Monday, August 30, 2010

So what about a remote control ?

I now had the ability to play my music collection through my stereo as MP3 files but the PC connected to the amp was in my office while my speakers were in my family room where I wanted to sit and listen.

I needed a remote control that would connect to the PC and let me :
  1. Select the tracks I wanted to listen to from the whole music collection.
  2. Add the tracks to a playlist
  3. Start, stop and pause the track currently playing
  4. Select the next/previous track in the playlist.
  5. Adjust the volume.
My PC is running Window XP. Probably the 3 most popular options for software to play the music were :
  1. Windows Media Player (easily available from Microsoft).
  2. iTunes (At the time I owned a Apple shuffle)
  3. WinAmp (Free download)
To be honest none of the 3 offered any sort of remote control that I wanted to or could use, either because it wasn't free (WMP), required another device (iTunes using an iPhone/iTouch), or lacked the functionality to meet my requirements (WinAmp). I could use Remote Desktop or VNC to connect remotely from another computer but I could do better than that.

So I decided that it would be fun to write my own remote control. As I'm a software developer by profession writing my own was certainly not out of the question.

Now I could have considered writing a plugin for all of the options above but I felt that starting from scratch would be more interesting. I also wanted it to be something that could be run on different operating systems (as long as the USB DAC was usable via that operating system). I had been writing web based applications in Java for close to 12 years so writing it as a JEE Web Application seems to make the most sense.

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