Elisa 0.4 Beta Release and More New Features

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

In the part 1 and part 2 of this series, I have talked about some new features that landed in Elisa from several contributors.

Today, I would like to introduce the beta release of the 0.4 version and more features that will be in this version.

Android Support for Music Discovery

It is a goal to have a first class support of Android in Elisa. Currently, the only thing really done is the support for discovering your music on Android.

Android provides a service a little bit similar to Baloo allowing an application to query all the music files on a device. Elisa is supporting that and a very simple interface allow to see that.

In order to have a true support, two steps need to be done:

  • Elisa should have an user interface usable on small screens (possibly leveraging Kirigami2 much more than currently) ;
  • Elisa should be separated to allow your music to continue once your device is no longer displaying the application (related to the Android services).

Help is very much welcome on this project given I currently miss enough time to make progress on this.

Support for Embedded Cover Images

The music cover images can be embedded in the metadata of a music file. Elisa is now showing them.

Screenshot_20190504_222220
Same music in Elisa and in Dolphin showing embedded cover

I would like to thank Alexander Stippich who added support for that in KFileMetaData and made it so easy to add support in Elisa. It would probably be a good idea for anybody needing to query metadata for files in a Qt based application to have a look at KFileMetaData.

Easy Navigation to Album or Artist of the Currently Playing Track

In the header bar, it is now possible to navigate to the album or artist of the playing track by clicking on it (contributed by Diego Gangl). The mouse nicely changes to indicate that.

Screenshot_20190504_224004
Navigating to the artist of the playing track

Beta Release

We are preparing for the next stable release. As such, there is a feature freeze and an ongoing effort to squash as many bugs as possible.

We really appreciate any feedback on the current state via bugs.kde.org. We welcome bug report or feature suggestions.

You can get the next release by building from source. The windows installer is not included because the current ones are not in a releasable state (there are some platform specific code not in good shape).

For flatpak, some really nice additions to flathub has made it easy to provide builds for beta releases. The simplest way to install it is via this command:

$ flatpak install https://flathub.org/beta-repo/appstream/org.kde.elisa.flatpakref

How You Can Help

Elisa is a project that welcomes new contributors and feedback.

There are currently quite a few reported feature requests that may have to wait for a long time except if a new contributor shows up. It is really a good opportunity to contribute to a free open source project in the KDE community.

The KDE community is really a nice place to work on free and open source code.

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New Features in Elisa: part 2

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

In the part 1 of this series, I have talked about the following additions:

  • libvlc as a music player alternative to QtMultimedia ;
  • progress shown directly on the taskbar entry ;
  • an improved party mode.

Today, I would like to introduce more features that will be in the future 0.4 stable version.

Undo Support when Playlist is Cleared

Elisa is currently a player with a strong focus on the current playlist. It is quite possible to have spent some time to compose a playlist. This is something valuable for the user.

What if suddenly, you hit the wrong button and lose all your work ?

A notification will be shown to undo this operation. This feature has been contributed by Jérôme Guidon. Thanks a lot for its first contribution !

Notification to allow undo a cleared playlist operation
Notification when the playlist is cleared

New Browsing Views

It is now possible to browse the most recently played tracks or the most frequently played ones.

The idea is to show the 50 last played tracks or the 50 most frequently played tracks.

The currently implemented browsing modes are the following:Screenshot_20190424_222408

It is planned to add more modes but that requires a way for the user to configure it to its liking before adding more.

A New Context View

Starting from a very good design work by Diego Gangl, the new context view is now able to show some of the metadata from the currently playing track like the composer, lyricist, play count, lyrics …

Screenshot_20190424_231427

The current support for lyrics comes from a suggestion from Nate Graham. It is only supporting lyrics written in the track metadata. Support for online services will come in the next releases.

Optimizations And Reduced Memory Usage

Elisa is now loading the views fully on demand. It means that no memory or processing power is needed until one clicks on one of them. It also means that they no longer take resources when they are hidden.

One of the consequences is a better startup time and reduced memory usage. Another one is that when loading your music a busy indicator is shown to help understand what happen.

The model that is used to show your music is also now completely generic and should allow a much greater extensibility and customization.

One of my long term goal is to offer a way to fully customize the browsing of music to the user liking or type of music or …

Conclusion

Now is a very good time to get involved as the next version is being stabilized. You can help with code, bug reporting or triaging, documentation …

Thanks a lot to all contributors to this project be a feature, a fix, ideas, reported bugs …

Thanks a lot to the KDE community that is really providing very useful and powerful tools to project like this one.

