Fist impressions can never be reproduced, so I'm typing this as I go along:
1) Welcome dialog is... out of place. The design is not consistent with Apple UI guidelines, I can't tell the three options are buttons.
2) The cancel button on the welcome dialog looks like an odd man out. It's just floating there in the center, and I think the caption (cancel) is also something you can improve.
3) I think the now-playing thing in the sidebar needs to be pushed down by ~60 pixels, basically starting under the main bar across the rest of the screen. It's not very symmetric the way it is now. You should also have a divider between the close buttons and the now playing section - see Chrome.app for a good example of doing it smoothly.
4) Playlists: now change when I hover over the entries, I was expecting them to go blue. Clicking on them has no effect, I must double-click. non-intuitive.
5) I love the statistics and charts in History, but I wonder if the name is accurate? I'm seeing a breakdown of my music collection, but the only "true" history tab is "Recently Played" which is also given the least prominence.
6) When starting the app, the whitespace stretching from under the now playing section to the bottom of the screen in the sidebar is jarring. It doesn't look nice empty, I'm assuming something will show up there at some point in my playing around with it.
7) Playlists uses an entirely different UI from Library. I like Library's detail view drilldown. I think something like that should be used for the playlists too. See point #4.
That's all for now. May update later with more feedback.
Good work. It looks very promising. I love that it's fast and not-bloated.
No way to turn off Growl messages? Oops.
Add Playlist -> then press esc. The playlist gets added anyway with the default name.
Playlist list needs right-click functionality, even if it's the same menu that shows up when clicking the cog. Don't disappoint your users expectations as to how an interface will act.
Playlist tab's "Add Playlist" pretends to be a tab but it's actually a button. Very confusing. Don't do that - buttons are buttons, tabs are tabs. Even if they're right-aligned.
I think you have a bug when you turn on repeat and shuffle in the middle of a song. When the song ends, it will be repeated immediately, then everything works out.
You should be able to turn them off from the Growl preference pane. I was always under the impression that this was the recommended way to do things, the idea being to have a central place to control them. Now that full Growl costs money and people start using Mist (which as far as I know has no central pref pane to turn off notifications) I guess devs will have to start adding individual Growl options to every app.
All good points! Regarding #3: I actually like this look. The primary divider is simply shifted from being top/bottom to left/right, and the album art gets to have the most prominent real estate. Perhaps it's just a matter of taste.
No, they're not. There are Apple-published UI guidelines, there are decades of User Interface research, and there are time-motion studies to back what I'm saying.
FWIW, I've been paid thousands of dollars as an outside consultant to just look at an app provide my initial feedback. If it were just whimsical, subjective musings, I can assure that would not be the case.
This is phenomenal. Were you a Windows Media Plyaer v8-v11 user? The playlist on the side reminds me of my favorite feature from the WMP8 days, where I could queue up music even while another album played. It was wonderful, and when I went Mac full-time nearly a decade ago, I lost the easy queueing in iTunes (where I had to create a playlist every single time).
Bravo, this is a great app and I would love to support it. I'd be willing to pay $39, but that may just be me. I'm going to switch to it full-time and see what happens.
And I don't need the same piece of software to handle my iPhone and my music library. Don't bother supporting iPhone sync, it's just not part of the value of a good music player. I can open iTunes when I sync (and now with iOS 5, I don't think I'll ever need to manually sync again).
If you want a gratis NewsBlur premium account, let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. It's the only way I know to actually pay you for such great software.
It imported my little "other" iTunes Library of about 1,500 songs, albeit with some stalls. However, for my main 20,000 song library it just crashes out.
I hate to say it considering the other feedback, but I'm not a fan of the UI. The giant words instead of icons, off colour and sort of grafted on now playing box, and no ability to hide the "browser" all put me off pretty strongly. Integrated preferences was a bad choice, too IMO. That's a good lazy solution for an app like Chrome to support all platforms, but for a proper OS X app I see no reason to avoid a standard prefs window. Prefs shouldn't be given equal prominence to actual application functions. In fact, because you are using words instead of icons and "Preferences" is such a long word, you are actually giving it greater prominence.
