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Add a way to go to the next item when not in autoplay

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vandint
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Last seen: 9 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2010 - 02:11
Add a way to go to the next item when not in autoplay

Typically, I listen to podcasts with Autoplay Off, so when a track ends the next doesn't start automatically. However, it also doesn't advance to the next item in the playlist, making the "Next Up" notification pretty useless - when the track ends, it stays on the current track. It would be nice if after a track ends, pushing play started the track that's "Next Up". As it stands, I seem to need to leave Playmode and manually set up the next track to play.

Furthermore, the message attached to the "next track" button is correctly incorrect when autoplay is off. It's true that a long press does mark the current track as done. However, it does not play the next item in the playlist. Nor does it advance to the next item. All it does is mark the current item as done and keep it loaded as next to play.

This seemed like it MIGHT be a bug report, not a feature request, but I wasn't entirely sure how it's supposed to work.

I'm a new Android user (G2) having just switched from iPhone. Having a great podcast manager on my phone (and being free from iTunes) has been one of the biggest treats. Thanks!

eric
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Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2008 - 22:02
Autoplay

Everything that you are describing is exactly how it's intended to work...you seem to have covered pretty well what autoplay doesn't do when it's off. When it's on, it will do those things.

I think that most people (when they have autoplay off) don't want DC to start another audio file in any circumstances.

I do see how some changes might make it more usable for you...like starting the next audio file when you press play (I'm not sure other will want this though). The playmode screen should display the next item even if it's not going to auto-play it.

With auto-play off, I'm not going to be able to load the next audio file into the player because some people leave ap off because they want the audio file to remain in the player.

I'm going to need to think about this a bit because now it's pretty clear in most cases what dc does when auto play is on vs off...it does everything related to auto play or nothing. Things will start to get blurry if some auto features occur when auto-play is off.

Thanks for the feedback.

vandint
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Last seen: 9 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2010 - 02:11
Not autoplay, but >>|

Thanks for the feedback.

I definitely agree that with Autoplay off, it shouldn't start playing the next track automatically under any circumstances. Really, I think I'd be ecstatic if the >>| button just behaved a bit differently.

If the autoadvance thing is tricky with DC not running, that's fine. I'm actually fine with the way it is, I just assumed that "Next item" referred to the next item that would be played (I still don't understand its current use if autoplay is off) and that I might have found a bug.

But currently the instruction given when you tap the "next track" (>>|) button is simply wrong - it says "Long-press to flag this item as done and play the next item in the playlist," but it only does the first part. Now you could either fix the message (just say it will mark it as done) or fix the behavior (make it so it advances to the next track). Personally I'd prefer the latter.

If there's some reason the "next track" button *should* just mark it as done, it would perhaps be nice if the "next track" button advanced to the next track IF nothing is playing (another long-press, perhaps?) - currently, if it's stopped and the track is done, this button is useless (aside from making my phone vibrate).

The widget >>| button could also be a bit more useful. It's immensely handy with autoplay on, but doesn't do much with it off - it's basically a stop where I already have a pause.

Overall, I love the product - I just want an easier way to get to the next track than having to manually load it.

eric
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Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2008 - 22:02
Next button

The next button only does the 'play next' if you have auto-play enabled, otherwise it will just do the 'flag done' part. So with auto-play off, nothing auto-play related should work.

I do get what you're saying about trying to use the app with auto-play off, it really is designed to function with it on. I'll need to try to think of some ways to get make the app more useful when ap is off.

vandint
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Last seen: 9 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2010 - 02:11
Yeah, I've gotten that

Yeah, I've gotten that impression as I've used it more that it was meant to have autoplay on. I wish I'd known that before buying as I really hardly ever want it on.

I'd be thrilled if you just had the next button do what it currently says it does. I know you say that's an auto-play related feature, but to me it seems a basic playlist related feature. That playlist exists whether you have autoplay on or not and you already have the "next item up" previewing this item - how is having a way to actually get to that "next item up" really more autoplay-like?

