I just released 0.7.2, which is just a quick maintenance release with one bugix, but with lots of updated translations. Thanks again all the translators for all the effort.
As for future plans, the effort is now into creating some new plugins and fixing the most important issues in the bugtracker. The roadmap is not completely established, but I would say that there will probably be another maintenance release with more bugfixes, before any major release. Also, I’m planning on creating some developer documentation to help new people craft cool plugins more easily 🙂
As a side note, I’m having some troubles keeping up the comments in this blog. As you can see, it’s becoming filled with spam comments. And although the spam filter eliminates many of them, lots of them still slip through. This makes reading the comments really hard because most of them are just fake. Real comments get caught in the middle and probably end up unanswered. I’m sorry for all of you that eventually commented and didn’t receive an answer.
Hi everybody. Despite all my efforts yesterday, the released package had a missing file, which prevented the plugins configuration dialog to appear.I just released version 0.7.1 to fix this. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but this bug just slipped through. So, please upgrade to the new version. On the bright side, this allowed more translations to be added 🙂
Finally, 0.7 is out, just in time for Christmas 🙂
There’s a lot of improvements, although most of the work was done on redesigning part of the code to create a plugin system. But before going into details about this new version, just a quick note about versions. This version is mostly a beta, because of all the changes that were made. Version 0.7.1 should come next with bug fixes and eventually updated translations. New features should only appear on 0.8, the next major release. I think this makes versioning much clearer. So now, to the changes on this version…
This is the most significant change in this release. I hope this will bring a lot of new functionalities to Radio Tray, without filling up too much the main application. Plugins can be enabled or disabled by a configuration dialog under the "plugins" sub-menu. For now, there’s only a few of them and most of those you already know. The code for sleep timer, notifications and media keys shortcuts was moved to plugins. I think it’s more logical this way. So, if you want to disable notifications, just disable the plugin for it. Also, this means that in the future another plugin for notifications can be made, that displays data differently, for example. The only plugin that is truly new is the history plugin. When enabled, you can find another entry in the plugins menu, called "history". By clicking it, a small dialog shows all the songs that were played on Radio Tray since start.
The bookmarks configuration has gained a few enhancements. There’s no more "up" and "down" buttons to move things around. You can just drag and drop radio stations and groups freely. And on double-click it opens the edit dialog. I think this makes user interaction a lot easier than before.
Default Radio List
I understand most people would want a better default list for radio stations. Unfortunately, some of them change URLs quite frequently so it’s hard to keep those bookmarks updated. Nevertheless, this version comes with a slightly bigger list. However, if you are upgrading Radio Tray, you won’t see it, because your current list is kept, instead of overwritten by the defaults. If you really want the default list, then you’d have to delete your bookmarks file. Or just take a look at the default file that should be installed at " /usr/share/radiotray/bookmarks.xml".
If you start Radio Tray from the command line you’ll notice that it’s not as verbose as before. That’s because, there’s now proper logging being made. All logs go to "~/.local/share/radiotray/radiotray.log". So, if you find a bug or something that you think is not working well, that’s the file you should look into, or attach in a bug report.
And of course, we have updated translations, thanks to all the people that took the time to translate Radio Tray.
It’s always great to see recognition of our work. I’ve always received very good feedback from our users, which is great and has kept me motivated to keep improving Radio Tray. One other thing that is great is to discover an article talking about your work. Recently, Radio Tray was featured in Linux Magazine, with a two-page article. Amazing 🙂 I know that Radio Tray was already featured in several blogs and websites related to Linux and Open Source, which is awesome. Nevertheless, it feels different when you see the work you’ve made printed on a magazine 🙂 Also, for those of you that might know Portuguese, you can also listen to a recent interview on Castalio Podcast, where I talked about Radio Tray (among many other things). For those of you that don’t know, Castalio Podcast is a great podcast, run by Og Maciel in which he interviews people that in one way or the other has made contributions to the open source world.
