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Winamp 3- another rewrite from scratch mistake?

Hi All,

I guess title should catch your fancy.

According to what I have read on Winamp 3's help, its a COMPLETE rewrite. and I should say it's no where near the quality of Winamp 2.7x!

My rants:

Number 1 rant: If all the files in your play list is invalid, Winamp goes in infinite loop! This happens when I play audio CD, all the items in list are songs from CD. And if by mistake, I don't have CD in drive! Boy...

Number 2: I don't know about you, but certainly it takes Winamp3 takes good amount of time to load!

They have made skin COMPLETELY configurable.
Result: People are making skins where locating even Play button is a trick!


There were several problems but I don't remember them because I have switched back to Winamp 2.79 and I am having a peaceful life! :)

Didn’t this rewrite has caused lots of problems? I can see lots of new bugs (which werent there in Winamp 2.xx )appearing in Winamp 3 and I couldn't agree more with Joel who mentioned that throwing away code is WORST thing one can do.

What say?
Regards,
JD

JD
Friday, July 25, 2003

I don't think it was the rewrite that was the problem.  It was feature creep -- plain and simple.  I use Winamp 2.79 also.  Its fast and plays MP3s, which is all I need.

As for the skins, yeah, most all of them suck.  But aren't they kewl?!?

Alex
Friday, July 25, 2003

Can't you accomodate new features in existing code?

They have added lots of things from Winamp 2.70 to 2.79, couldnt they have slowely moved to 2.8, 2.9 and then 3.0??

Regards,
JD

JD
Friday, July 25, 2003

I also use Winamp 2.xx.  But then I've never even tried Winamp 3.x, I just read all the comments about it and decided it wasn't worth it.

Ultimately, I think Winamp reached a level of perfection and they only step left was to screw it up with "useless" features.

There are lots of programs like that -- VB6 added a bunch of buggy and not-very-useful enhancements to VB5 just for the sake of coming out with a new version.  (VB5 isn't perfection, but improving it any meaningful way would have been a larger undertaking)

Windows XP has lots of enhancements over Win2k (nothing major) but they just had to add the Luna interface (skins!) to bloat it up.

I suppose all developers have been guilty of this at some point.  It's easy to take any really good piece of software and make it more configurable (confusing), add more options (bloated), and make it prettier (slow).

Almost Anonymous
Friday, July 25, 2003

After using iTunes, you recognize that all these ridiculous, skinnable, graphic equalizing, unusable, freaky interface MP3 players are plain crap.

pb
Friday, July 25, 2003

Even the developers at Nullsoft have given up on Winamp 3...

AOL backtracks on Winamp media player

America Online's celebrated Nullsoft division is taking a page out of Coca-Cola's playbook, reviving a "classic" version of its flagship Winamp MP3 player amid widespread criticism of the latest rendition of the software.

http://news.com.com/2100-1025_3-1021601.html

David Carlson
Friday, July 25, 2003

I worked at winamp during the writing of winamp 3. The original winamp developers never even worked on winamp 3. Justin kept working on refining winamp 2. The only reason winamp 3 even existed as a project is because justin needed to give his half-brother a job (architect of winamp 3).

...
Friday, July 25, 2003

I think we've already had this discussion on the JOS forums.

I installed Winamp 3. It was shite. I uninstalled it and reinstalled Winamp 2.

runtime
Friday, July 25, 2003

Also, the built-in cross-fader in winamp 3 isn't as good as the sqrsoft addon for winamp 2.

anony124
Friday, July 25, 2003

What's interesting is that the Winamp3 API is supposed to be more robust, but it seems most basement devs just consider it incomprehensible. I can't tell you how many times I've seen on a Winamp plugin: "Winamp 2 only" (with an occasional postscript "Maybe I'll port it to WA3 if I can ever figure out the API")

Winamp2 is one of those perfect pieces of shareware - you install it, the interface is intuitive, and it just plain works. No thought required.

My only bitch about it was that their shuffle routines seem to have an affinity problem - you keep hearing the same 20-30 songs over and over...

Philo

Philo
Friday, July 25, 2003

Someone explained to me that the problem with Winamp's shuffle is that it is truly random.  It picks an already-played song just as easily as a not-played song.

The desired behavior from most people would be to guarantee that you don't hear the same song again until every song has been played or at least to change the probability once a song has been played.

Richard Ponton
Friday, July 25, 2003

I don't believe it's truly random - several hundred songs in a playlist playing 10-14 hours a day five days a week and we'd consistently heard the same songs, while there were other songs that we never heard - a true random distribution shouldn't be that heavily lopsided, should it?

Philo

Philo
Friday, July 25, 2003

I'd also like a "random" feature to not play too many songs from the same artist in a row.

