Revolution Music Player

Taking after what great work Amarok has done over the years, it has come to my attention the different changes that Amarok has gone through. Now, with their current version 2.3.1 I am left wondering about what more could be done with the graphical interface. Amarok has wonderful technologies underneath as a music player. Amarok is also neatly connected to KDE widgets that display information for just about anything.

However, Amarok has received critics of many sources asking for stronger work with their graphical interface. I thought this opened the window for others to create something that could potentially become the next Amarok. Probably Amarok 3.

Amarok currently has a lot of things going on in its interface. There are three main panels. Starting from the left Amarok features a collection section which also includes internet music services, playlists and local file search. In the middle section there is a widget area which shows information about the currently playing track, album or the band (through Wikipedia). The far right shows a playing playlist.

This could be confusing from the files shown on the far right from one's collection, but this list on the right is the actual list of tracks that are being played. At the bottom of this playing playlist there are buttons to control this playlist. At the top there is the play button and the track progress bar and a volume button. The very bottom shows information as well on the currently playing track. Much like a status bar. 

One thing that I find interesting about this particular version of Amarok is the repetitive display of information about the currently playing track. For example:

No more than 5 times on the shot you see information about the currently playing track. Maybe that is a little visually excessive.

Another interesting thing comes from the way one is to add music to one's playlist. Users have to either drag or double click items on the far left which will then load at the far right to start playing atop. I just don't seem to make sense of the motions that music has to travel in order to be played. I this respect, I am more comfortable with Banshee or even iTunes, both of which play what you click. A very transparent playback of the files you see.

Amarok does a lot of amazing things and has great tools to work with your music. Probably, what needs to happen is to have Amarok control the amount of tools displayed on the screen. Reducing the amount of tools leaving only the most commonly used ones would be good. 

But what can change? I tried to simplify the graphical interface for Amarok, giving some emphasis on the creation of playlists and the use of widgets. So I will provide some descriptions to what you are to see next.

Here is a change. I took after what iTunes and Windows Media Player do with their music collection, to group it with an album picture and a list of tracks on the side. From this list of tracks one does the same that the current Amarok does with playlist creation; double click or dragging the tracks onto the playlist area. Also notice the change with widgets, they are now located at the bottom of the window. Clicking through them will bring up the widgets that you like.

The Collection area then slides through the different widgets, stats, track information, lyrics, wikipedia information, youtube videos, etc. It would be good, the collection area disappears and the space is taken by the widgets information. This is the other way of seeing one's music collection, or file collections. A plain list.

Or an Album Cover presentation. All of these have a filter bar atop and buttons to change from the different collection view.

Next up is the playlist content generation. First is the list of tracks which are being played and also a nice cover artwork scrolling. Much like what Songbird did long ago with one of its plugins. Just click the dynamic playlist button and songs will be played based on what Amarok decides.

You can browse your saved playlists and double click on the ones you saved and play them.

Here is the addition I would like to see. To share what you listen to on Facebook, Twitter, or just about any other service that is made available through widgets.

Another way of having Amarok play your music is by turning it into a widget itself. You can hit minimal mode and a widget-like interface will show up and stick on the desktop. You can switch back to any of the other interfaces or tweak the interface.

Next is the fullscreen interface. With computers having more fullscreen interfaces (AKA Mac OSX Lion, Netbook interfaces, Unity). I remember that long ago, Amarok had a plugin that would launch your music in fullscreen mode and it was awesome looking. What I am suggesting is something along those lines as well as the addition of visualizations on the background.

This is the default configuration with covers and controls spread on the interface.

Next is the full image for the covers.

And last is a Karaoke (maybe) idea in which the lyrics are shown so that you can sing along to your songs.

Obviously this is something that can change, songs have lyrics which are very long can have some sort of auto scroll, much like Obviously this is not perfect. But I tried to make it simpler and retain the same functionalities that the current Amarok has.


Written by