Feeds

Serve up iTunes with Apple's media browser

Give your software some soul

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Mac Secrets Let's stay with the iLifeMediaBrowser.framework, which we looked at last time. Previously, I showed how to use Apple's built-in media browser using virtually no code.

Following on from that, a number of folks have asked me if it's possible to use classes in the iLifeMediaBrowser library to access your iTunes library without displaying the Apple browser? Indeed it is, and this is the subject of this article.

First off, why would you want to do this? From a developer's point of view, there are lots of good reasons. Maybe you've written an alarm-clock utility and you want the user to be able to choose a "wake-up" song from her iTunes library. Or maybe you're writing an app to backup, consolidate or repair the song library. Or maybe you want multiple iTunes libraries - whatever.

If you browse the net, you'll find various techniques for interrogating the library, ranging from using iTunes with AppleScript to parsing the associated XML file. But to the best of my knowledge, the techniques used here have never been documented outside of Apple.

The key class that I'm using here is called ILiTunesMediaManager. As the name suggests, this class is the media manager for iTunes. If your interest lies elsewhere, there are equivalent classes that handle the media for other iLife applications, such as ILiMovieMediaManager and ILiPhotoMediaManager.

Instantiating an ILiTunesMediaManager object is dead easy. We simply call the sharedMediaManager class method like this:


ILiTunesMediaManager * tunesManager = [ILiTunesMediaManager sharedMediaManager];

As before, I've provided the necessary header files as part of this month's sample project. The header files were created using class-dump as described in previous articles.

Load your data

Once we've got an instance of ILiTunesMediaManager, we need to load it with data from the iTunes library: this doesn't happen automatically. To do this, you need to call the loadData method. This is asynchronous - it works away in the background - so we need some way of knowing when the job's done.

From our perspective, the simplest way of doing this is to set up a timer to periodically query the media manager to ask if it's ready yet. This can be done via the isLoaded and isLoading methods: I check them both just to make sure the media manager really is ready. If you're worried about long delays here, don't be: I've got over 1,600 songs in my library, and it loads almost instantly.

Once ILiTunesMediaManager is ready to roll, we can start having some fun. The list of available playlists is accessed, counter-intuitively, via a method called playlists.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.