Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Update: cloud services, social sharing, donations and much more

Finally! It's here!

Yesterday I pushed out the new website and just a few minutes ago I released the latest upgrade of Stoffi. It contains mostly under-the-hood changes but there are some pretty neat features worth highlighting. Here's my favorites:

Cloud services

The biggest change has been on the website. It is now possible to register an account either by filling out a form or by logging in with either Facebook, Twitter, Google, SoundCloud, Vimeo or LinkedIn. The registration is very simple and easy. There's no confirmation step, no gender, no address, no security questions; if you use the form you only need to provide an email and choose a password. I've also kept security as a main focus when designing the account system.

The website has also gained the ability to have other websites or applications connect to it. For example in Stoffi Music Player you can now login to your account on and access that data. This opens up some really cool new stuff. For one you can now synchronize some settings between different Stoffi Music Players like your shuffle and repeat state or the volume. You can also login to the website and remotely control all players which are hooked up to the synchronization. This let's you see what song is currently playing, increase the volume, pause or skip to the next track.

The plan is to further expand the settings that can be synchronized. My goal is to have playlists, queue and history in the next version. Then expand further in the future with shortcut settings, equalizer, list configurations (sorting, columns, search, selection). The remote control will also be enhanced so you can browse your music and select which to play or queue, create playlists, etc.

Social network integration

If you have created an account and connected it to Stoffi and either Facebook or Twitter you can now share YouTube tracks with your friends. Just right-click the song and there will be a "Share" item.

In your account settings (accessible both via the website and inside Stoffi) you can choose where your share will appear (Facebook and/or Twitter).

This feature is pretty basic and I plan on adding the ability to attach messages to the sharing and select on a share-by-share basis on which services the song will appear.

Donation service

My favorite new feature is a new donation service where you can send money to support any artist you want. This cuts out most of the usual middle men and gives the artist the biggest share of the cake. The share of the artist is by default set to 80% but you can set it to anything you want. We also, by default, set aside a 10% share for charity.

The system uses PayPal and we don't save any sensitive information at all. 

Other noteworthy improvements

I have also added search indicators which show you where a search is currently active. This helps you spot why you're for example only seeing Eminem music in your collection of over 4,000 tracks. It also further illustrates how our three different search policies work.

By popular demand I've also added a playlist generator which let's you generate a list of songs by choosing randomly a given number of tracks from a larger set. This is very useful if you want to create a playlist to export to your MP3 player or burn to a CD for you care. In the next version I will add the ability to have the limit set in total size or total length instead of just number of tracks.

I am also very proud to announce a new language of Stoffi: German (thanks to Tom). There's some other minor enhancement, a ton of bug fixes and some improvements to stability and performance.