New Now Playing Plasmoid, MPRIS2 dataengine

One thing that will be in KDE Plasma Desktop 4.9 is a new version of the Now Playing widget.  Based on QML, it works much better, especially on panels (where its design is based heavily on my favourite KDE-3-era applet, kirocker).

Now Playing on a panel

In the background, it uses the new mpris2 dataengine.  This exclusively supports MPRIS2-capable media players (which these days is most), and doesn’t include any hacks to support XMMS 1, for example.  JuK and Dragon have both gained MPRIS2 support for the 4.9 release, and Ubuntu’s sound menu uses MPRIS2, which is compelling many other media players to support it.

Now Playing on the desktop

The result is a cleaner, more reliable design, and completely asynchronous behaviour, so it will use less power and (unlike the old nowplaying dataengine) it should never cause your desktop to freeze due to a badly-behaving media player.

Now Playing with the mouse over

The old nowplaying dataengine is still there (and will be until KDE Plasma Desktop 5 is released), but should not be used for new widgets.  Instead, you should use the mpris2 dataengine, and I highly recommend porting any existing widgets to mpris2 as well.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the design of MPRIS2, which allowed me to create the mpris2 dataengine with a minimum of fuss, and allowed for widgets to implement a seek bar without querying the media player once or twice a second to find the current position (and not take the performance/power hit if they didn’t care about the current playback position).

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9 Responses to “New Now Playing Plasmoid, MPRIS2 dataengine”

  1. JanKusanagi Says:

    Looks very very nice :D

  2. labatts Says:

    That looks really nice. Can’t wait to use it! =)

  3. ericmesa Says:

    Man, now I can’t wait until KDE 4.9! At least this explains why sometimes my entire desktop would freeze when Amarok was misbehaving, but hasn’t done that since I got rid of now playing.

    With the old now playing it wasn’t working across activities (at least it didn’t seem to work for me) does it work with this new backend?

    • randomguy3 Says:

      Neither the old nor the new one should be affected by being on different activities. The old one could, however, be confused if you had multiple media players open at once (it wasn’t very clever at picking which one to display).

  4. zeltak Says:

    wow looks amazing, is there any chance it will work with 4.8? if not is it currently part of the kde 4.9 Beta? would love to try this :)

    Z.

    • randomguy3 Says:

      There isn’t an official 4.9 beta yet (although your distro may be packaging something that it calls a beta, I guess). When there is, it will be included.

      It isn’t available for 4.8, although you could probably (with a bit of work) download and test it. The dataengine is at git://anongit.kde.org/scratch/alexmerry/mpris2-dataengine (use “git clone”), and the plasmoid is at git://anongit.kde.org:scratch/alexmerry/nowplaying-qml (and can be installed with the plasmapkg command). Getting it working may be more effort than it’s worth, though, especially as not everything will work properly under 4.8 (particularly the buttons might behave oddly or not work at all).

  5. Migue Chan Says:

    Hi there, randomguy,
    Is there some way I can download and test this plasmoid???

    • randomguy3 Says:

      The dataengine is at git://anongit.kde.org/scratch/alexmerry/mpris2-dataengine (use “git clone”), and the plasmoid is at git://anongit.kde.org:scratch/alexmerry/nowplaying-qml (and can be installed with the plasmapkg command). Getting it working may be more effort than it’s worth, though, especially as not everything will work properly under 4.8 (in particular, the buttons might behave oddly or not work at all).

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