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Winamp 2 in HTML5 (jordaneldredge.com)
299 points by jazzychad on Nov 6, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 105 comments

Ah Winamp. I still use it today.

Justin Frankel is one of my role models as far as how to 'live the dream' goes. He built something great, cashed out young, avoided becoming a tech celebrity, stayed a curious geek and just carried on doing what he loves. The fact winamp is still around and keeping people happy all these years later is the icing on the cake (and proof, if any were needed, that he deserved all the success he got). Justin Frankel really did whip the llama's ass.

He got a lot of crap at AOL for developing gnutella and other programs like WASTE. It was pretty contentious for a few years.

Ah yes, forgot about WASTE. His corporate disobedience with gnutella etc. made me respect him even more. TBH I think everyone saw the writing on the wall as soon as they bought Winamp... difficult to picture JF happily sitting in a cubicle all day and listening to weekly management stand ups o_O

Ah, XMMS. I still use it today.

Audacious is the new XMMS.

to quote a previous post of mine:

I have a special place in my heart for Winamp's classic UI (Winamp 2). In my opinion, it was the most intuitive interface for a music player. it had a playlist, equalizer, plugins, all of which were condensable to a fraction of it's full size. Of course, now there are a number of similar players that have the same capabilities, but shit, Winamp 2.x was where it started. Even today, it blows todays iTunes interface way out of the water.

An absolute yes to this! That's why my install of Audacious uses a Winamp 2.x skin--it just makes sense. The rectangles, the beautiful alignment of playing data, equalizer, and playlist... It can never be eclipsed.

This has inspired me to figure a way to get my Wine'd Foobar2K to look like Winamp 2. There's probably a helpful article on that somewhere.

Would you say it really whips the llama's ass?



Plugins? Check. Highly configurable? Check. Showing and hiding the playlist in a movable window at the click of a button? Plenty of visualization and information windows, all open at the same time if you want? Check. Early 90s? Check! :) Though I won't claim Eagleplayer and Delitracker invented that stuff, they were just the first audio players I used a lot.

It's really a pity Deliplayer for Windows isn't developed anymore... it could have gone places I'm sure.

Winamp was the only thing that I missed when I moved from Windows to OS X years ago. I tried to use VLC as a replacement, but it wasnt the same.

I still use XMMS, which has a very similar UI. Because I love it. (I tried Audacious but it was slower and had unicode character problems, and similar problems with XMMS2)

I don't know about the entirety of Unicode characters, but I've been using Audacious since version ~3.1 in 2011 (now 3.4.3) and it's never had any problems displaying Japanese and Korean characters--if you're not using the Winamp 2 theme with bitmapped fonts.

Has anyone really thought iTune's UI design was ever good?

I've posted it here before, but Ars Technica wrote an excellent longform article about Winamp's rise and fall: http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/06/winamp-how-greatest-...

I'm always amazed how whenever an acquisition like that happens, the parent company almost always screws it up in some boneheaded fashion. You bought that company because what they were doing was working, your only job is to not fuck it up.

I'm always amazed by this too but I've worked at enough places to see how it happens.

Security says "This new thing has to use our approved login system".

Ops says "This new thing has to run on our servers/VMs".

Eng says "This new thing has to use Technology X so it fits in with everything else".

Nobody needs to have bad intentions but the weight of all that slows it down and makes it un-fun for the original team and the new people who take it over don't care that much about it because it came from outside.

Yep, that's exactly how the takeover went at the last place I was working that was acquired. Lots of promises that nothing would change, except, well, this one small thing... to fit into company policy you understand...

I think somehow management sees the assets and wants to capitalize on them, without bothering to understand the process that created the assets in the first place (whether those are people or products). It's like if they took over a farm and harvested all the wheat without planting any seeds, and then wondered why they weren't getting crops anymore.

I just think it's amazing how frequently corporations will buy an asset for millions or billions with apparently no idea how the entity actually works. I mean if I were going to spend a few million on a company, I'd want to know how and why it's been successful, I wouldn't just want to acquire a "brand" that would get immediately tarnished.

