Lasciate ogne speranza
Sunday, 10 August 2008
Nobody knows...

Web designers make it seem so easy. Hey, if you want music on your website,  just add this piece of code to your HTML. just foot. Takes a little time for a person like me, who isn't clasically trained in web design, to cozy up to all the new programs. A background in low level languages, reading register contents and chasing link lists,  does not fully prepare one for the Brave New Internet. 

I spent an entire day figuring out how to put music on a site. Each time I thought I had the right player, I would push it further, and refine it to another level. The more I learned, the more I knew that I do not know.

I could have gone with the simple "click this link and have your windows media playyer handle it." But I wanted a cool interface. So I went searching first for "web music players" then I discovered what I really wanted was "free flash players". There's a handful out there. I'd download the code, then decide that it was too bulky. Then there were the mini ones that just played one song. Didn't want either of those. 

Until I found Fabricio's player. 

Not a lot of extra customization, but it fit the bill. At first, I downloaded a modded version of the swf file that wanted to phone home to its mother website. And Firefox, God bless it's protective little browser soul, stopped the communique. When I finally got a version that didn't want to talk to mommy, the swf worked just fine. 

But I wasn't happy with it. I wanted to put in a link for lyrics. I visited the site,  and figured out it's controlled by the <info> statement within the xspf file, and the info_button_text= statement within HTML. How to insert the latter statement took a little finagling because I have no knowledge of the Macromedia flash parameter set. 

The CD cover art size on the player is a bit too big, and I have to constrain the container for the right half of the page, to fit the player. I'd rather make the cover smaller, and for that I have to peek at the player's fla code to see if I can tweak it to my heart's content. I've had a tiny brush with Flash, and I understand the concepts, so maybe this is something I can tackle.

After making the whole shebang work on my computer, I went to upload to Geocities. All the new files updated fine, except for (ominous music up and out, followed by a horrendous wail), the xspf file.  Geocities would not recognize or upload the farkin' control file.  Aargh!

Don't panic. What do we know about xspf. It's somewhat related to XML (though I'm not sure what the difference is but I'll find out), and .XML is a valid extension. Wild shot in the dark, simply rename it to XML and cross my fingers. Big sigh of relief, when the newly renamed XML file uploaded, and actually worked with no obvious fallout.  

I am done for the day. Done done done -- NOT.

When I go to the music page, and play the songs a few times, I hit the dreaded Geocities "page inaccessible" error. Apparently I'd exceeded my hourly download capacity.

I chopped the mp3s to fifteen second clips, at about 300K apiece. I still won't have enough space, if people will be trafficking through the music page.  Buggers. It's time to move into a new apartment. I put off the inevitable for long enough. I'm going to have to BUY host space if I want to store music on it. Hmmm, maybe I can find a free music host...

A-shopping we will go...

Posted by cscompanion at 2:52 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 10 August 2008 3:44 PM EDT

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