Refactoring my IPod


#1

OK I’m getting waaaayyy off topic now:

I just bought an IPod and plan on burning my classical music collection
to it. I’ve heard there are some issues categorizing and labeling
classic music on ITunes. Are there any good Ruby libraries for dealing
with Itunes catalogs? I’m using a Mac so Ruby AppleScript wrappers
would work too.

Steve


#2

On Apr 20, 2006, at 14:45, Molitor, Stephen L wrote:

OK I’m getting waaaayyy off topic now:

I just bought an IPod and plan on burning my classical music collection
to it. I’ve heard there are some issues categorizing and labeling
classic music on ITunes. Are there any good Ruby libraries for dealing
with Itunes catalogs? I’m using a Mac so Ruby AppleScript wrappers
would work too.

There are a lot of different ways to sort based on the various kinds of
meta-data, and it would be a pain to have to code a special method to
sort on each type of meta-data:

list.sort_by_artist, list.sort_by_title, etc.

If one were satisfied with a one-key sort, this would work. I, alas,
wasn’t willing to have all the tracks randomly listed within each
artist or whatever.

I created a ruby program that would allow me to do quite a bit of
processing on my iTunes library. First, I had to (re)create the
information from iTunes about/for each Track.

class Track
attr_reader :dbid
attr_accessor :name, :album, :artist, :tracknumber, :trackcount
attr_accessor :location, :genre, :year, :rating, :enabled, :playeddate
attr_accessor :playedcount, :start, :finish, :duration, :EQ,
:composer, :dateadded

def initialize(id)
	@dbid = id
	self
end

end

iTunes has a unique id number for a track which is reuses as it
reappears in various playlists and whatnot.

The rest of the information was added to each track with the method
‘bulkload’, usually, although it could be done one attribute at a
time…

def bulkLoad(params)
	@location = params[1]
	@location.downcase! if @location
	@name = params[2]
	@album = params[3]
	@artist = params[4]
	@tracknumber = params[5]
	@trackcount = params[6]
	@genre = params[7]
	@year = params[8]
	@rating = params[9]
	@enabled = params[10]
	@playeddate = params[11]
	@playedcount = params[12]
	@start = params[13]
	@finish = params[14]
	@duration = params[15]
	@EQ = params[16]
	@composer = params[17]
	@dateadded = params[18]
	self
end

That, naturally, depends on feeding in the parameters in the correct
order after getting them from iTunes. I used AppleScript to get the
data from iTunes.

	applescript = %{tell application "iTunes"
	with timeout of 1200 seconds
	set trackData to {database id, location, name, album, artist, track

number, track count, genre, year, rating, enabled, played date, played
count, start, finish, duration, EQ, composer, date added, disc number}
of } + @trackSource + ’
end
end
repeat with I from 1 to count of item 2 of trackData
try
set item I of item 2 of trackData to (POSIX path of item I of item
2 of trackData)
end
end repeat
get trackData’
itunesdata = OSX.do_osascript applescript

What’s returned isn’t a Ruby Object at first, so AppleScript lists must
be turned into Ruby Arrays, as well as their contents…

	tracklist = itunesdata.to_rbobj.map!{|list| list.to_rbobj.map{|i|

i.to_rbobj}}

Then the array of Tracks is built…

	@tracks = Array.new
	tracklist.transpose.each do |track|
		newTrack = Track.new(track[0]) # first item is the database id
		newTrack.bulkLoad(track) # dump all the rest of the stuff into the

new track
@tracks.push(newTrack)
end

All of the above is to illustrate the methodology I used for sorting
iTunes tracks.

class Track
def <=>(other)
answer = self.artist <=> other.artist
answer = self.album <=> other.album if answer == 0
answer = self.name <=> other.name if answer == 0
answer = self.dbid <=> other.dbid if answer == 0
return answer
end
end

(Yes, it could be made shorter. It’s plenty fast as it is, and nice and
clear.)

Now, all I have to do is something like @tracks.sort! and they’ll be
sorted by artist, then by album, then by name, and if there are
multiple tracks on an album with the same name, they’re arbitrarily
sorted by their iTunes ID. I’m not personally all that interested in
the order they appeared on my CD, so I didn’t use that as a sort key.

IF I have the track’s metadata correct then I find iTunes itself is
perfectly capable of handling classical music. Unfortunately, 95% of
what CDDB has is garbage, alas, with the composer listed as the artist,
or the movement in the title and the title as the performer, or all
sorts of corrupted or incomplete information. So my iTunes ruby scripts
(and applescripts) were created mostly for mass library maintenance, to
get the metadata in better shape.

If your metadata includes proper use of “Composer” and “Grouping”
(which I see my current script doesn’t, oops), then I don’t know what
“issues” there might be remaining with how iTunes handles classical
music.