Discovering this kind of stuff is what makes HN so awesome! This brings back so many memories. Thanks for releasing this.

Sadly, Winamp went completely downhill from here (IMHO) and the subsequent versions never felt as minimal as this version. AIMP[0] comes pretty close and is a good enough clone of winamp if you're interested.

[0] - http://www.aimp2.us/

I'd love a version of Winamp 2 that works on OS X.

I loved how minimal and fast it was. You didn't need to import and manage your media, just drag a folder onto it and blam, it's playing. Nice keyboard shortcuts, no extra crap.

So much of my music is still just folders of mp3s in /artist/album/*.mp3 format and I really can't be bothered importing it all into iTunes, meaning I just listen to the same few dozen albums I do have in iTunes.

That's how all of my music is organized to this day. I haven't tried using iTunes as a media player in a while because when I did, it either ran way too slowly for a basic media player and for some reason it always wanted to obfuscate where the files were, keeping them in (seemingly) arbitrary folders with 5-character names. No idea if it still does that but regardless, I only keep it around for the occasional backing up of my old iPad before doing an update.

These days I more often just drag the folder into the VLC playlist or even use an old version of Winamp if I just want to shuffle through everything or make a playlist. The idea that my music is "in" the media player is something I could never get on board with. The media player is just accessing files in easily located folders. The way iTunes and some others try to hide that fact bothers me on some weird curmudgeonly level.

Just FYI you can control whether or not iTunes manages your music folder and there is some customization in Pref > Advanced.

I chose to let it manage the files but reduced some of the folder nesting. It doesn't obfuscate file names and you can elect for Artist > Album > [file] structure or whatever your heart desires.

Try Vox. Not as good as Winamp 2, but as minimal as you can get.

User ylchaithanya on GitHub took my project and made it into a Chrome App that works on any OS.


Thanks captbaritone. Working on the chrome app. You can have a look at the first version here - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chromeamp/bmigmiii... New features like playlists etc, gonna come soon.

Same, about the file hierarchy. Makes the most sense to me. If VLC had a file browser panel, my OSX audio life would feel complete. You know what I really love though in the meantime? MOC on Linux.

foobar2000 is a more recent work from one of the original devs, and quite good if you're looking for minimalism and function over style.

And of course, if you're on Unixen, XMMS is pretty much a direct clone of the old Winamp (and used to even use the same skin by default).

Foobar's the only realistic alternative because it's the only one, that I know of, that supports the full gamut of plugins written to play video game/ancient computer audio files. Mostly because guys like Neill Corlett wrote all those plugins ~15-10 years ago when your only choices were Winamp or Foobar.


Audacious comes close, but isn't quite there. PSF2 support is mostly non-functional, for instance.

For me, I used foobar because it was the last one that didn't try to be 'smart' about shuffle play.

I use foobar2000 too, however I don't agree with "function over style", there are some skins and options that change it completely.

I think we should agree it's highly customizable, both for function or style.

Fair enough. I always left it on default, and it's not the prettiest thing then, or wasn't at the time.

Another capable linux alternative is Audacious.

My goto player these days is MOC.

If you like minimal players, recently came across a cool command line player: https://github.com/np1/mps-youtube Nice command line and interactive interface allows you to search and play music and videos (optional) from Youtube. Interface is minimal and functional ... give it a try

Quintessential Player is also very pleasant and for Linux there are plenty of players that are compatible with winamp skins and presets.

Nice to see some appreciation for AIMP2! This little player is lovable in every aspect.

I'm using the lite version, which is indistinguishable from the classic Winamp. It's been my default music player ever since MP3 came out :)

I'm still using 2.95 on Windows 8

In my pre-coffee blurry-eyed-ness, all I managed to see in your post was "I'm still using" then "Windows" then "95". I gotta say, the double-take was neck-breaking.

