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Steampunk Media Player Yahoo Widget vs Xwidget PDF Print
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There are now two versions of the steampunk media player, one an Xwidget and the other a Konfabulator or Yahoo widget. I created the Xwidget media player version first and chose the Xwidget engine as it would be easier to code and complete. The result was a working widget but it lacked certain key features. It looked good though.
http://i.imgur.com/SnOGDk5.png

Due to the limitations of the Xwidget engine's media player core I decided to create a Yahoo widget using the same design. It is worthwhile noting the differences between the two widgets. The design on the Xwidget was significantly easier to accomplish given the graphical GUI and the use of the media player core. The mediaplayer core in Xwidget does a lot of the heavy lifting for you so you can just set about creating a widget in a short time. I was able to assign functionality to various parts of the widget without much coding at all. The documentation of the mediaplayer and its controls is sketchy to say the least but by divination and looking at other's widgets I was able to see how the media player core operates. It is a working widget but it is awkward for the user to operate as the media player core does not easily allow you to play a file immediately, instead you have to open the actual media player in order to play a playlist. Rather defeats the purpose. Adding a file to the playlist is easily achieved but the widget won't play it straight away.

media-player-help-yahoo-650.png

Coding for the yahoo widget is a lot more tricky as there are nothing similar to Xwidget's 'cores' to interface into the Windows Media player, although there is complete and thorough documentation. You have to interface the widget via a COM object to the windows player OCX. You can then submit player commands to operate the player so you have complete control via code. Unfortunately you need to do everything by hand, things such as play/pause buttons changing and the widget reacting to the track duration all have to be controlled by timers, xml and javascript. The Yahoo widget took twice as long to create as the Xwidget version but saying that, the end result is much better than the Xwidget version as there is more complete functionality. The user can select the track to play, choose a complete folder to play and it will restart using the same default music folder. Some of the complexity is due to the use of the COM integration to the Windows Media player which is not a native player for the Yahoo widget engine. By default the Yahoo widget engine has a complete API for itunes and it would have been much easier to create an itunes-controlling widget. In the end the integration to the Windoows Media a Player was relatively simple enough to do but there was interaction between the various controls that needed to be considered and it required thought and careful programming in javascript.

http://i.imgur.com/BPEKBKD.gif

The end result is a working Konfabulator widget in javascript. It is now available for download, it has been tested and used on my desktop and you can try it now too. I will shortly update the Xwidget version too in order to keep them in synch with regard to fucntionality. The Konfabulator/Yahoo version will stand as a comparison as to how much extra complexity is required without the heavy-lifting being done by one of Tony's Xwidget cores. It will also show how limited Xwidget's mediaplayer core is and how much more functionality is required, as was stated on the Xwidget forums, the mediaplayer core in Xwidget is lacking functionality and some more work here from the Xwidget developer would be desirable...
Download the new player here: Steampunk Media Player Yahoo Konfabulator Widget by yereverluvinuncleber
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Last Updated ( Monday, 10 October 2016 )
 
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