The easiest way to do that is by using flatpak or Windows installers produced by the KDE continuous build servers. I now that some distributions also have package built on top of Git.

New features in Elisa

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

I have been quiet for some months but during those months, Elisa has seen many improvements by existing and new contributors and a new stable version is planned in the coming weeks.

I will publish some blog posts about the many new features implemented in the master branch.

Support for libVLC

Today, I would like to talk about the added support for playing audio through libVLC.

One of my goals had been to be able to offer the best possible first impression when starting Elisa. With the current stable version, flatpak builds and Windows builds are not able to support many audio formats. This is a pretty bad first experience.

The big advantage of using libVLC (except the API is nice and easy to use) is the ability to easily bundle the support for many audio formats. Thanks a lot to the VideoLAN project for their work.

Support for progress bar on Plasma Desktop taskbar entries

Elisa has long had support for showing track progress when playing on Windows platform.

The next stable version will also be able to show progress when running inside Plasma workspace.

Screenshot_20190411_231225
Progress bar on Plasma workspace

Improved party mode

Elisa has been featuring a party mode since 0.3 release. It is now also featuring a simplified playlist view.

Screenshot_20190411_231616
Improved party mode

In party mode, one is now able to switch to any track by just clicking on it. This is especially nice for laptops with touchscreen. Anybody can quickly switch to a specific track by a simple touch.

Conclusion

Quite some other features are already ready. They will be the subject of other posts.

There are still some features that are still under review for the next stable release. This is the main reason no firm date are currently set for the next release.

I would like to be able to make the best possible release. In order to do that, feedback would be very welcome.

The easiest way to do that is by using flatpak or Windows installers produced by the KDE continuous build servers. I now that some distributions also have package built on top of Git.

0.3 Release of Elisa Music Player

0.3 Release of Elisa Music Player

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

New Features

The post about the beta release summarizes all the new features in the 0.3 release.

Screenshot_20180912_231947
New minimal mode

Fixes

The following bugs have been worked on or fixed since the beta:

  • Bug 397446 Scrolling in the Album, Artist, etc. and Now Playing views is much too fast ;
  • Bug 398924 Status box is too small ;
  • Bug 387437 Elisa unaware of Baloo if it starts after Elisa ;
  • Bug 398718 User should be able to start typing to search after pressing Ctrl+F ;
  • Bug 396840 Elisa – High memory usage (improvements have landed in 0.3.0 release and more will come to 0.3.1) ;
  • Bug 392778 Elisa should better handle being scaled down to a small size (not yet finished but some improvements are in 0.3.0 release) ;

Getting Involved

The team would like to thank everyone who contributed to the development of Elisa, including code contributions, testing, and bug reporting.

We are already working on new features for the next release. If you enjoy using Elisa, please consider becoming a contributor yourself. We are happy for any contribution!

We have tagged some tasks as junior jobs. They are a perfect way to start contributing to Elisa.

The flathub Elisa package allows an easy way to test this new release.

Elisa source code tarball is available here. There is also a Windows setup at the same location (thanks to the Craft and binary-factory teams).

 

0.3 Beta Release of Elisa Music Player

0.3 Beta Release of Elisa Music Player

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

New Features and Improvements

The main improvements are the following:

  • Hide stars when there is no rating by Diego Gangl ;

  • Various fixes for the Windows support by Matthieu Gallien ;
  • Implement interface of Baloo to watch renamed files by Matthieu Gallien ;
  • Upgrade some code using deprecated features in KDeclarative framework by Alexander Stippich ;
  • Align the action buttons with the big icon in the views header by Diego Gangl ;
  • Allow the playlist to be hidden when browsing your music by Diego Gangl ;
  • Always display the title of the playlist entries by Matthieu Gallien ;

  • Internal improvements to various non graphical components to allow future improvements to the header bar by Matthieu Gallien ;
  • Resize track metadata view dynamically by Alexander Stippich ;
  • Improvements to the header of the play list by Diego Gangl ;
  • Add a mode where Elisa can show only the header but in the full window by Carl Schwan. Welcome to the project. This was a junior task identified in the Elisa workboard ;
  • Optimize the data methods of model and use QAbstractItemModelTester (see the blog from ) by Matthieu Gallien ;
  • Makes KIO and KFileMetaData be optional dependencies by Matthieu Gallien. This a preliminary step to allow building Elisa for Android with as few dependencies as possible.

