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Author Topic: NANY 2011 Release: Ethervane Radio 0.2.4  (Read 29224 times)
tranglos
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« on: December 30, 2010, 10:03:14 PM »

(Latest version: 0.2.4, uploaded February 28)

New version! See my message below for what's new. Download link in attachments at the end of this message


From now on, you can also download Ethervane Radio from the following links:
http://www.tranglos.com/f.../files/EthervaneRadio.zip
http://www.ethervane.com/files/EthervaneRadio.zip


It's something I've been working on for the last 2 and a half months. An internet radio player The Way It's Supposed To be :-) Simple, Screamer-like, but backed with a database and (eventually) flexible instant search.

But, it's a big project and though it's been coming along nicely, it isn't quite ready for public consumption. Right now it looks like this:



It has a Play/Stop button and a volume slider. That's about it at the moment!

Download the first release, play with it and let me know what you think. Attachment is in the message.

OS support:
Windows XP, Vista, 7 and higher only. Windows 2000 is a maybe, please let me know if you can test. Windows 95 through ME, certainly not.

Installation:
Download and unzip to any folder on your disk. It's OK to install under "Program Files", but you'll have to okay a UAC prompt. Just pick a folder that's convenient.

There is no installer yet (it'll come), so you'll need to create a shortcut manually.

First-time use:
When you start it for the first time, it will create a database of radio stations. The database is quite large (about 30 MB), so to keep down the size of the installation zip file, the database is packaged as an XML file, which is much smaller. That's why during the first run it has to import radio stations from the XML file into the actual database (sqlite). It will take a minute or three, depending on the specs of your machine.

(A dialog box will pop up giving you two choices: (a) create a database with default, built-in radio stations, or (b) create an empty database. Always pick the first option! At the moment you cannot yet add your own stations to the database, so if you choose to create an empty DB, there will be no stations to play.)

Then it will pop up the About dialog box, with a suitable intro. You have been warned! Dismiss the About box and you are ready for...

Listening to internet radio stations:

Currently there are three ways to start playing a station:

1. Press 'U' (or choose Radio -> Open URL) and type or paste a link of a radio station stream. This can be a playlist (m3u, pls, asx, etc.) or a direct stream. (HTTP and MMS protocols only.) Click OK, and if all goes well, the station will start playing. Use this method if the database does not contain the station you want.

2. Press ESC (or choose Radio -> Find station). A dialog box will open where you can search for stations in the database. Type your search text and hit Enter. (Instant search is available through tweaking the config file, but right now it is too slow to be convenient). The search feature will be hugely expanded in future releases! For now, it will just search exactly for the string you type. What you type is what you get. It will look at all the textual data stations have, such as names, genres, taglines, countries, continents, cities, etc. Search for "Cuba" to find Cuban stations. Search for "ambient" to find stations that play ambient music. Search for "Africa", and you'll find stations located there as well as stations whose names might contain that word. And so on. The search dialog box is non-modal, so you can keep it open while the radio is playing.

3. Pick a station from the Favorites menu. Once you have a station playing, you can mark it as favorite by: (a) pressing 'F', (b) right-clicking the main window and picking "Favorite station" from the context menu, and (c) double-clicking the heart icon in the status bar. Do it again to un-favorite the station. Up to 20 favorite stations will show up in the Favorites menu. (Later there will be a proper browser where all the favorites will be displayed).

In case of troubles
Let me know! Click Help -> Show debug log and you will find detailed info about any errors, especially about why a station won't play. There may be plenty of reasons: the server is down, the station URL is incorrect, the station does not exist anymore, the playlist or stream has unsupported format, etc.

Try playing the same station in another player (Winamp, AIMP, Screamer, RadioSure etc.) to see if it works there. Most of these apps are based on the BASS audio library, and so is Ethervane Radio. So in general, if a station won't play in Screamer, it won't play in ER, either. And if Screamer plays it, so should ER.

Some playlist types are not supported yet (xspf, ram, wpl - but they are very rare). I'll add this later. Some audio transport protocols are not supported (e.g. realaudio) - this will not be fixed, unless BASS library adds support for those protocols.

