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Now Playing 2.0 Plugin for Windows Live Writer

Posted in Music | Now Playing at Wednesday, January 31, 2007 9:08 PM W. Europe Standard Time

I'm using Windows Live Writer (WLW) to post on my blog. So far it's been a very good experience, even though the WLW is currently in beta. Having said that I like the music I'm listening to as a "post signature" I wrote a WinForms application for this very purpose back in the day. Now that I use WLW, a plugin may be a better approach. For anyone who's looking for a specific WLW plugin, wlwplugins.com is great site to visit. Unfortunately there's not a single plugin listed in the Moods & Music category that I liked and that has the features I desire.

So I went and wrote my own plugin. Of course it should incorporate all the features Now Playing 1.0 had. And because I was missing some features from the plugins I was trying from wlwplugins.com, it should be extensible so that you can extend it to your liking. Yes, that's like plugins for a plugin.

Introducing Now Playing 2.0

As said above, I've completely rewritten Now Playing 1.0, so please consider this release beta-ish. Now Playing is installed by copying the files in the zip (see below) to the %ProgramFiles%\Windows Live Writer\Plugins directory. The zip already contains plugins to support

because this is what I like to use. As far as I can tell Now Playing 2.0 this is the first WLW plugin that supports Winamp by directly querying the artist, album and title and not using the GetWindowText() APIs. The files NowPlaying.Core.dll and NowPlaying.WLW.dll are necessary and should not be deleted.

The Now Playing plugin looks for other plugins in the Plugins directory and automatically loads them. After starting WLW, you'll see Now Playing as a new plugin in the Tools\Preferences dialog. Click on the Options button to see the following dialog.

NowPlaying Plugins Tab

On the plugins tab you see that there are basically two types of plugins. Media player plugins are used to obtain basic track information (artists, album and title) from a specific media player. Track information processors (for that lack of a better term) then work with this information and extend its metadata. For example, the Amazon plugin adds the link to the album page. Before you use the Amazon plugin, be sure to check the options and enter your Amazon Web Services Subscription ID.

The metadata provided by all plugins can then be used on the markup tab:

NowPlaying Markup Tab

On the markup tab, combine all available metadata placeholders in a custom template to your liking. Be aware that the number of metadata attributes will change as track information processor plugins are enabled or disabled. As you can see in my template above, HTML is also allowed. After all plugins have been working on the track information, the processed template content will be added to the post inside Windows Live Writer.

The diagnostics tab shows all plugin load errors and will mainly be used by developers of new plugins. In case you experience any problems with Now Playing, please send me the detail information you see there.

Extending Now Playing

As emphasized above, you are invited to extend Now Playing with more plugins. I can think of discogs, last.fm and other services that may be of interest. Anyone who likes to extend Now Playing, please go with the source repository (see below) and peek inside my plugins. I'll post a specific entry on extending Now Playing if I get some feedback.

Download

Please let me know if you (dis)like Now Playing and how I can improve it. And now, download and try for yourself.

Now Playing has been updated since this article has been published. DownloadDownload the updated version.

Now Playing: Goo Goo DollsA Boy Named Goo – Long way down

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