is you will be able to make buttons for many of the gestures and all of the menu options.  The menu is also built dynamically now, so instead of having a massive list of 12-15 options, you will be able to choose which show up the menu. 

Full Screen / Immersive Mode
Dynamically built menu (only 2 actions listed so far)

Another nice thing with the landscape now playing is I made it so certain options are orientation specific.  The metadata being a prime example.  In portrait we really only have room for 3 lines, but in landscape there is tons of space for the metadata, so in this example i added an empty line as a separator and 2 additional lines showing genre, year, bitrate and sample rate.

Landscape Album Grid/List


Album Grid is 4 wide in landscape
2 wide in portrait
Right now the landscape specific settings are the grid size and now playing metadata, but in code its as simple as replacing a single line in order to support diff prefs for orientation.  In the album grid i did also finally add the context menu.  I experimented with a few different positions, but it worked best just right next to the metadata.

Landscape Album Details


The landscape view of album details is much more user friendly I feel.  Instead of having the artwork taking up the top 1/3 of the screen (and only being able to see a small portion of the full image), it is now on the left hand side in full.   Album name and artist in the toolbar and some additional song details are on the right as the first entry of the list.  When I finally add an option to disable the FAB, that top metadata entry will contain one of those 3 dot menus on the right so you can play/enqueue/etc the entire album without the need for the FAB.  The album details will be customizable within reason (i think it'll be about 5-6 different variables available for use).  These album details were also added to the portrait view.

FAB was moved to overlap the metadata view and the album art

Album Details view with the list scrolled up

Jump To Playing / Time

I have only coded up a handle of the menu / gesture actions so far (its what I am currently working on).  Jump To Playing works the same way as before.  The look in the image below is not final, its just the default look of the library I am using for the material dialogs.  Below that is the jump to time dialog which is using a.. time wheel i guess you can call it.  Both features are shown in the video at the end of this post.



Sorting Options

I also went through and implemented the majority of the sorting options for the various views.  All that is left is some of the track sort options.  They require a bit of rework of my database queries, rework that I had to do regardless so they have not all been implemented yet.  One change I made from 2.x is that Date Added is no longer the time the entry was added to the database, it uses the last modified time of the associate files on storage at the time it was scanned into the database.  What this means is you will be able to clear your database and rescan without every single song showing up in Recently Added.

Track Sort

Artist Sort

Album Sort

Navigation View Fixes

Finally I made some navigation view improvements.  The highlighted entry is now consistent with the showing view (and if you go into album details, for example, none will be highlighted since that is not in the nav view).  I also added an entry for bookmark view.

Progress in general is going great.  If you look on trello the majority of the TODO list for the first alpha is done.  It seems like we'll see a release in the upcoming months.  How soon will depend on 1) how much more of the music service refactoring work needs to be done (restoring android auto support is required before i can get approved through google play), and how many small TODOs i have left in the code base.  Some areas need a bunch of work like the folder browser, while others are pretty much good to go.