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10.6. Extensions

For the sake of being concise, this project provides only essential functionality, but some very simple additions can make your new system a pleasure to use.

  • You could add cover art to each album and modify the display functions to insert the images in the page. You could even get fancy and use screen-scraping techniques to automatically grab cover art from a web site like Amazon.com or Buy.com.

  • One limitation of this project is that you can't mix and match songs from several artists or a specific subset of songs from one artist. For example, you can't create a playlist of your three favorite songs from three different artists. This can be corrected in various ways. Perhaps you could modify the single song function so that it appends to the playlist rather than creating a new one each time. Or maybe you could keep track of the songs you're selecting using session variables.

  • Wouldn't it also be nice to be able to upload MP3s from anywhere on the Web to your collection? You could add a form that allows you to browse your local filesystem and transfer selected files to the correct location on your web server.

  • MP3 files generally contain a lot of meta-information in ID3 tags. You could add functionality to parse that data and include it in the display routines to provide richer information about the music you collect. You could even create tools that allow you to modify or insert tags.

  • Another idea would be to keep track of usage data. Would you like to know your own personal top ten? It wouldn't take much to coax the playlist generator functions to keep track of stuff like that.

  • You could also place a real database between the files and the application, allowing you to keep track of all kinds of things. Doing so makes it easy to create playlists based on anything from genre to "songs that start with Q."

  • Lastly, because I wanted to make it as generic as possible, this project only plays MP3 files. But because your site is for your own personal use, you get to call the shots and can easily add other media formats. For example, you could modify the display and playlist routines to allow files with an .OGG extension; if you prefer Windows Media Audio files, add those. This is your site; make it do whatever you want it to.


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