The wasted hours trying out Winamp skins....

Speaking of skins, I remember the debate between incumbent Winamp and newcomer Sonique: https://www.google.com/search?q=sonique+media+player

Other than skins, the other most frequented activity was finding new, trippy visualizations (https://www.google.com/search?q=geis+plugin) - ahh college.

And this! "Uses the acutal skin assets, so it's compatible with all skins" - gotta try this

I just found my favourite skin called 'doomed'. It was posted 11 years ago. http://customize.org/winamp2/skins/21793

I spent a lot of time doing that too, as well as plugins once they arrived.. it was amazing how many plugins there were to 'improve' the sound of your music, when in retrospect it just made it all worse, lol.

The wasted hours making Winamp skins...

Making Winamp skins and visualisation presets is what got me into graphics and coding, which led to web design, which led to my various web-related careers over the last 15 years. I owe Winamp so so much.

That's a big part of why I was inspired to take on this little project.

Not "wasted" -- those hours led to a quite fruitful career in Web development. Picking apart an application skins and configuration, and learning some of the nasty, filthy tricks you can turn with bitmaps? That is knowledge I still use just about every day.

Yeah I was just making a joke. :)

Author here. Looking for a new host for llama.mp3 (https://github.com/captbaritone/winamp2-js/issues/11) anyone want to help save my server?

Host in in the gh-pages branch of your site and access it via https://captbaritone.github.com/winamp2-js/<filename>

Github pages is awesome.

Maybe use CloudFlare.

That looks very cool, but I'd appreciate a bit of context. Maybe it's a work in progress?

Edit: Maybe it's a WIP, it's not linked from the author's project page http://jordaneldredge.com/projects/

I found a Github link deep at the bottom of the page: https://github.com/captbaritone/winamp2-js

Author here. Didn't expect it to get much attention. I've added a link to my projects page. I'd be happy to answer any questions the GitHub page hasn't answered.

Any plans on using this codebase with Node-Webkit? Just curious

I remember something similar: a tribute to Winamp from Yandex.Music team - http://music.yandex.ru/oldschool/ . Here is a screenshot - https://www.picozu.com/v/temp/u1JCIYOvNspaGHl1VhQxoHhr.png .

I still use 2.95 on my winders 'puters. Thank-you for the ZXCVB & J keyboard shortcuts, Winamp team!

After this sparked the "good old days" flashbacks, I went to http://www.winamp.com and it looks like they are working on a revamped version of Winamp. The site says: "WE ARE WORKING HARD TO REENERGIZE WINAMP!"

Following through to a forum post with more info reveals Winamp has indeed been sold on:

> As you all surely know by now, Winamp & SHOUTcast have recently changed ownership (from AOL to Radionomy).

The winamp.com website is currently undergoing heavy work and an almost-completely new redesign. As a result, many features will be unavailable, including some in-client services.

The Winamp downloads and Winamp Pro purchases will also be temporarily unavailable whilst code licensed to/by the previous owner is removed/replaced.

We hope to have everything restored and back in working order as soon as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused in the meantime.

Watch this thread for any further updates.

I remember telling my 10th grade US History teacher about Winamp. He installed it on his classroom computer - he and I were a bit embarrassed when it played "Really whips the llama's ass" for a few students to hear. Good memories!

For parties without DJ I still use Winamp 2 with SqrSoft Crossfading Plugin and "club" preset, which can easily be combined with Limiter to keep the volume somewhat steady (but losing some dynamic within tracks).

It better have Milkdrop or it's completely useless!

Very nice and inspiring demo.

I wrote a music player from scratch with Sound Manager 2 and I realized ... this stuff isn't that hard. We can build real software in the browser.

Someone bought Winamp for a couple hundred million about 15 years ago. Today, you can throw it together in the browser and do distribution for practically free.

Long live Client-Side Javascript!

Ahh, the best player ever... How I miss you.