I'm lost as to the purpose of the sidebar. I get that it jumps to the currently playing album, but why can I scroll around to other unrelated albums? It's like there are two completely independent browsing frames in this window. Plus I can delete things in the other frame with the "x" button, but they just go away temporarily until I start playing a song again... I just don't get it.
Honestly, besides startup time, iTunes does everything this does better and it does it with a more refined UI. I know the standard response is "great job! can't wait to see the progress!" but I feel like I need to be honest. There are a million iTunes replacements and companions out there. They all suffer from requiring more effort to manage two music playing apps and offer dubious benefit. They all have small dedicated user bases but they never take the platform by storm like they seem to be hoping to. I'll keep it around as I would like to see if it can handle a 20,000 song library with future updates, but I don't see myself using it over iTunes. Sorry.
EDIT - Before you reply about the draw of features like extended filetype support, last.fm and queuing, consider that almost every iTunes replacement/companion (and there literally are dozens of them) has these features already. That's also a reason to take comments like "Can't stand iTunes bloat, definitely interested!" with a grain of salt. If these people were actually receptive to change, they most likely would have switched to an alternative long ago.
The sidebar is a "now playing" playlist and I think the most interesting part of the app. When you double click a song it copies the current library into the sidebar. It lets you edit the order things get played, or what gets shuffled. You can drag and drop songs in and out of it.
You can hide the browser by right clicking the header and selecting 'hidden'.
> The sidebar is a "now playing" playlist and I think the most interesting part of the app.
Why is mine filled with things that aren't playing and I haven't played? If that is its intended purpose, then it needs to convey that a little better by not filling it with other unrelated content for no reason. As someone who rarely uses sub-lists and typically just flips around the main library, copying the entire existing library to the sidebar isn't a great idea. I get it for playlists and other subsections, not so much for the entire unfiltered library.
> You can hide the browser by right clicking the header and selecting 'hidden'.
Good call, although this is a UI issue in and of itself. No function like that should be hidden behind a right click, something many Mac OS X users don't even know how to do.
I'm having trouble putting it in words. Maybe thats a bad sign. Its kind of like the iTunes DJ but not really. I can tell you that nothing in there is unrelated. Imagine the main library is a completely separate entity from the 'player'. The music player plays from the sidebar. You fill the sidebar with songs from the library.
And yeah I probably should add a menu item for hiding the browser.
I got that in a second reading, and I edited my comment accordingly, here is the relevant bit:
> As someone who rarely uses sub-lists and typically just flips around the main library, copying the entire existing library to the sidebar isn't a great idea. I get it for playlists and other subsections, not so much for the entire unfiltered library.
I guess it's not so simple if the app is built around that concept. I always use my main library and rarely have an urge to structure a queue, so maybe it's just not the app for me.
I love the design! I especially like that the Now Playing functionality is so prominent. While I like iTunes as a media database and sync tool, it's bloat-tastic as a music player, and I've wanted something faster and cleaner for years now.
I have a question, though: Does this perpetually read or write from the iTunes library XML, or is the import a one-time affair? I use the hell out of ratings and smart playlists, and I want Enqueue to run side-by-side with iTunes rather than replacing it. (i.e., iTunes to manage music, Enqueue to play it back.)
Regardless, this is fantastic work, and I look forward to the finished version. This app is something I would definitely be happy to pay for.
It's great to see a new entry into the OS X music player ecosystem.
As a fan of "classical" music, may I make a couple of feature requests — which would actually make me switch from iTunes?
1. Multiple artist tag support. I want to tag tracks by orchestra, conductor, soloist(s), and to search by each independently. This would be a killer feature.
