Author Topic: Playlist Manager enhancements  (Read 12657 times)

Steven

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regarding possible future changes to the playlist manager discussed on pages 194-195

http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=15050.msg107156#msg107156 and onwards
http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=15050.msg107182#msg107182 and onwards

i am planning to give this some consideration for what would be done for v3.1
I can see where people are coming from for having it as a standalone panel that just has the list of playlists and i am inclined to do this as an additional thing to the current functionality.
I imagine for many people, organising playlists is done infrequently and on an adhoc basis. So having to choose the panel from the panel arrangement dialog is an extra step that makes it harder, so thats why i wouldnt want to get rid of the existing method. To be honest i have been quite surprised at the confusion the existing functionality has caused.
If it were to also make it available as an element, one thing i dont have clear in my head is how to reconcile the info displayed in the main panel (which would be the contents of the selected playlist) with the node the user has currently selected in the left navigator and what the behavior would be if they clicked another node in the left navigator (probably the main panel would show the contents of the most recent clicked thing where that be a playlist or a node in the left navigator).
If anyone wants to throw in new comments or re-iterate something already said then please do. Also think about it from the perspective of somewho who building a new playlist and also from the perspective of someone who just wants to play from an existing playlist
Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 08:56:38 PM by Steven

psychoadept

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If it were to also make it available as an element, one thing i dont have clear in my head is how to reconcile the info displayed in the main panel (which would be the contents of the selected playlist) with the node the user has currently selected in the left navigator and what the behavior would be if they clicked another node in the left navigator (probably the main panel would show the contents of the most recent clicked thing where that be a playlist or a node in the left navigator).
If anyone wants to throw in new comments or re-iterate something already said then please do. Also think about it from the perspective of somewho who building a new playlist and also from the perspective of someone who just wants to play from an existing playlist

I see the conundrum you're talking about, what to show in the main panel.  Personally, I would literally treat playlists manager the same as the playlists node in the navigator - somewhat as now, but without the duplication. If the playlist manager is open, force the playlists in the navigator to be hidden.  Then, if you select a playlist in the playlist manager, you see the playlist and if you selected a node in the navigator, you see that node, exactly as now.  (Either you could only have a selected item in one or the other, or it would be like selecting tracks in the playing tracks list vs the main panel - both items remain "selected" but only the most recent selection is "active".)  And of course the playlists manager would remain visible regardless of whether a playlist was selected.

The playlists manager should have ALL the same functionality as the playlists node, at a bare minimum.  Collapsible folders, right click menu options, etc.  (One thing I've seen the playlist manager doing better is that it puts duplicated playlists right next to the source playlist - definitely keep that!)

Maybe this should be split into a new thread.  :)
Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 09:31:43 PM by psychoadept
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redwing

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Maybe it would be less confusing not to show left navigator and playlist manager at the same time. And no need to make it as another element.
So if you click on playlist manager under playlist section (as now), then left sidebar turns into playlist manager. If you close it down, it turns back to left navigator. Of course it can be also opened as a tab and pinned for easy access (as now).
Then it would need music library node (with filters), audiobooks, inbox, playlist folders, computer, and devices node: all nodes where you can drag and drop files. And make it remember which nodes/folders were collapsed when last used.
If all these get supported, then it could pop out when dragging tracks from main panel in place of the current left navigator.

psychoadept

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Maybe it would be less confusing not to show left navigator and playlist manager at the same time. And no need to make it as another element.
So if you click on playlist manager under playlist section (as now), then left sidebar turns into playlist manager. If you close it down, it turns back to left navigator. Of course it can be also opened as a tab and pinned for easy access (as now).
Then it would need music library node (with filters), audiobooks, inbox, playlist folders, computer, and devices node: all nodes where you can drag and drop files. And make it remember which nodes/folders were collapsed when last used.

I disagree about not needing to make it a separate element.  I would probably auto-hide the navigator and have the playlist manager shown, but they need to coexist in any case.  Having any other nodes in it reduces the amount of space for the playlists, which is the whole point.  I know I'm not the only one who would like to maximize the space for showing playlists.  Plus, why duplicate pieces that are already there and working fine?

Also, having it be an element will be the simplest for new users.  I was disoriented by the fact that once I opened it and had the playlists shown, trying to go to the music node to find things to add to the playlists caused it to close again (unless the playlist manager has nodes, in which case see above).  If it walks like an element and talks like an element...

Quote
If all these get supported, then it could pop out when dragging tracks from main panel in place of the current left navigator.