The database does contain some old / invalid / long-gone stations. I have already eliminated about 3,000 stations that do not exist anymore, but still there are duds in the DB. Later there will be an option to hide such stations, so that they don't appear in the search results.

You cannot add or edit stations yet! This will come.

There is no way to configure a proxy, so you can't be using one with ER. (Later.)

The Mute function has not been implemented yet, either...

There are literally hundreds of features missing. In my to-do list I have well over a hundred items, and that's just a list of must-do, absolutely indispensable things, not a "nice to have" wishlist. Please, please, please do not report missing features or tell me what should be added to ER. I already know that :-) This is a very, very early release.

(Actually, I wrote it as a gift for my wife. We both love talk radio, particularly in Spanish, in which she is fluent, while I can barely follow the newscast. That doesn't stop me from listening though!)

That's about it for the truly important stuff.

Added: ER can run as a portable application. Details here.


* EthervaneRadio024.zip (4370.27 KB - downloaded 3299 times.)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 05:34:48 PM by tranglos » Logged

mouser
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010, 10:04:24 PM »

awesome! go for it!  Thmbsup
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 10:13:07 PM »

Wow, that looks great man, if you can apply custom skins so we can do like and old-school steroegram style thing to it, that would plain rock tongue (With the possibility of adding static noise while stations are buffering so it gives users the feel of "Tuning" haha), id use that all day long cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 10:32:28 PM »

Cool stuff, tranglos.  Good luck on the deadline  Thmbsup
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 11:19:51 PM »

I adjusted the Title (we don't allow "last minute" Pledges: just Pledges  tongue)

 Thmbsup
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2010, 11:26:43 PM »

I adjusted the Title (we don't allow "last minute" Pledges: just Pledges  tongue)

 Thmbsup

Perry likes neat and tidy post names Wink
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2010, 11:43:51 PM »

Perry likes neat and tidy post names Wink

 tongue I do!! It also helps with sorting  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2011, 07:41:12 PM »

Just tried the first release.. don't know what to say besides i love it.  There are many cases where i just want to play an international streaming radio station and i love how this is focused on a very simple interface to choosing internet radio stations.  EXCELLENT.

So are Favorites not implemented yet, or did i just not figure out how to use it?
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2011, 07:48:37 PM »

No Favourites, No Memo, No History... but I love it too  Kiss

Will there be even a more minimal interface option?
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tranglos
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2011, 08:08:14 PM »

Thank you, Perry, Mouser! This is exactly how I envisioned it: one click operation. Of course it lacks the polish - e.g. the search window is not at all convenient to use right now, but I'll be working on that.

The Favorites function should already work. Start playing any station, then hit "F" or right-click and choose "Favorite station". The heart icon in the status bar should change color, and the station should now appear under the Favorites menu.

(It will not work if the database cannot be written to.)

« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 08:57:39 PM by tranglos » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2011, 08:11:11 PM »

The Favorites function should already work. Start playing any station, then hit "F" or right-click and choose "Favorite station". The heart icon in the status bar should change color, and the station should now appear under the Favorites menu.


 Thmbsup That works!! Don't know why I couldn't think "F" for "Favourites  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2011, 08:11:53 PM »

No Favourites, No Memo, No History... but I love it too  Kiss

Will there be even a more minimal interface option?

Yes for favorites, and there will certainly be history. The basic code for that is in place, I just have to actually write the history data to the database. I've planned some trickery, e.g. Favorites can be sorted by how often or for how long they have been played... but the history information is not preserved in this version.

More minimal? smiley I haven't thought about it yet. Probably not anything like Winamp's "rolled up" style though, because it cannot be done very well with standard,. non-skinned windows.

I'll talk about skinning later, but the bottom line is, no skins. Standard UI only, that's what works.
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2011, 08:12:57 PM »


 Thmbsup That works!! Don't know why I couldn't think "F" for "Favourites  Wink

Always right-click everything - especially everything written by me smiley I've added the menu command to the main menu too, so it'll be easier to see.
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2011, 08:20:32 PM »

More minimal? smiley I haven't thought about it yet. Probably not anything like Winamp's "rolled up" style though, because it cannot be done very well with standard,. non-skinned windows.