I like many of the other features DoggCatcher has and just wish I could take better advantage of it - and not have to wake up enough to start a new podcast manually when I wake up in the middle of the night. This bug/design is costing me sleep :-P

(And again, if you really think that's not what the 'next item' button should do, please change the incorrect text.)

packy
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Joined: 07/27/2010 - 13:01
Wait, even if >>| worked the

Wait, even if >>| worked the way you wanted, wouldn't you still need to wake up to press it if you weren't in autoplay?

The change you're describing doesn't allow you to do anything you can't currently do in DC, it would just allow you to do it in fewer button presses:

Current: (podcast ends in AUTOPLAY OFF mode when you're you're in the alternate playmode)

  1. press >>| to mark the podcast finished (note: you can skip this step if the podcast ran all the way to the end, since it's marked finished automatically in that case)
  2. press the back button to go back to the audio playlist (note: you can skip this step if you're already in the audio playlist)
  3. tap the next podcast in the playlist so it will start playing

Your proposal: (podcast ends in AUTOPLAY OFF mode)

  1. press >>| to mark the current podcast finished and start playing the next one

Either way, if you're not in AUTOPLAY ON mode, you're going to need to wake up enough to start a new podcast manually when you wake up in the middle of the night. Your proposed change saves you the consciousness needed for--at most--two button presses.

vandint
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Last seen: 9 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2010 - 02:11
What you say is mostly true.

What you say is mostly true. It's not that I *can't* get to the next track (I can, of course, get to any track), it's that I can't get to it directly or easily. I mean, of course I need to at least press play to get it going, I don't want you to figure out that I'm not sleeping and start up automagically - that would honestly be a bit creepy :-P

One of my suggestions was related to the widget. If the >>| worked the way it does on autoplay (and the way it works in all other audioplayers I know of), I wouldn't need to go into DC at all. It would be much simpler, especially where it often takes several seconds for DC to start (has to load feeds or something).

Currently, when I go into DC, sometimes it takes me to the Playmode Screen, sometimes to the full podcast list screen (Feeds) - I haven't figured out what triggers which behavior. If the >>| key worked, I wouldn't need to care which - the control I needed would be present from any screen (and I wouldn't need to get to the one screen which never seems to load initially).

If I'm taken to the first screen (Feeds), then I need to click on the Audio button, which is small. Then it takes time to get the playlist up. Then it's usually at the head of the playlist, not focused on the section of the playlist I want (which I was just playing from). (Again, behavior seems somewhat random as sometimes it does take me to the currently playing part of the playlist.) So I scroll down to try to find the right section, roughly 3/4 of the way down the list. Then I see a bunch of choices from the playlist I want, and have to pick one. Yes, I could try to turn off the "Ooh, I get to pick" impulse and just go with the first, but when I'm shown 5 options it's hard not to put SOME brain cycles on choosing. Then I click on that. And then it starts.

Or if I'm taken to "Playmode", I have to click on 'back'. Again, it seems unpredictable where in the playlist I'll be, so have to scroll to locate a suitable item and click on it.

So... I either have one single click (or >>| and then >, if you prefer that) from any of 4 different screens (including the Home screen outside DC), or I have to navigate 1-3 screens with multiple branches, seeming unpredictability (I'm sure it's deterministic, but I haven't figured it out), and differing sets of buttons. One way I can do what I need to without waking fully up or while driving, the other I lose sleep or have to stop the car to manage.

I'm just a little confused that it sounds surprising that I'd rather the >>| button acts like it currently says that it does rather than for it to be a generally useless button when autoplay is off. If nothing is playing, the button simply does nothing. If I simply want DC to stop, I already have pause. If I want to restart the track, there are several other ways to do it and I probably don't want it marked done yet. If I want to mark it as done because I'm not interested in listening to it, I don't want it still queued to play next. I do use the button sometimes currently - but honestly only when I've accidentally started a track I've already heard because it was still in my queue (and again, I get "Mark as done" functionality in other ways as well). I'd just rather have a generally useful button.

As someone who uses DC with autoplay off, I just don't understand why the current behavior is the desired behavior for >>|. Like I said, the current operation is unintuitive enough to me that I thought I was reporting a small bug in a generally great product. I understand that DC was mainly set up for autoplay, but I don't understand why I'm still arguing that "next" should take me in some way to something that's 'next'.

vandint
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Last seen: 9 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2010 - 02:11
One small add: I really don't

One small add: I really don't have any strong preference between any of the following:

1) >>| marks as done, takes you to the next item, and if DC is currently playing it keeps playing (It's simplest, but may not be what everyone wants).