This could be handy, yes.  Although I imagine it could be tricky figuring out which one to have pop out.  Maybe go with wherever the playlists are.


Edit:

I imagine for many people, organising playlists is done infrequently and on an adhoc basis. So having to choose the panel from the panel arrangement dialog is an extra step that makes it harder, so thats why i wouldnt want to get rid of the existing method. To be honest i have been quite surprised at the confusion the existing functionality has caused.

I've been thinking about this, and I think what happened is that people (me, for sure) expected more of a playlist manager than just organization.  The name "manager" suggests... well, management.  All the current tools, and maybe more.  You stumbled on an unmet desire that was bigger than you first imagined.  :)
Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 11:17:47 PM by psychoadept
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redwing

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I disagree about not needing to make it a separate element.  I would probably auto-hide the navigator and have the playlist manager shown, but they need to coexist in any case. 

When do you think you would need both of left navigator and playlist manager shown if playlist manager supports all source nodes?

Having any other nodes in it reduces the amount of space for the playlists, which is the whole point.  I know I'm not the only one who would like to maximize the space for showing playlists.

Lots of people are dragging source files from computer folders rather than from music node or filters. Also why not support dragging files to devices as it's basically the same function as dragging to playlists?

Plus, why duplicate pieces that are already there and working fine?

You can say that about playlists as well.

Also, having it be an element will be the simplest for new users.  I was disoriented by the fact that once I opened it and had the playlists shown, trying to go to the music node to find things to add to the playlists caused it to close again (unless the playlist manager has nodes, in which case see above).  If it walks like an element and talks like an element...

I'm not strictly against making it as an element. Just thought making it as a different mode of left navigator would work simpler as then it won't show up along with left navigator. Also I don't see any reason why it would be more difficult for new users to use.

psychoadept

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When do you think you would need both of left navigator and playlist manager shown if playlist manager supports all source nodes?

See comments about maximizing space for playlists.

Lots of people are dragging source files from computer folders rather than from music node or filters. Also why not support dragging files to devices as it's basically the same function as dragging to playlists?

All of the above would work exactly as they do now, although I could see dragging to a navigator node running into a conflict of whether to pop it out or not.  But if they're going to be doing that a lot, the user would probably close the playlist manager anyway.

You can say that about playlists as well.

Did you see my comment about hiding the playlists node?  The result would be having more space for playlists AND for other navigator elements.


I'm not strictly against making it as an element. Just thought making it as a different mode of left navigator would work simpler as then it won't show up along with left navigator. Also I don't see any reason why it would be more difficult for new users to use.

That's always an option if the panels are stackable.
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redwing

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People would have different preferences about what nodes should be available on the playlist manager. It could have a setting where each kind of nodes (library filters, computer, devices, etc.) is tickable to show up.

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I can see where people are coming from for having it as a standalone panel that just has the list of playlists and i am inclined to do this as an additional thing to the current functionality.

I guess that would be similar to the way iTunes handles playlists now, as seen here:
http://core0.staticworld.net/images/article/2012/12/playlists-view-100017934-orig.png

I'm wondering how the playlist manager will deal with library filters, for instance will it inherit its filter from the left navigator?
Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 03:19:15 AM by Alumni

redwing

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Forgot to mention one thing. Sometimes it's hard to show both a source node and a target node (say a playlist) on the same screen without scrolling especially when both are nested deeply in folders. So it would be great if it has separate panels - source nodes (library, inbox, computer, etc.) at the top & target nodes (playlists, devices) at the bottom. Of course the height of each panel need to be adjustable, and it won't be separated unless at least one from both nodes are activated. Again, I am against the idea of showing left navigator and playlist manager side by side (as now) as it's waste of space.

psychoadept

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Again, I am against the idea of showing left navigator and playlist manager side by side (as now) as it's waste of space.

And again, some of us WANT the extra space.  If it was two panels, they could be stacked.  I'll leave that alone, now. :)
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sleepless

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For me the issue has always been organization and space. Originally I saw the library nodes in the PM as unneccessary because there are other ways to bring tracks into a playlist, but I understand that some people prefer to drag/drop tracks directly into the PM. Maybe dragging a track into the playlist tab could open the PM? Anyway the way I see it, the most important feature here is collapsable folders, which will create a more organized and spacious manager. I wouldn't mind the library nodes in the manager if they are located in a single collapsible Library folder.