New Mode with only the Player Header Visible

This feature improves two different cases. The first is to allow usage of Elisa with a small window. In this case, only minimal information is shown in a possibly small window. The second is to implement the “party” mode that was originally designed by Andrew Lake.

Screenshot_20180912_231947

Other Improvements to the Interface

As already said, there have been various improvements to the interface.

Screenshot_20180912_232200

How You Can Help

We are preparing for the next stable release. As such, there is a feature freeze and an ongoing effort to squash as many bugs as possible.

We really appreciate any feedback on the current state via bugs.kde.org. We welcome bug report or feature suggestions.

You can get the next release by building from source or by using the flatpak package provided by KDE. The windows installer is also available here (thanks a lot to the Craft and binary-factory teams).

0.2.1 Release of Elisa

The Elisa team is happy to announce our new bugfix release, version 0.2.1.

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

In parallel to the development of the next stable release, we have been pushing a few fixes to the current stable version.

Screenshot_20180713_174731
0.2.1 version of Elisa

We have fixed the layout of the playlist in Windows build. They should now be identical to the Linux builds. Here we are using the ability to tune some parts of the interface by providing specific qml components for a given platform.

We fixed issues that could lead to wrong data shown for albums with multiple discs.

The buttons in the header on top of the views are now aligned with the top and bottom of the big icon.

Screenshot_20180713_174753
Improvements in the views header

We will continue to fix issues in the stable version for some weeks and may produce a second bugfix release in one month.

Get Involved

The team would like to thank everyone who contributed to the development of Elisa, including code contributions, testing, and bug reporting.

We are already working on new features for the next release. If you enjoy using Elisa, please consider becoming a contributor yourself. We are happy for any contribution!

We have tagged some tasks as junior jobs. They are a perfect way to start contributing to Elisa (Elisa Workboard)

The flathub Elisa package allows an easy way to test this new release.

Elisa source code tarball is available here.

0.2.1 release tarball

A Windows installer is also available thanks to Craft and binary-factory teams.

0.2 Release of Elisa

The Elisa team is happy to announce our new release, version 0.2.0.

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

Since the first release of Elisa, we have been busy improving it. We added new music browsing views (home directory browser and a genre browser). We have improved the interface and general performance. A lot of smaller item have also been done (full change log 0.2.0 change log).

Screenshot_20180704_174656
New interface of 0.2.0 Elisa

Browsing Views

All views are now sorted in ascending order by default. There’s also a button to toggle between ascending and descending.Screenshot_20180704_174743

A new view allows you to browse your home directory. Only music files and directories are shown. This way, tracks with missing music tags can easily be played.

Screenshot_20180704_175743

A new view allows you to browse by going from genres to artists, their albums and its tracks.

Screenshot_20180704_175216

We plan to further improve this by letting users choose the way they browse their music.

Interface

Elisa now has a proper icon. Thanks a lot to Paul Lesur who contributed it.

The player bar is now featuring all playback controls. The look of the playlist view and the views selector have been refreshed and improved.

Screenshot_20180704_174806

We now use the new icons from Breeze to differentiate between actions (play, pause, etc) and states (playing, paused, etc).

Performance

To avoid scanning files for changes at the start, Elisa now keeps the last modified time of files. Users not relying on Baloo should see a huge improvement in starting times.

The browsing views are now only loaded when shown. This is a first step to reduce the memory usage. It should also speed up application start.

Miscellaneous

Elisa is now finding more cover images and most common cases should work.

There have been a few fixes to Mpris2 support.

There have been various fixes to the internal tracks database.

Get Involved

The team would like to thank everyone who contributed to the development of Elisa, including code contributions, testing, and bug reporting.

We are already working on new features for the next release. If you enjoy using Elisa, please consider becoming a contributor yourself. We are happy for any contribution!

We have tagged some tasks as junior jobs. They are a perfect way to start contributing to Elisa (https://phabricator.kde.org/project/board/193/)

The flathub Elisa package allows an easy way to test this new release.

Elisa source code tarball is available here.

https://download.kde.org/stable/elisa/0.2.0/elisa-0.2.0.tar.xz

A Windows installer is also available thanks to Craft and binary-factory teams.