2) >>| takes you to the next item but doesn't play (You get to see what it is - if you like it, press play. It adds a button press to navigation, but means that if what you want is just to mark the current item as done and stop playing, you haven't removed any functionality - do no harm and all. I don't think there's much demand for "Mark as done but I want to hear it again so keep it queued" which is the way it currently works.)

3) >>| when what's currently loaded isn't marked done marks it as done. >>| when it's already marked done takes you to the next item. From there, you can press play. (A bit more complicated to explain, but doesn't change current functionality in any way and still intuitive.)

Basically, from my user perspective the difference between autoplay on and autoplay off is that one starts playing the next item in the playlist automatically when the current item is done and the other doesn't. Why this affects the behavior of 'next' and means the user should lose the ability to navigate from the playmode screen or widget is counter intuitive to me - this seems like basic audioplayer functionality (I think a record player that could only play one track was SOMEONE's definition of hell, but I forget whose).

I hope I'm not coming across as confrontational - I like Doggcatcher, but I simply don't understand why the current behavior of >>| is the way it *should* be. I hope my suggestions are useful.

vandint
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Last seen: 9 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2010 - 02:11
Alright, well I ended up

Alright, well I ended up finding another Podcatcher that does what I wanted - from the widget, I can press play, it loads up the next podcast, plays it, and then marks it as read and won't play it again.

Since I actually alternate between wanting it to play continuously (in which case DoggCatcher really shines and the alternative I found flops) and wanting it to play one and then stop (where DoggCatcher did not meet my needs) it honestly probably is easier for me to just have two apps - even the podcasts I listen to on 'continuous play'and 'play one' are different. I'm not sure how switching could be made easier than just having two apps, so in the end it's ok with me that DoggCatcher can't do one of the two things I require.

That said, I still think you could easily improve 'autoplay off'.
-It's misleading to say "next up..." in 'autoplay off'. Nothing is next up. Fixing that would have avoided some confusion when I was a new user. Just remove it when autoplay is off.
-It's really a shame that >>| is *only* a 'mark as read' button, especially in the widget. There are other easy ways to mark it as read, whereas "play something else" is something one frequently needs. I agree that the best way to do it might need some thought, though (although I hope my feedback helps).

Anyways, overall definitely a DoggCatcher fan - for autoplay on.

eric
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Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2008 - 22:02
I think you're changing my mind

I'm warming up to the idea of having the next button start the next item in the playlist even when auto-play is off, and also that the next button on the widget should do the same thing.

As you've pointed out, with ap off, the button doesn't do anything useful now. If I change it to start playing the next item, it's not really breaking anything that's existing. You obviously have much more experience using the app with ap off and you got some strong arguments for making the change.

Sorry it took so long to sink in. Sometimes I get my brain locked into a certain way of looking at it, that's it's hard to see another way.

I created an issue for this - http://mantis.snoggdoggler.com/view.php?id=809

I'd like to bring you into the beta group to test this once I get the work done, are you interested in doing that?

vandint
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Last seen: 9 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2010 - 02:11
Great! Yeah, I think that's

Great!

Yeah, I think that's the main thing - it doesn't do much at all currently, so no harm by having it do something that's *occasionally* useful.

I'd be happy to beta. Although my workaround with another app works quite well so it's no longer an issue for me personality - but I like DoggCatcher and am happy to help. :)

(I really have two distinct modes of listening so two apps works amazingly well - honestly the only way I'd abandon the two app system is if DoggCatcher could have different playlists and playmodes associated with different widgets and maybe with a quick toggle from within the player. One widget/mode for autoplaying during commutes with my normal playlist and a second widget/mode with autoplay off using my 'sleepytime' playlist. I guess it'd involve having your current 'categories' system also have an autoplay on/off flag and then have a query when you create a widget (maybe either a particular playlist or default to 'last played'). That sounds like enough of a headache and only for some kinds of powerusers so I'm not even asking - although if you could pull it off, it'd be AWESOME.)

eric
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Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2008 - 22:02
Beta

Sounds good, I'll get you set up for the beta.