I don't mind the element idea. This might sound dumb, but I would LOVE to be able to stack multiple managers. So that selecting a stacked tab in the PM header would display another category/group of playlists, the same way different elements are selected/displayed in a panel. Playlists are a powerful tool in MB, so having a hundred of them really isn't far-fetched. I recently created my podcast's archives as playlists, so I would love to have a tab just for those. I also like to create a "top-rated" playlist for many of the artists in my library, so another tab just for those would be fantastic, etc... Combined with the collapsible folders, it would make storing and retreiving playlists a dream.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to whatever improvements are decided.

alec.tron

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Heya,
great topic, as playlist management (for Serato/Traktor/Rekordbox via iTuns.xml & m3u for local organising) is one of the main reasons I adopted MusicBee.
The one thing I found most confusing, and haven't seen a good explanation as to why - what is/was the purpose of the Playlist Manager (which the navigator-playlist way couldn't supply) ?

As for general things around playlists, I scribbled some down here:
http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=15050.msg107269#msg107269
mostly about inconsistencies between the 2 that confused me as a new user.

Additionally, when talking about playlists in general, these would be most welcome changes/features (imo):

MusicBee playlists & iTunes export should be in sync (organizational folders from MusicBee's playlists aren't exported into iTunes .xml ):
http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=15165.msg106668#msg106668

UFT formatting (as user options ?) - iTunes xml & m3u files - some programs need these to be UTF-8 (Without BOM) as natively written by iTunes, whereas MusicBee writes both in UTF-8 With BOM encoding:
http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=17948.msg107446#msg107446

Playlist - persistent/static VS dynamic (as a user setting):
Not sure where this was, but Steven changed this for static playlists to allow dead entries for static/persistent playlists (Thanks for that btw!)

I still have to work more with MusicBee's playlists... I'm still in the process of re-organizing my library (first in 8 years... had a good system, but could be improved, so doing that now...)... but next will be a huge playlist re-linking task, for which I'll use MusicBee extensively.
Cheers.
c.

Steven

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i think what i will do is provide some way in which the Playlists section of the left navigator can be moved to the left main panel (and back again).
When that is done, the left navigator would only contain a single "Playlists" node and you would be able to navigate to other nodes in the left navigator and the Playlists section would remain in the left navigator.
I havent figured out the mechanism by which the user indicates the Playlists node should split out. I dont think drag/drop would suffice - it needs to be something more obvious for someone who hasnt read this post. And it would not be done via the Panel Arrangement dialog.
For users who have the left navigator hidden (the default for new users), the Playlists when docked in the left main panel would also include Library, Audiobooks, etc nodes as now with the existing Playlist Manager so they can drag files from the library into playlist(s)

redwing

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When that is done, the left navigator would only contain a single "Playlists" node and you would be able to navigate to other nodes in the left navigator and the Playlists section would remain in the left navigator.

You meant left main panel there, right?

I havent figured out the mechanism by which the user indicates the Playlists node should split out. I dont think drag/drop would suffice - it needs to be something more obvious for someone who hasnt read this post. And it would not be done via the Panel Arrangement dialog.

Current playlist manager node would work fine. If the user clicks on it, playlist node on the left navigator would only contain Auto-DJ node, and the rest of playlist node would move to the left main panel.

Steven

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When that is done, the left navigator would only contain a single "Playlists" node and you would be able to navigate to other nodes in the left navigator and the Playlists section would remain in the left navigator.

You meant left main panel there, right?
yes thats right, although i am having seconds thoughts about doing it because I think "Edit Playlists" as described following should mean the Playlist Manager panel wouldnt need to be locked in the left main panel.

I was having a look at the latest iTunes and how it does things generally and for playlists. I have to say generally i didnt like it at all except for the "Edit Playlists" button which i think i will do the same ie. click Edit Playlist, and the playlist moves to the right sidebar and the music library (or whatever left navigator node you select) shows in the main panel. So you can easily drag tracks into the playlist. That way i can get rid of the 3 library nodes that currently display at the bottom of the Playlist Manager

For those of you who wanted the Playlist Manager as a separate element, given what i just said, is there a strong reason for still having that?
To be clear, while I am not opposed to this and can see ways it increases flexibility, i do think having it as an element will create some confusion, so i want to be sure there is a genuine need thats not covered by whats already there now or proposed above.

Just to recap what i am currently thinking:
- click on Playlist Manager moves the playlist nodes into the left main panel (differs from the current behavior which has the playlists in two places)
- click on any other node in the left navigator closes the Playlist Manager panel and the playlists move back into the left sidebar. I am not completely comfortable which these first two points but its the best i can think of for now.
- new Edit Playlists button as described above
- remove the library nodes from the Playlist Manager panel
- probably make the Playlist Manager panel also available as an element