2. Grouping tracks by composition. The movements of a symphony are not "songs", they belong together by default, but it should be possible to select one separately from the others. This can be forced into iTunes by careful naming conventions, but first-class support for the distinction between "composition" and "parts of a composition" would be welcome.
You don't need iPhone / iPod sync functionality. All you need is for Enqueue to sync back to the iTunes library. So when you change a rating or playlist in Enqueue, it should automatically update the iTunes library and the change should be reflected in iTunes.
Then I can just use iTunes to sync my iPhone / iPod.
I've so far tried Cog, iTunes, Winamp for Mac, Fidelia and a couple of other ones (Songbird).
All fail on either two things:
1) FLAC support
2) Ability to handle a very large collection effortlessly, and easily (scan & import, search & play)
On Linux and Windows I've been spoilt for choice with players, but iTunes dominance on Mac has meant that few players have matured enough to offer a compelling alternative.
With Enqueue it's as if you've been doing this maturing in private and now have arrived with all of the basic requirements taken care of and done well. You've nailed all of the core expectations without being distracted by bells and whistles (just take a look at Fidelia's UI and then remember it fails to import more than a couple of thousand tracks per import cycle - they missed what's important, getting your music in there in the first place).
So well done, seriously well done. If I hadn't just put myself on a literal ramen-budget diet I would right now be trying to badger you for your paypal to send you some money.
More than anything, you've just made my experience of being on a Mac considerably better.
This is a good program. I'm glad to see the return of the genre->artist->album browser that was trashed from iTunes some years ago. For several years now I have not been using iTunes as I find it too frustrating to find my music. I now realize that a big part of that was the loss of the 3 column search. Looking at a dozen out of a thousand 512x512 icons most of which are empty at a time to try to find things and hovering above them and jiggling the mouse to see secret sub views a la iMovie 6 just never did it for me. (Current iTunes is horrible UX IMO.)
At first blush, this seems absolutely delightful. I'd second most of ComputerGuru's critiques and add that:
1. I find it odd that Preferences is a tab versus its own dialog. I shouldn't need to access it that often, so I don't think it merits the same visual prominence as my library or playlists.
2. If you stick with the all-in-one window approach, it seems like you should fold the "About" and "Check for Updates" dialogs into the main window, possibly as siblings to the Preferences items.
3. I wish the currently playing song was visually highlighted in the main library view.
4. I can't seem to enqueue an entire playlist from the top level Playlists screen.
5. There's no intuitive way to go "back" after drilling into a Playlist's detailed view.
6. There's no easy way to look at the contents of several playlists one after another.
I feel like 5 and 6 could be solved by redesigning the top level playlists view to include both the lists of playlists and their contents, a la the Library view. I get the impression that ComputerGuru wants something similar in his note #7.
I really like this. As a primary user of Linux, however, mpd has been my default audio player of choice for some time now. Ario has been my client, and could stand to be improved. Any chance you might open-source this in the future so that the GUI might be shanghaied into an mpd client?
Good work, like it a lot! I've really missed having an easy-to-use queue in iTunes, it's great to see it put front and center.
A bit of (hopefully) constructive criticism:
I don't think you should add a whole album to the queue when I double-click on a single song; I expect just that song to go in the queue. I like that double-clicking an album cover adds the whole album to the queue though.
Support for podcasts is really important! I guess this is something you just haven't got to yet?
The things that would be a barrier to me leaving iTunes for this are podcasts, AirPlay & the iTunes store. If you had support for the first two and a bi-directional sync with the iTunes library, that'd be enough to convert me because I really like the experience of using this program & I think you've got a lot of things very right.
A lot of my covers don't show up. I think it's the ones I downloaded through iTunes automatically.
You could consider adding a feature I think iTunes has been missing for years, a "cue up" button that will set a song to play after the current one is over.
When there's nothing playing, I feel like the blank album cover is pointless.
When the albums for an artist show up in the sidebar, clicking on once should expand it, not just highlight it. I'd rather not click on the arrow if it's already taking up all that screen space, because highlighting it doesn't really do anything.
