Feisty Chipmunk

This week's blog post is a guest post from the creator of the AudioGlu music server, Ian Smart. AudioGlu is an interesting use case; it's a piece of hardware that has adopted OneMusicAPI to install metadata and cover art when ripping CDs.

... and apologies for this post's image, but given Ian's feisty approach to building a music server I couldn't resist the chance to post an equally feisty chipmunk. Take it away Ian...

AudioGlu is a recently launched music player, server and CD ripper that has just adopted the OneMusicAPI to search for its album art. Unlike other similar systems, AudioGlu has been designed to be straightforward to use through the adoption of an 'opinionated design' approach.

For those of you who are Douglas Adams fans this probably sounds like a recipe for disaster! Imagine a music server that only plays tracks appropriate to its mood or preference! As enjoyable as it might be to develop a system like that, it probably would have limited appeal.

What 'opinionated' really means is described succinctly by the guys at 37 Signals:

Some people argue software should be agnostic. They say it's arrogant for developers to limit features or ignore feature requests. They say software should always be as flexible as possible.

We think that's bullshit. The best software has a vision. The best software takes sides. When someone uses software, they're not just looking for features, they're looking for an approach. They're looking for a vision. Decide what your vision is and run with it.

See the rest of the post at: http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch04_Make_Opinionated_Software.php

The vision in AudioGlu's case is to ensure that all basic functionality can be performed without asking questions and by making reasonable assumptions. For example, a backup is automatically started when an external disk drive is plugged into a USB socket; a DAC (digital to analogue converter) is automatically configured when it is plugged into a USB socket; a CD is ripped, tagged and artwork downloaded when it is inserted into the CD slot; in fact there is no user interface at all to the system unit.

Of course in the world of album art there will be issues and this is why AudioGlu is using OneMusicAPI to help reduce errors where possible. We're also working with Dan on an embedded version of Bliss for those users who prefer to make their own choices.

Thanks to Rennett Stowe who made the the image above available for sharing.
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