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The new Pandora: Slick new HTML5 design (techcrunch.com)
124 points by stuti90 on July 12, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments

If anyone wants a way to avoid the Flash site now, be sure to check out pianobar[0] and/or Pithos[1]. I've been using them for years in my attempts to completely avoid Flash usage (VLC for YouTube, Vimeo, etc.).

0: http://6xq.net/projects/pianobar/

1: http://kevinmehall.net/p/pithos/

When did VLC add Vimeo support? Love that feature for YouTube (just wish I could set a "max resolution" to play - that is, my computer/internet connection can't handle 1080p and VLC always plays at the highest resolution possible).

youtube and vimeo both offer html5 solutions now anyway..

For Some Value Of HTML5.

News like this annoys me. Pandora has the feature and I can't have it. I see the announcement and go to check out the feature and can't opt in. Tomorrow when I get back to work I'm going to completely forget about it and three weeks from now when they release it to my account I'll never know.

You make a good point. There's no utility in announcing that you're going to redesign something. When it's ready, launch it and then get feedback. It's 2011, screenshots don't cut it anymore.

The new HTML5 layout looks incredibly slick. Whats even more amazing than the layout is the fact that they were able to pull this off while going through an IPO and without making a mess of their current service.

I don't have access to the new design...but does anyone know if they abandoned Flash completely? Meaning, are they actually using HTML5 <audio> or using Flash to play the music?

From the article:

"Conrad credits his 'incredible engineering team' for pulling off this transition from Flash dependance to HTML5. And while it’s clear that the Flash addiction has been kicked, Conrad notes that they continue to have fall-back Flash elements for browsers not fully HTML5-compliant."

Honestly, even if they still used Flash to play music and did the rest in HTML it would still be a huge improvement.

It is almost certainly flash. They would be creating an unsolvable security problem if they used the audio tag unfortunately.

Security problem or DRM problem? I've never heard the audio tag was a security issue.

Since Firefox does not support MP3 or AAC, and IE/Safari do not support OGG they would have to do it in Flash unless they are transcoding server side or only supporting certain browsers.

The reason why they don't go full <audio> and whatever is not because of compatibility. It's about security and copyright infringement. It would be free downloads for all and that would make all the RIAA execs they have deals with very mad.

See Froiveshark's cowpewter comment here which goes into better detail about why they did what they did: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1968668

Are you sure about your claim? The article explicitly claims that they are using HTML5 for audio, with a flash fallback mechanism.

On pandora.com/newpandora it says "The front-end technology has been rebuilt in HTML 5" but doesn't mention anything about the actual playing of the audio.

The whole point of HTML5 tags like <audio> are to make content completely open. Unfortunately, that's the exact opposite of what what any major record label wants. I'm pretty sure they'll use flash in the background to play the audio, even if the entire site all the way down to the progress bar are HTML5.

Checking out the "old" Flash site, any experienced Flash developer could have prevented that prolonged 10 second delay. It's not the tool, it's the talent. That delay must have been a business decision (i.e. make it all load up front no matter what).

Is there a way to start using this now? For Pandora One subscribers, even?

Email them and ask politely? According to the second paragraph of the article, they're doing a gradual transition over the next few weeks, beginning with Pandora One subscribers. There doesn't seem to be a way to opt-in to get it immediately.

For reasons that are entirely based in my own personal tastes the Pandora UI has always been a turn-off. The service has been great (aside from hearing the same Home-Depot ad 5+ times an hour). Tip of the hat for the great work on this new design.

Now, why can't I use it right now? The current site scales just fine. They know how to scale the service. What's holding it back? Is it not ready?

thank goodness! I was honestly preparing to write an article on why and how a multi-billion dollar valued tech company could have a site that wasn't crisp to use or nice to look at. but it looks like pandora beat me to the punch, and that's a good thing!

On the other hand, Pandora is a lot like Twitter in that the actual website isn't as important as the service they provide. I use the Pandora Air app, their app in Boxee, the Pandora iPhone app, etc, and basically never go to the site itself.

yeah, that is the nice thing about it. but still, to someone just signing up, a flash box doesn't scream 2011.

Same here. It blows my mind that such an ugly broken website got so popular, but city41 is right. Pandora, like Twitter, is more about the service it provides than the web interface. I rarely directly visit pandora.com or twitter.com, but use the mobile apps all the time.

Once again using HTML5 as code for Javascript. Somehow I like that people do that, makes my job more misterious.

yawn still US only, no service in Canada. Back to Grooveshark or Rdio. Carry on.

Will the slick new design allow me to use the service in Canada again? :(

A proxy will.

Or just use Grooveshark.

Grooveshark is nice, but it's recommendation system is nowhere as good as Pandora's.

Yeah, I love Grooveshark but their recommendations are bad. I'd love to try Pandora. Not having much choice I'm happy with iTunes on desktop, Double Twist and Grooveshark for mobile. I've dipped my toe in Google and Amazon music but I had to jump through proxying hoops just like I would have to w/ Pandora, so none of those pan out till they really service Canada.

We have last.fm in Canada too, I forgot about them. I hear there are other choices but I haven't heard of any. Would love to hear if anyone reading this knows of them.

I live in Ottawa and listen to Pandora a lot, actually ;)

very true, but with the last.fm scrobbling its not to bad. I just go to last.fm and see what it recommends and then check it out on gs.

Have you tried Slacker? I find their 'stations' and discovery to be better than Pandora, and they have a larger selection of music.

And it works in Canada. Thanks for the tip.

Mad respect for Pandora, been an avid One user for years, this is great.

Note to Rdio & Grooveshark: this would be enough of a reason for me to jump ship to Pandora, if Pandora was available in Canada.

Grooveshark has had[0] a very sharp HTML5 interface for several months now. Here's a story[1] on HN from 220 days ago with discussion about it. Pandora is very late to the game.

[0] http://m.lifehacker.com/5705712/grooveshark-pushes-out-a-new...

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1968362

Grooveshark is already available with HTML. They use flash behind the scenes to play back the audio, but that's it. Pandora will most likely be very similar.

Didn't know that, thanks. When I go to grooveshark.com I get "We had a problem loading Flash." on a mostly blank screen, which is pretty much exactly what I get on RDIO.

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