2. Will "import" copy all my music into a new directory? That should be explicitly mentioned (whether it does or not).
3. Love the fade in and fade out on pause. Is that time configurable? Also, a feature I've wanted forever is the ability to crossfade into a new song. Abrupt stops and starts are so bad at parties, etc.
4. Need tooltips on the "×" and gear icons in the bottom left. Also I wasn't expecting for the "×" to remove things from my playlist. And those need to look more like buttons.
5. The play/pause/next/prev buttons need work.
6. "Add to playlist" should have a "New..." option in it.
7. Love the concept of "History." Lots of cool directions to go here.
8. The info pane is cool but what's with the striped background?
9. I tried to drag songs from the Queue to a playlist. Gone, oops! And there's no undo!
10. How do I play a playlist? Double clicking doesn't seem to work.
Nice. I think you should be VERY up front about why this beats iTunes though as this is essentially supposed to be a replacement for a 1st party app that literally everyone uses. Can I sync my iPhone? I REALLY like that there's FLAC support.
iPhone sync is always going to be difficult: you are forever chasing a moving target, although the libimobiledevice and libgpod guys have done a great job. The encryption used to sign the music database on devices released after iOS4(+original iPad) hasn't been cracked yet (they changed it from the previous versions), although you can edit a file to tell the device to use the old db encryption if you have jailbroken your phone (I've not tested this with iPhone4S; things may have changed again). Building a product around the feature is probably unwise — Apple is a capricious master.
(Disclaimer: I develop a competing os x music player which can add music to (some) iOS devices)
Thanks very much for sharing the compiled version. That's too bad that you are not interested in open sourcing it, but of course it's your software and your decision. Keep up the great work, I'm excited so see how it turns out.
The app is very nice looking, and already packs quite a good amount of features. Special mention to the import from iTunes (although not playlists?), global hotkeys, visualisation of most played stuff, Growl integration... The monitored folders look really cool too.
That said, iTunes+GimmeSomeTune already gives me those features and a killer one: iPod sync. In my case, Enqueue doesn't have quite different features enough to make me switch completely from iTunes (yet?).
It's already very good work though, and the development seems to be going strong. Keep up the good work!
I like the fact that the tabs have no icons, but rather large and readable labels. I do tire of everything being an icon these days and appreciate the effort you took to make them aesthetically pleasing.
I'd like it that when I add a song no more than the song is added to my now playing list. When I double-clicked a song it filled the whole thing with my library. Sometimes I want to play just specific songs and not their albums either. At least it's easy to collapse and remove all other albums.
I didn't find the welcome dialog out of place, though there needed to be a little more indication that they're buttons. (I'm fine but my mom would be totally confused over what to do.)
I'm not a big user of AirPlay or Podcasts, though I would probably use the latter feature more.
Keep up the good work. I already like Enqueue better than iTunes. You've definitely caught my attention! If you keep to a similar UI and don't bloat the application I'd probably even pay for it (which is really saying something because I'm a bit of a cheapskate).
Nice. I was using VLC because there's no decent free player (until now) with FLAC etc. support. Global hotkeys worked after I set them in preferences (very nice, since I don't know how to set app hotkeys that work globally using Services keyboard shortcuts).
It seems quite usable as-is.
Request: use replaygain metadata (also, less important, create it)
Request: detect duplicate files (ideally, by actual audio stream, or file content exclusive of metadata, but with file content duplicates is fine too).
Request: sync ratings/playlists (handling different directory/filenames/metadata by hash of content?)
(less important): play order: random-avoid-repeating-last-N (not pure shuffle), repeat-one
A question: When you import from a location do you consider playlists and audio files?
It seems if you have a folder /music/album/ and inside are the audio files for the album and a playlist for this album that your app would create an entry in library for all items on playlist and the files thus duplicating.
iTunes used to do this but I believe now consolidates.
A few things from my first impression.
