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.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.