beaTunes News

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

beaTunes 2.1 is out!

beaTunes2 logoI'm glad to announce that beaTunes 2.1 is out! Here's the corresponding press release.

So, what's new?

Well, a bunch of things. If you have been following this blog you know, that 2.1 is not about re-inventing the whole app. It's mostly a maintenance release coupled with a bunch of neat improvements. Let's start with the maintenance part.

Apple has been steadily moving away from 32 bit APIs - including QuickTime for OS X. As a consequence I have adjusted the QuickTime binding for beaTunes to speak 64 bit. In other words it can now use the newer, 64 bit QTKit API for decoding and playing audio files. Note, that beaTunes still prefers to use CoreAudio in most cases, which never had any 32/64 bit issues.

For years the Linux and the Windows world have been enjoying Java 6. But under OS X 10.5 it was only available in 64 bit. Now that beaTunes supports 64 bit, I have moved the OS X version to Java 6 as well. This should make beaTunes a little zippier and will allow odd things like an insertion line when using drag and drop in a playlist. Previously, the location for drops was marked by a selection background color, which didn't make it possible to deduce whether the item is going to be inserted above or below the selected drop location. Java 6 also simplified a bunch of internal code, as it allows me to call library functions instead of having to do stuff myself. Let's just hope that Java 7 will make it to OS X a little faster...

But not all the maintenance for 2.1 was technical. A couple of inspections should do a much better job now. E.g. the Rarely Used Genre Inspection - it now lists the genres in question in order and displays the number of times each is used. This should make it easier to make informed decisions, when getting rid of a genre.

Another improved inspection is the Duplicate Inspection. Actually deleting duplicates is much faster in large collections. You also have much better solution choices (e.g. keep highest bitrate).

Besides the improvements, there are also some real additions, spanking new features. You can now import lyrics from Lyricsfly. There is also a new Disc Number Inspection, that lets you remove "Disc 4"-style parts of album names and automatically add that information into the corresponding disc number field.

Another new feature is the addition of an online database. This allows users to retrieve other user's anonymized analysis results. The deal is, that if you want to get data from the database, you also agree to anonymously submit data to it. Everybody benefits.

Here are the most important changes as list:

  • 64 bit support on OS X
  • Java 6 support on OS X
  • Added lyrics import from Lyricsfly
  • Added disc number inspection
  • Added capability to import id3 tags ASIN, ISRC and mood
  • Added capability to import Amazon ids (from mp3 downloads)
  • Added column for checked/unchecked songs
  • Added capabilty to communicate with online db
  • Improved rarely used genre inspection
  • Improved duplicate inspection
  • Improved database layout
  • Improved drag and drop within playlists
  • Improved control over what is imported by MusicIP/Amplified Music analysis task
  • Tag clouds now in scroll panes
  • Moved location of app data on Windows
  • Many other small improvements and fixes

Thanks to everybody who helped making this release possible. Especially those of you who tested early access versions and made valuable suggestions!

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