Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Choosing an audio player for the blog

In case you haven't noticed, I recently added an audio player to the blog. I did some research for free players and felt that my best options were:

1. Create a Windows Media Player jukebox. To make people aware of what they were listening to, I'd have to code in a list of the interviewees at the top to let listeners know what was playing. As the podcast list would grow though, I knew that providing a whole list would be troublesome as it would take up too much space.

2. Use an XSPF player that would scroll the names of the interviewees as the podcast played. I ended up choosing the slim version of the player as the expanded version didn't fit in the space provided on the right column of the blog. While I liked the design of the player, I knew that the text may be hard for some to view.

3. Use a tool called Streampad to play the site's audio content. The blog visitor would see a thin bar at the bottom of the blog that would play the site's podcasts. For some reason, the tool only played 1 of the 6 podcasts I had available. Also, when I asked a friend to rate the players, she said she ended up completely overlooking this one as it was positioned at the bottom of the page.

With that being said, I ended up selecting the XSPF player and created my first playlist in this xml format. The experience was different from the m3u file I had to create for Windows Media Player. One big difference was how easy this format makes it to associate images for each file in the playlist. But, to utilize the image feature, you have to make use of the expanded player - which wasn't an option in this case.

How about your organizations, readers? Are any of your technology teams making use of XSPF? If so, what prompted the decision to use this format? What has the experience been like so far?

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