iTunes: Needs a Inspector palette or Song Information drawer

Posted by Pierre Igot in: iTunes
June 17th, 2004 • 11:25 pm

In the spirit of Harold Martin’s recent post at O’Reilly on “five things the next iTunes version should have,” here’s one that I would really find useful.

I frequently have songs whose title is too long to fit in the “Song Name” column with the default column width that I use. I can increase the width of the column to see more of the song name, but sometimes the name is so long that it’s really not practical.

What I would like to see in iTunes is an Information drawer similar to the one used in iCal for calendar events, which would display all the information about the currently selected song in full.

Right now the only way to access the information in full is to invoke the Get Info dialog box. I often find that dialog box sluggish (it takes a while to appear, and switching from field to field often causes a delay too). In any case, a modal dialog box is not the way to go when it comes to editing song information. These information fields should be available through a non-modal control such as a drawer or an Inspector-type palette. (I personally would prefer a drawer, but Apple can do the same as in iCal and let the user choose between a drawer and an Inspector.)

This would really make my life easier! These song information fields always need to be edited, or viewed in full.

4 Responses to “iTunes: Needs a Inspector palette or Song Information drawer”

  1. ssp says:

    Making the info window a non-modal inspector palette would be as far as I’d go. And even that could be problematic as you’d have to account for the incredibly useful next/previous buttons in that scheme…

    For displaying those long names there could be ‘tooltip’ thingies after extended hovering. (With the drawback that those are quite ugly…)

  2. brian w says:

    The idea of opening a narrow, tall drawer to edit text that’s too long and wide for a normal window strikes me as somehow counterintuitive ;)

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Brian: You have a point — except that in that drawer the text would wrap and span several lines if needed. Also, don’t forget that drawers don’t have to be on the side. You can have a drawer sliding out of the bottom of the window. Transmit has a drawer like that.

    ssp: The Next/Previous buttons might be useful, but mostly because we are in a modal dialog situation :-). Plus the switching from song to song is awfully sluggish, even on my dual G4. And I “only” have 3,500 songs in my library.

  4. ssp says:

    Pierre: I agree that the switching can be sluggish ? though I am conviced that this is mainly due to edits where the tag seems to be at the beginning of the file and hence a whole 5MB file will have to be read and rewritten. This takes a second or two. (Of course it could have been done asynchronously…)

    For practical purposes, you may be delighted to learn that you can type ahead in the dialogue will it is still updating and that it supports handy keyboard equivalents (Command P and N), making batch editing like insertion of track numbers much more tolerable.

    In a non-modal dialogue box this whole aspect of blindly typing into the dialogue would be lost imho. I don’t think a non-modal dialogue would provide an obvious way to quickly run through multiple songs without spawning confusion about where the focus, how to change the selection, etc.

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