0.2 Beta 1 Release of Elisa Music Player

0.2 Beta Release of Elisa Music Player

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

New Features and Improvements

The main area of improvements are the following:

  • We have been fixing problems related to music import (different albums being merged, …) and general handling of music metadata ;
  • Improve cover images discovery (should fix most common cases) ;
  • Improve performance of the internal music database ;
  • Improve build time by factoring most c++ code in a dedicated library ;
  • Improvement of the player control bar with most controls related to playback being located here ;
  • Only load a music browsing view when it is used (faster and lighter on memory usage) ;
  • Add a browsing view by genres ;
  • Add a browsing view for the filesystem.
Screenshot_20180620_222734
Current Elisa Interface

Test of the future 0.2 version

The release is available from elisa-0.1.80.tar.xz and also in the form of a Windows setup (generated using Craft and binary-factory.kde.org). You can also test by using the nightly flatpak builds from KDE.

Please report any issues to the KDE bugtracker.

News about Elisa

Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.
We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).
We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

 Improvements of Elisa Interface

We have got a new application icon from Paul Lesur. Thanks for the help.

128-apps-elisa
New Elisa Application Icon

Diego Gangl has been working on improving the design of the interface. Among the changes some where suggested quite some time ago by the KDE VDG.

The main controls of playback are now all on the same horizontal bar. This way, it should be much easier to locate them.

The view selector list has also a new simpler and cleaner look. I especially appreciate the removal of the not quite working color animations of the current item indicator.

Alexander Stippich added a small button that allows to sort the views in ascending or descending order. They are now sorted by default. The data comes from the tracks database in sorted order (done by Kevin Ottens). The case is ignored.

Screenshot_20180516_223706
Current Interface with Many Improvements

Many Improvements on Tracks Properties

A lot of work has recently went into Baloo and KFileMetaData frameworks. While this is not strictly related to the Elisa project, it is a huge improvement.

Elisa got hugely improved support for discovering existing image files with a cover. This work has been done by Kevin Ottens and Alexander Stippich. There are still cases where the cover might not be found if for example the cover file name has spaces. We may also want to be able to select the best one among many.

Elisa got fixes to better support track properties with multiple values. The current state is still not able to fully support authors list for example but we will eventually get there.

Performance Improvements when Checking Existing Music at Start

Elisa stores your discovered music in a small database to allow a quick start. Due to that, it needs to check if known tracks have changed or have been moved or removed. It also has to check if new music has been added.

This had been quite fast when using the Baloo support but was really slow for big music collections indexed by the Elisa specific indexer.

It is now storing the latest modification time of the files (possible by requiring Qt 5.10) and will only parse the properties of a track if needed. I did tests with a collection of around 4000 tracks and the improvement is really noticeable.

Please if you still notice problems, send us your feedback.

Ongoing work

Alexander Stippich is working on file system browsing from inside Elisa.

This work will be especially useful for playing tracks with no or bad properties.

It will also benefits everybody because when doing this work it has resulted in fixes for shared code like falling back to file name when no title property is there.

I am working to allow to browse the music by genre. This has led to many improvements to the automatic tests and the tracks database.

Screenshot_20180516_235410
Work In Progress: Browsing by Genre

One of the interesting side improvements is that now the only view that is visible is loaded in the interface. This should improve startup time and resource consumption.

Next Steps

We have decided to modify a little bit our release schedule to have two months before the feature freeze and only one more month before the release of the next stable release (i.e. the 0.2 version). The next step is the 2nd of June.

We Need your Help

There are quite some small tasks that are open in the Elisa workboard. They are a really good opportunity to join the project. Everybody will be happy to help and guide you. We will identify some junior jobs (I borrowed the idea from a recent blog post from KDE Connect team).

We also need help with every other tasks like: triaging bugs, working on code, improving the design and helping with the promo.

0.1.1 Release of Elisa

The Elisa team is happy to announce the first bug fix release for the 0.1 version.

The following changes have been integrated:

  • c5bc988 search for more cover names in directory by Alexander Stippich (Fix bug 392843);
  • 5113d00 remove the huge playlist icon by Alexander Stippich (Fix bug 392782).

One important note, Elisa is now available from flathub. Only the stable releases will be distributed through flathub.

Screenshot-2018-4-22 Flathub - A build and distribution service for Flatpak applications(1)
Flathub Elisa page

This release also has a windows setup at the time of release. Thanks a lot to the help from the Craft and binary-factory teams. Without them, I would not be able to do it.

Elisa source code tarball is available here. The Windows installer is also available from this place.