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Part II: Home Entertainment > Access Your Entire Media Collection Over the Inte...

Chapter 10. Access Your Entire Media Collection Over the Internet

What You Need
  • Web server running IIS (or Apache with ChiliASP!)

  • Media player that supports WinAMP-style playlist and URLs

  • Broadband Internet connection

Do you remember when music was distributed on vinyl? Record albums were prone to damage and dust, and they were too large to be truly portable. Plus, you couldn't possibly listen to them in the car. The first major improvement to that format to gain wide acceptance was the cassette tape, but those had their limitations as well. They were susceptible to environmental hazards, like heat, and eventually wore out through continued use. They also eliminated the random-access feature that vinyl provided. Then along came compact discs. CDs were still in danger of damage from scratches, but to a much lesser degree than vinyl. The format took off because of the convenient form factor and random-access features. But of course it would be only a matter of time before improvements in distribution formats made CDs inconvenient or unnecessary, if not obsolete.

These days, few true geeks are listening to music that hasn't been digitized for use with a computer or portable device. You've probably already ripped your entire CD collection. Perhaps you've been downloading music from the Internet, either using a peer-to-peer system like Kazaa (Gnutella, Napster, WinMX, etc.) or one of the legal online music outlets like iTunes or eMusic (or again, to our surprise, Napster). You've probably enjoyed the benefits of having an entire music collection accessible from a computer-based player like MediaPlayer, WinAMP, or many others that are too numerous to list.

So how would you like to be able to access your collection from anywhere, using nothing but a web browser? This project, conceptualized in Figure 10-1, makes it possible. You can even use the architecture of this project to create web sites that allow you to access other media formats such as images or video. In fact, anything represented as a file on your computer can be accessed similarly.

Figure 10-1. Conceptual diagram of a web-accessible media library.



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