As for the 0.7 development, we already have a running plugin system, with just a few things missing 🙂
I just released version 0.6.4 of Radio Tray. As I said earlier, this is a bugfix release. There’s still a lot of issues in the bug tracker, but we can’t postpone a release forever 🙂
The only new feature in this release is a configuration dialog that opens the first time Radio Tray is started. It allows the user to choose between the two available versions: system tray and app indicator (Ubuntu). That option is saved in the usual config.xml file, that is situated in the user’s home (~/.local/share/radiotray) and that dialog never shows up again. Well, unless radio tray is started with the parameter "–config". This parameter is useful in case someone chooses a version that is not available on the system. It can then start radio tray again and choose the other option.
The reason for this is because, although exciting, the linux desktop is a little chaotic right now. I cannot distribute Radio Tray with the system tray version by default, because it won’t work out-of-the-box in recent Ubuntu releases. But I also can’t release it as app indicator by default, because it wouldn’t make sense for all other distributions that don’t use app indicator (and also for older releases of Ubuntu). This dialog is a compromise, that hopefully will help first time users.
Nevertheless, I know this doesn’t make sense for distributions that definitely don’t have app indicator support. But don’t worry, there’s a now a default configuration file (/usr/share/radiotray/config.xml), that is later copied to the users config directory, with a property that allows three choices: systray, appindicator and chooser. I ask all packagers to please take this into consideration and alter the value accordingly. For example, for a distribution that doesn’t have appindicator, it doesn’t make sense to show the dialog, so the default option should be systray. In Ubuntu, however, the default choice should probably be appindicator. For all the rest, that might have both options, use chooser.
I think this covers all situations…except maybe Gnome 3, but I still want to take a look at that and hopefully create a gui version for Gnome 3 in future releases.
About the future, I’m not sure if there will be a 0.6.5 (bugfix release) or instead the long awaited 0.7.
Ok, so I think I solved the issues with Transifex and translations strings are now correct. I hope that our translators can now start updating so that by the end of the week this bug fix release can be finally launched 🙂
I just wanted to tell you a little about the recent developments in radio tray and its roadmap. Development hasn’t been as fast, due to several personal and professional matters. Nevertheless, issues are being solved and a few features being added (thanks specially to Ed Bruck for those).
The next version (0.6.2) is mainly a bugfix version. It has however a few new features, like a sleep function.
Also, one of the recent developments was to create an application indicator for Ubuntu. As you probably know, Ubuntu’s next version won’t have the system tray (among other changes). This is unfortunate, because the application indicator is a lot less flexible. Radio Tray is not an Ubuntu application, but a Linux application and it should run in pretty much all distributions. However, we all know that Ubuntu is the most used distribution and it would be foolish to just ignore it.
So, we now have support for both modes of operation: the usual interface in the system tray, and the new application indicator.
Because of its limited API, in application indicator mode there’s no secondary menu and no tooltips. We had to fit everything into the main menu. It’s not perfect but it ended up better than I imagined.
I don’t like the application indicator API and I don’t think it improves usability for the end user, on the contrary. Nevertheless, I don’t blame Canonical for this, I understand they’re trying to tackle several kinds of devices with just one user interface. We can’t right-click on a tablet or see a tooltip, can we ? 🙂
We still miss a few things that I wanted to put in 0.6.2 version, but I don’t want to postpone it much more time. So we might release it soon and move the unfinished issues to other version.
One of the issues that won’t be on 0.6.2 will be plugin support. This is a major feature for me, as I don’t want to add too many features to the main Radio Tray application. Most of the future features will probably be based on plugins. This way we can keep the application simple and offer the option to add extra functionality through plugins (stream recording is one example).
This will take some time, as much code needs to be refactored because of this. Nevertheless, I hope we can have 0.6.2 at the begining of 2011 and 0.7 a couple months after it.
Thank you all for your support and kind words of incentive. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!!