I'll talk about skinning later, but the bottom line is, no skins. Standard UI only, that's what works.

No.. I don't want skins either or visualisations... was just thinking of a smaller window, or more controls in the Task Icon (and hotkeys?).
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tranglos
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2011, 08:22:51 PM »

No.. I don't want skins either or visualisations... was just thinking of a smaller window, or more controls in the Task Icon (and hotkeys?).

Hotkeys definitely - to bring up the main window, start and stop playing. As for the task icon menu, what else do you think should be there?

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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2011, 09:49:33 PM »

Excellent. Downloading the stations DB took a while but it works flawlessly  Thmbsup

Like the interface very much. Thanks.
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2011, 10:08:18 PM »

No.. I don't want skins either or visualisations... was just thinking of a smaller window, or more controls in the Task Icon (and hotkeys?).

Hotkeys definitely - to bring up the main window, start and stop playing. As for the task icon menu, what else do you think should be there?

  • Favourites
  • History
  • Volume

Is it possible to make the volume application specific rather than Global?
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tranglos
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2011, 10:27:01 PM »

Is it possible to make the volume application specific rather than Global?

Planned. (Though I think Mute should always be global, because it is typically used to silence all sounds e.g. when you're taking a phone call). There is already an option to choose whether volume control is global or for the application only, but only the global control works for now.

There's also going to be a way to save and restore volume for individual stations - some play quietly, others are quite loud. It's one of the history-related features.

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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2011, 10:31:31 PM »

There's also going to be a way to save and restore volume for individual stations - some play quietly, others are quite loud. It's one of the history-related features.

 Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup
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tranglos
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2011, 11:06:19 PM »

One thing that's already available and might be useful: portable mode.

ER does not modify the registry in any way. It will automatically set itself to portable mode (database and all config files in the same directory as the program) if you run it from a removable drive, such as a USB drive. However, it can also run in portable mode when installed on a hard disk:

In the same folder as the program, find a small file called master.config. Open it in any text editor and change the line

portable=0

to

portable=1

And save the file. When you start ER, it will again create the database, this time in a folder called 'data' under where the executable is. You can then use the program right there or copy the whole directory to a USB drive, etc. Using ER in portable mode may make it easier to backup the whole installation, including the database.

The only important thing to watch for: if you want to run ER in portable mode from a hard disk, do not install it under "Program Files", because it will not be able to save its configuration or modify the database. Just treat it as any other portable application in this respect.

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« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2011, 11:42:23 PM »

For those who want no GUI, why not make all the functions work on a rightclick context menu that runs only in taskbar.  Obviously, if you wanted to manually input a URL then a window would come up, but it keeps it clean, and hidden Wink

As for things like bookmarking, it could add a new item to menu itself, one click load smiley

In regards to muting being global, allow the user to select program mute, or global mute, as sometimes you might wanna mute the software to watch something on youtube for example.
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2011, 01:18:56 AM »

More minimal? smiley

I was thinking something tiny (but with basic buttons) to tuck away somewhere:


For those who want no GUI, why not make all the functions work on a rightclick context menu that runs only in taskbar.

Yep!!  Thmbsup

In regards to muting being global, allow the user to select program mute, or global mute, as sometimes you might wanna mute the software to watch something on youtube for example.

For radio you generally just stop it I guess  undecided

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tranglos
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2011, 06:37:34 AM »

I was thinking something tiny (but with basic buttons) to tuck away somewhere: (see attachment in previous post)

I like that! There is some tricker involved in making a Delphi application that has multiple, switchable "main" windows, but I think I know how to make it work.

(What did you use to design this screenshot?)
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2011, 02:05:15 PM »


(What did you use to design this screenshot?)


Knowing Perry, he probably just made the form (none-working ofc) lol - I know thats what I would have done....easiest way haha
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« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2011, 03:40:32 PM »

Great idea, great start.

Can't wait until more features are added. :-)

Keep going, I'll follow it for sure :-)
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