Interstingly enough, Winamp has reverted back to the 2.x line, and the next version will be based on the tried-and-true codebase, borrowing ideas from the "new and improved" version.    So perhaps a complete rewrite was useful to them as a learning exercise.   

Winamp doesn't generate any revenue for AOL, so it's hard to say they made a bad "business case" for doing a complete rewrite.

anon
Friday, July 25, 2003

Kind of off topic, but if you want a better "random" song chooser, try this plugin for winamp2 & 3: www.robodj.org

I promise I'm not the guy who wrote it...I just use it. :)

R343L
Saturday, July 26, 2003

"I don't think it was the rewrite that was the problem.  It was feature creep --"

Yes, that's becoming a big problem with lot's of programs like this.  Audio players, CD burners, etc.  Companies feel compelled to regularly release new versions of these programs, but there's really nothing new for them to do -- an MP3 player is an MP3 player ........... is an MP3 player.

So they start adding in all sorts of other unnecessary junk.  Eventually, it becomes too bloated, or they break something.
Or both.

Maytag Repairman
Saturday, July 26, 2003

>if you want a better "random" song chooser, try this
>plugin for winamp2 & 3:

An even simpler solution is to randomly sort your playlist and then play from Song #1 through to the end.  It takes me five weeks to get through my entire playlist and by that time I'm ready to start back at the beginning.  I'm guaranteed never to hear the same song twice in that five weeks.

Matt Foley
Saturday, July 26, 2003

I installed winamp 3 last week.

Total crap. I normally boot into Linux, so had not checked it out.

When I get time, I will download Winamp 2.xx. In the meantime, I only use the windows cd player when I am working in win 2k.

tapiwa
Saturday, July 26, 2003

>"Can't you accomodate new features in existing code?

>They have added lots of things from Winamp 2.70 to 2.79, couldnt they have slowely moved to 2.8, 2.9 and then 3.0??"

When software has been incrementally developed over a number of years, the original clean design often gets bastardized to the point where adding anything more will make the code unreliable, as it has accumulated too much cruft and booby-traps.  That is even more likely now that Winamp is now under the control of the PHBs at AOL.  Sometimes the software just gets to a point where you have to rewrite much or all of it before enhancing it any further.

However, when rewriting from scratch, one should not ditch the old system until the new one has been tested to be better than the previous one.  If it isn't better, rework it or revert it.  That's the mistake places make when they rewrite code -- they don't have any fallback plans to go back to the old code if the new one doesn't work as expected, they just go ahead and release the rewritten version because a certain date has been hit.

T. Norman
Sunday, July 27, 2003

"When software has been incrementally developed over a number of years, the original clean design often gets bastardized to the point where adding anything more will make the code unreliable, as it has accumulated too much cruft and booby-traps"

I'm not sure this is a rule. I think if anything it's a warning to those doing maintenance to maintain carefully and refactor when possible so you *don't* reach this point.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, July 27, 2003

It's definitely not a rule.  I said "often", not "always", and the attitudes of management towards effort spent on architecture and refactoring has a big effect on how frequently the cruft accumulates.  When PHBs are obsessed with the next immediate release date, it is much more likely that new features will just get slapped on without regard to the long-term maintainability of the software.

T. Norman
Sunday, July 27, 2003

Sorry for interrupting your rants on skins and features :)
I use winamp3 mostly because of playlists manipulation. That's a feature i really like. About skins -- i didn't change it since first try. Well, and never use crossfading.

cypher
Monday, July 28, 2003

I remember when skins were something you used with roaches.

Them were the days
Monday, July 28, 2003

Matt Foley-

robodj is a "weighted" randomizer. It has a dialog for basically rating songs/albums/artists in relation to other songs/albums/artists so that the "randomly" picked song takes in your preferences. So if you really like SOAD (like me), your songs of theirs will play really often while other things you only like occasionally (like the Star Wars Imperial March) play infrequently.

I guess it's not really a random song picker - poor choice of words. Many people don't like the way winamp randomizes (either in shuffle mode or just randomizing the playlist.)

R343L
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

i found out the shuffle on winamp3 only chooses from the top (roughly) half of the playlist (when there are a lot of songs in a playlist - i have about 550). that should explain why it always plays the same songs. greetz

Michiel Lipperts (The Netherlands)
Saturday, March 13, 2004

talking of randomizing.. dunno if it's any use as it has some other features and ain't free, but there's a new add-on 'ere for playlist automation/randoming www.e-ultrasys.com (found it on google the other week)

haven't used it, as I only listen to my own mp3 collection usually full albums) but it could help, i guess.

anon
Sunday, August 29, 2004

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