Why miss it? It's not like it stopped working...

iTunes, Pandora, Spotify - times have changed and a lot of us retired their massive collection of pirated tunes for a streaming service or much more curated library.

Ah, I see, and in that regard I agree. I miss the simple, yet featureful classic Winamp when I chose to use something like Spotify. All you get is simplicity.

It doesn't work very well on Linux :(

Ah this brings back so many good memories. Looks like http://nullsoft.com/ is still up (for the most part). As a young developer I used to go through this site for little ideas of things to build. Justin always built awesome applications.

This brings back good memories. It really was the defacto media player for me, for so many years. I couldn't figure out what else this does other than play, pauses, stops and changes volume? How close to fully functional could this go? Can you adjust balance for example using the HTML5 audio API?

I originally thought it was impossible, but today I found this Web Audio API doc, and I think it may actually be possible not only to do the balance, but also the equalizer. I'll at least look into it more.


Also, the Web Audio API makes a spectrum analyzer practically free: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/AnalyserNod...

Both totally possible.

I'd be happy to help out if anyone has questions on how to go about that stuff. I've done a ton of Web Audio work in the past couple years.

Winamp lite, you will never be forgotten.

I just posted a $15 bounty to "Make it a real app" -- https://github.com/captbaritone/winamp2-js/issues/2

Here's a "real app" that was largely inspired by Winamp: http://demo.groovebasin.com/

Actually is a fully functional music player that runs in the browser.

"Make it a real app" - wouldn't it defeat the purpose though (imitating real apps using scripting languages)?

Very cool. Doesn't play music modules, though. Still, props!

Spotify actually released a Winamp frontend for their service. Works in Windows/Wine: http://spotiamp.com

According to the bottom of that page:

Spotiamp is a Swedish product made by Ludde in Gothenburg, Sweden. Spotiamp is not an officially supported product of Spotify®.

The best part is that the buttons are <div> instead of <button> :-P. HTML5 for the win!

The sad part about that is that if he were to use <button> properly styled like the div he would have keyboard navigation for free using

The nostalgia is strong on HN today!

Surely there must be a way to get the scope and equalizer working using the web audio API?

I thought this was going to be an emscripten port of Wine running Winamp :(

Is the code open source? I don't think so.

Wine and X are open source; that's all you need.

Wine Is Not an Emulator, though - you'd still need some kind of layer translating the x86 binary to JS.

wouldn't that be the role of asm.js?

No, asm.js is just "an extraordinarily optimizable, low-level subset of JavaScript". It doesn't run x86 machine code, you'd need to convert it (or interpret it).

According to the webs, there are some x86 → LLVM converters, and then Emscripten can convert LLVM → asm.js, but getting that to work would probably take many months.

Oh yeah true.

The easterEgg is nice, was this in the original ?

To save others the time of looking it up: "NUL [ESC] L [ESC] SOFT"

And to answer the question, yes, it was: http://www.eeggs.com/items/856.html

the irony of this being two posts away from a medium article titled "the sixth stage of grief is retro computing"

Was this done with asm.js?

It doesn't appear to be the real program, but rather a (functional!) mockup of the UI in HMTL5.

If we could al stop using HTML5 when we mean HTML+JS+CSS. Let's just use HTML.

That's... that's what HTML5 means. It's not just "HTML", it includes all of the DOM and APIs that you use through JavaScript to make any of it mean anything. That the <audio> element is reskinnable with CSS in this way is part of the HTML5 standard.

And it's rather much splitting hairs. HTML isn't very useful without CSS, CSS isn't useful at all without HTML, and JS is the only choice of languages for interactivity in HTML. "Can we please stop using 'car' to mean 'car'+'engine'+'tires'".

Or rather we could stop saying "car5" meaning just "car". Oh, wait.. :)

No, because HTML4 really is a completely different beast. The syntax is 99% the same, the available elements are backwards compatible (though the recommended usage is almost completely different) and HTML4 did not include anything about DOM or APIs.

I don't believe that when saying HTML we mean HTML4...

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