1. Importing music did not seem to show a progress dialog of any sort. For a user with a large library this may not be desirable.
2. The equalizer is a nice feature. Adding some more presets to the equalizer may be nice. Most come with a slew . (nit picking)
3. Playlist/History/Preferences areas should be the full width like the library window is. Those 3 areas feel out of place in consideration with the rest of the app.
4. Nice work, you just found a new user! Let me know you would like a guinea pig. Happy to help if I can! (Development or feedback.)
Just a question: how can I switch to a side panel, like the first screenshot on the site? I find it mildy annoying having the screen split in two.
Other than that, I love this app. I'm using it to (re)build my music library, something I had pending to do for a long time. Hope you keep working on it, there still a lot to do (dupes, auto-tagging using external databases, syncing back with iTunes, cover download, folder managing…) but I love it and will use it daily. Thanks a lot for your work!
He managed to do what apps like Songbird haven't been able to accomplish in years, finally I see a quick non bloated but feature rich music player on OSX.
The only missing thing if you ask, a quick way to set the song I am currently listening on auto-repeat, usually you just click the repeat button once more and it shows a "1" on it, it's better to avoid to have the user create a one song playlist for that.
Do you have any plans for better iTunes library 'sync' support (i.e. delta updates from a changed iTunes library after initial import, and maybe even writing your changes back to iTunes)? I understand the long-term technical challenges involved, especially since Apple can (and will) change the file format just to mess with you. But for me, at least (although I suspect this would be true for many), this would be a critical feature to really switch. Mostly because iTunes is always going to be the bottleneck for syncing to my iPhone, which I use extensively for music.
That said, I think this is a really awesome effort. iTunes has definitely become way too bloated, so it's great to see a serious alternative being attempted.
1. Consider putting preferences in their own window. This is the standard Mac behavior, and it's a little confusing to have your app do something different. You could also use the standard preferences toolbar look.
2. The artwork for your playback controls looks off. Specifically, I think the anti-aliasing of the circles looks uneven.
3. For the gear menu at the bottom left corner of the window, consider adding a little arrow like in Mail.app. That helps me know that this is a dropdown menu.
4. I had no idea what the X would do in the bottom left corner of the window the first time I pressed it.
5. Tooltips would help. You don't seem to have tooltips anywhere.
6. I was very surprised that spacebar didn't control play/pause and was even more surprised that there is no keyboard shortcut for play/pause. EDIT: It appears that spacebar does control playback. Maybe I had a focus issue before. But it would still be nice to see it in the menu. :)
7. Having "Library", "Playlists", etc. at the top of the window is interesting, but ultimately I think you'd do better with a standard look/feel. Consider using the standard selected toolbar item look. (See the preferences of almost any Mac app to see what I mean.)
8. This is very minor, but you have an extra menu item divider at the bottom of the View menu.
9. The album artwork of the currently playing song (top left corner) looks very slightly off-center. I think there's one more pixel on the right side than the left.
Looks very cool. I can't wait to try it out. My biggest gripe against iTunes has always been speed.
Small tidbit of advice: Developer Terin Stock seems to have overcome the media key dilemma with his GSDesktopHelper app which allows Grooveshark to hijack the media keys when it is running (If it is not running, the add-on does nothing).
Wow, excellent experience importing my library from iTunes. One click and 30 seconds, and it was done. Loved it.
Has all the features that I need, without the extra bloat of iTunes. Perfect.
All it needs is a more beautiful, polished UI. Currently even iTunes looks better, but if you improve the aesthetics, you've beaten iTunes in every way. (Hint: Maybe take a leaf from the book of Sparrow, the Mac Gmail client.) Also, a mini-mode that simply shows the Now Playing list with a search bar to add new tracks.
Nice, now that you don't really need iTunes to sync iOS devices I've been shopping for an alternative player. My only request would be a "fob" mode that minimizes the player to a small controller view.
Good work, looking forward to the official release!