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Redux: iTunes to Weblog Interface

Date:  Thu, 27th-May-2004prevnext

Tags: Announcements, Apple, CMS, Software, Urban Mainframe, Website Development

Brandon Fuller recently released v2 of his "Now Playing" plug-in for iTunes.

This latest version has several significant new features along with the usual collection of bug fixes and patches...

Those which I have found most beneficial include:

  • Album art
  • Link to the album on Amazon (with Associate ID if appropriate)
  • Link to Apple's iTunes Music Store
  • Integrated SFTP engine

I have thus made a few changes to way the "Currently Hearing" panel works. I have, in my opinion, configured the panel to operate in a logical way, offering as much utility to the visitor as possible. Take a look at the images below:

"Now Playing" plug-in with no match found on Amazon or Apple's Music Store
"Now Playing" plug-in with Amazon match
"Now Playing" plug-in with Amazon and iTunes matches

In the first example, the plug-in hasn't found an album/track match on either Amazon or Apple's Music Store. In this case, a default icon is displayed. Clicking the track title will (more often than not) retrieve the lyrics of the track, clicking the artist/band name will initiate a Google search for related pages and a click on the album title will (hopefully) take you to Amazon's product information for the album. You should note that both the lyrics and album links work by utilising Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" function, sometimes these links are hilariously wrong (you have been warned).

We've been more lucky with the second example. In this instance, the plug-in has located an Amazon match. Album art is displayed and both it and the album title link to the relevant product page at Amazon, without any help from Google. The track and artist links work as above.

With the third example, we've got a full house! Not only do we have album art and appropriate product linkage (Amazon), we've also acquired a "Music Store" match. Hence the iTunes store link. I should point out that the Music Store link is a little clumsy - it opens a new (blank) window before opening the appropriate product page in iTunes... If anyone can tell me how to stop that, I'd appreciate it!

Final Words

Brandon earns more and more kudos with each release of "Now Playing". Version 2 extracts a wealth of information from iTunes and Brandon's decision to incorporate transparent uploading of an XML file was inspired. The elegance, functionality and ease-of-use of "Now Playing" is first-class.

Brandon, I salute you.

See Also

iTunes to Weblog Interface

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