We are today proud to present the first official version of Väth – the next generation of Helium!
The past 5 ½ months we have worked hard to get all the basics of Väth to work. Most code is rewritten from scratch but with the long experience from Helium Music Manager in mind. We are now at a point where we need you help to further test the application and to give us feedback on the features implemented so far.
Goals with this version
Our main goals with this version are:
- Deliver a fully rewritten tag engine, with equal to or better support for all file and tag formats as in todays Helium version.
- Deliver a totally new user interface (UI) with hardware accelerated graphics and proper DPI-scaling.
- The UI in this first release should include new browsing views for Releases (albums), Artists and Labels.
- Take more advantages of pictures and hyperlinks than in today’s Helium version to give a richer and quicker browsing experience
- Create a data model that is quicker than todays Helium version, even when using the default database type, SQL Server Compact on large music collections. Our tests have been performed with databases with over 65.000 tracks, 2.900 albums and 20.000 artists.
- Create a basic player function together with a play queue that’s easily accessible from all views. Playback support for all formats that Helium supports today. The player should support Last.fm scrobbling.
- Create an tool for adding music which allows users to easily add their music to their library. Album pictures should be read from both folders and tags, artists pictures should be read from tags.
- Create a tool that updates changed tracks in your music library as well as add new tracks that have been added in certain folders.
- Create a file properties tool which will allow users to inspect tags for one or more selected files.
- When playing a track, a user should be able to change rating for the currently played file. The rating should update the library as well as be written to tags in the background.
What’s included in this version?
A lot of things related to non-visible core functions like the tag engine, a revised and optimized database model, navigation flows and a lot of logic related to track handling.
You can add tracks by scanning folders on your computer as well as update your library (search for new or changed files).
What you can test with this version is a limited subset of today’s Helium functions focused on our new graphical user interface divided into the following specific views:
- Releases (formely named albums)
- Release details
- Artist details
- Label details
- Play queue
The new views in Väth works a bit different compared to the views in Helium today: They all support hyperlinks which will allow you to quickly navigate between various types of data as well as more easily explore your music collection.
From views presenting releases and/or tracks you can easily play them as well as enqueue them to the play queue.
Subtracks are nowadays handled as other tracks, giving you a much better browsing and playing experience when working with subtracks mixed with regular tracks.
Last.fm replaying is supported and can be configured from options.
When you play a track you can mark it as a favourite from the player as well as apply rating to it. Ratings will be written to tags.
There is a file properties tool that lets you inspect file details as well as tag contents.
This version of Väth will only support a SQL Server Compact database, which will be created during the first start of the application. Future versions will support SQL Server and MySQL databases – just like in previous releases of Helium Music Manager has.
What’s NOT included or finished in this version?
No tools for tagging has been implemented for this version, this is what we will focus on next although you can already test the tag engine for reading tracks and simple tagging when applying rating to tracks during playback.
Other tools and features will be implemented in coming releases.
Play queue handling and replaying of tracks is not yet in a finished state. We plan on improving many things related to this.
Picture handling is not finished. This means that wrong album pictures may be assigned since there is no real prioritizing being done currently.
The user interface is also something that will continue to grow. We have plans to extend it with more views, customizable tracklists with resizable and selectable columns as well as a light theme.
Please remember that this is an early beta version so we recommend you to work with copies of your files, just to be safe if something goes wrong.
Also, we might change the database model further, meaning that you may need to recreate your database in a future release.
Please bear in mind that this is a very early preview. Even though we have tested the tag engine extensively on all types of file we could get our hands on, we expect to find files with either broken tags, or otherwise hard-to-read contents. We want your help with finding such files so we can improve on the tag engine for upcoming releases. We have not re-implemented support for the legacy ID3v2 standard (v2.2) since it is in large incompatible with the ID3v2 v2.3 standard. This is also something that we want to get a feeling for how many users still have files with these tags. Our hope is that people with these tags can re-tag them from Helium Music Manager 11 to migrate into ID3v2 v2.3 tags.
We will use a naming scheme during the development of Väth that you have probably seen before. We’ll name the different versions alphabetically, starting with A. As this is the first release, it’s called Airwave. We plan to release bug fixes and corrections to the Airwave release before we continue with the development of next version – Blümchen.
We have some milestones set for Blümchen:
- Implement the Advanced tag editor with some cool and highly useful new features.
- Possibility to edit information for an artist together with basic possibilities to automatically downloading for information.
- Improvements for the Play queue logic.
- Migration of SQL Server compact Helium 11 databases.
An actual release date of Blümchen is not yet set, but expect it to appear sometime during Q3 2015.
Interested in assisting us with testing?
Are you are interested in becoming a tester with the possibility to test our most recent daily builds, give us early feedback and ideas?
If this is the case, send us a mail with a short description of how you are working with Helium today, what database type you are using, which file formats you are using mostly and how many tracks your collection consists of as well as a short description of how you will contribute to our testing.