Songbird 1.4.1 add-on update guides

Sunday, Dec 13. 2009  –  Category: Songbird

Heads up Songbird developers!   (Non-developer Songbird users, feel free to move along… nothing to see here, etc. etc.)

We’re planning to push our next public release of Songbird (1.4.1) next week, and wanted to give you a quick rundown of what’s new for the release and what changes you’ll need to make in order to bring your extensions and Feathers up to date for 1.4.1.  The major change is a brand new Feather called Purple Rain.  One of the consistent pieces of feedback we had regarding Gonzo was that there was a lot of confusion between the concepts of collapsing/expanding (using the splitter/grippy) a display pane vs. showing/hiding (using the buttons).  We’ve done away with the concept of showing/hiding, and moved to large more obvious splitters.  Users were also having trouble with the small display pane header buttons/tabs (used in Album Art, mashTape, etc.) so we’ve changed that functionality as well.

For extension developers, this means if you’ve previously utilised the display pane header navigation elements, you’ll need to change to our new model which uses sub-menus available via the display pane add-on picker/drop-down menu.  The good news is it’s fairly straightforward, and is super extensible to allow your extension to create entirely unlimited sub-menus/menuitems.  We’ve got this all detailed in our Extension Update Guide for Songbird 1.4.1 available on the developer wiki.

For Featherers, things are somewhat more involved.  We listened to a lot of the usability feedback we got from our users.. so on the plus side, we think the Feather is much more straight-forward and obvious to use for new users.  The downside is it’s a fairly major update to get your Feather working.  You’ll want to take a look at our Feathers Update Guide for Songbird 1.4.1 to get all the salient details.  The easiest thing to do is to startup the Feathers Creation wizard and create a new Purple Rain based Feather to get all the layout and widget changes, and then pull any existing images.  If you’re trying to migrate a Gonzo based Feather, keep in mind a lot of dimension sizes have changed, so your graphics probably won’t drop in one for one.  It may be possible (though untested) to keep your Gonzo based Feather, and just update the CSS with the changes done in Purple Rain, and then create new images for the new elements (such as the new Media Views and display pane images).  If you’re having trouble with updating Feathers, please drop by our songbird-dev Google Group for more info and some help!

(many many thanks to Michael Purses, one of Songbird GetSatisfaction champs for pitching in this weekend to help put together the Feathers Update Guide)

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21 Comments to “Songbird 1.4.1 add-on update guides”

  1. Andy Says:

    All I heard was “next week” :D

  2. Laura Says:

    W00t for NEXT WEEK…can’t wait. Michael, you are a superstar!

  3. Evan Says:

    Is purple rain going to be a native theme for Windows? Eg., use the default title bar etc like it does in the mac version?

  4. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Evan: Nope, Purple Rain will continue to use custom chrome (window decorations) on Windows & Linux.

  5. Chris Says:

    Will Gonzo be ported to Purple Rain format or will it supercede it completely as Gonzo did to Rubberducky?

  6. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Chris: Gonzo will be superseded completely by Purple Rain

  7. Chris Says:

    Thanks Steve. Good to know. Keep up the great work. :)

  8. Evan Says:

    @Stephen Lau: Ugh, lame. Is there a reason for this? Completely destroys all of the nice Aero effects as it is now. I was really hoping it would be native.

  9. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Evan: Mostly because the # of people who prefer custom chrome seems to be higher than the # of people who want native window decorations on Windows. It wouldn’t be hard for a third party to make a Feather that uses native window decorations if someone really wanted it…

  10. Stormdancer Says:

    You know… the comments placed here don’t show up on the “Comments (nn)” button on the http://blog.songbirdnest.com/ page. It just says “Comments (0)”, and thus defaults to #respond.

    I’m a little iffy about loosing the Gonzo feather, but right now I’m very happy with Steel. I’ll probably launch into making a Redtail feather when 1.4.1 gets here.

  11. Chauncellor Says:

    @Evan:

    http://addons.songbirdnest.com/addon/1462

    Don’t know how it works, and it looks like you’ll have to tweak the install.rdf, but http://addons.songbirdnest.com/addon/1462this seems like what you’re looking for

  12. Chris Says:

    Chauncellor: he’d have to change more than that.. I believe that feather is a mod of the default skin.. independant of it. So it won’t just add native windowframes to any default skin you have, it’ll show Gonzo feathers and as such will be a bit broken. Good news is it’s been done, so it can (and hopefully will) be done again for Purple Rain.

  13. Evan Says:

    @Chauncellor: Nice find but I’ve used this addon before and it is extremely buggy, not to mention out of date :(

  14. Katana346 Says:

    Off topic… But will there be an option to disable the splash screen in the final release?

  15. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Katana346: Not in this release, but that’s a good idea. Want to file a bug for it?

  16. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Katana346 – actually I just realised you can simply delete the splash.bmp (or move it out of the way) and that’ll turn it off.

  17. alumni Says:

    i like gonzo more than purple rain, especially for the colors and for that display pane toggle button. i hope you will still keep gonzo in the future.

  18. Alfred Kayser Says:

    Making a feather that supports both Gonzo and PurpleRain layout will be tricky, so an existing feather ported to PurpleRain won’t support versions older than 1.4.1, which essentially means that existing feathers will need to branch their feather into a new name (and GUID) to prevent issues between Gonzo and PurpleRain….

  19. Alfred Kayser Says:

    MoreGonzo 1.3.0 is just released supporting both Gonzo (and Gonzo based feathers) and Purple Rain. Please let me know of any issues.

  20. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Alfred – Hey Alfred! Actually you can upload a version of your Feather (with the same name and GUID/emid) with a minVersion of 1.4.1 and maxVersion of 1.4.* and it will only be presented to users with Purple Rain, so you won’t quite have to fork it..

  21. Mr. Christian Says:

    We’ve been anxiously awaiting Google’s web browser’s widgets for quite some time – In a day I’ve played with 6 extensions and am awed with the plugins. Firefox 3 has started to been buggy & the extensions are necessary.

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