beaTunes News

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sort this!

beaTunes LogoEven though we made some significant changes, today's new Early Access release 4 is probably not very exciting from a user's point of view. A biggie for us is the complete removal of any QuickTime for Java (QTJ) dependencies. QTJ lets Java programmers easily access one of the most powerful multimedia libraries out there. Unfortunately, as part of the 64bit-Carbon-abandonment, Apple decided to drop all QTJ support in the 64bit-only Java 6 VM and as a result, we'll have to slowly migrate away from it. As of now, beaTunes 2 is still dependent on (native, Carbon-based) QuickTime and will only run in a 32bit JVM. But at least we got rid of the QTJ code as a first step.

In the Windows world, this move away from QTJ will have positive side-effects. For quite a while now, the iTunes updater tended to mess up the QTJ installation. Many users weren't even able to install beaTunes properly without technical support. With QTJ out of the way, we're looking forward to many happy Windows users and fewer support cases.

But enough with the technical whining - there are other neat little improvements contained in this release. First of all, beaTunes now finally supports iTunes-style sorting utilizing sort name, sort artist, etc. We added a corresponding info dialog pane and, probably best of all, some new inspections designed to deal with wrong or butchered sort names.

As you might know, iTunes determines sort names mostly automatically. If, for example, a song title starts with the word "an", it is assumed to be an indefinite English article and therefore dropped from the sort name. Unfortunately, languages like German also have a word "an", which happens to be a preposition, not an indefinite article and should not be dropped from the sort name. beaTunes now has the ability to detect such errors taking advantage of its language field. So for best results, run the language analysis before inspecting sort names.

We also got to improve the typo inspector - it should now do a better job with short names. Another goodie: Searchboxes now have a little popup menu that let's you specify the search mode. E.g., you can now limit a search to the artist field.

So - here's the obligatory warning: Before downloading and installing this, please make sure you understand what Early Access means:

  • Absolutely no warranty for whatever
  • Features may or may not work, appear, and disappear
  • It may not be possible to migrate data to future versions (even though we make a reasonable effort)
  • This version will cease to function 2 weeks after its release
  • You cannot buy this version

Just so that there is no doubt about it: EA4 isn't even a beta version.

And here are the download links:

Note for EA3 users

EA4 changes the database schema first introduced in EA2. During the update, beaTunes will display a dialog box. Please be patient. The update may take a while.

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