After christmas I started to work on integration of Napster/Rhapsody in SonoPad. While the other services were relatively easy (they all use the same calls to retrieve the menus, so a lot of stuff can be used again), Napster/Rhapsody is much harder.

I actually have to code each menu on it’s own, which slows me a bit down right now.
Here is a short preview of what will be available soon in the next version of SonoPad.

But the good side: while it makes more implementation work it also give much more flexibility in design decisions! As you might have realized from my main page, I’m not a fan of many taps/clicks and this also includes deeply nested menu structures (like currently found in Sonos’ Napster/Rhapsody implementation).

I really do like the native Napster App instead (I used the Android one, don’t know if the others are different). One does not have to click around a lot to reach all important places – even though they have huge possibilities for browsing their catalog. Also they often show ‘previews’ of the content of some menus with big images, before you can drill down to see all content. This is definitely the way to go!

I do want to integrate Napster/Rhapsody in the look and feel of SonoPad of course, but still am heavily influenced a lot by the menu structure of the native Napster/Rhapsody App right now.

OK – here is an example:

[lightbox src=”” caption=”Napster Main menu on Sonos Preview Search”]
[lightbox src=”” caption=”Napster Popular Items in SonoPad for Sonos Preview”]

On the left you can see SonoPads current main menu for Napster (some items obviously still missing), on the right screenshot you see the ‘Popular’ items. Albums, Artists and Tracks are collapsed into one menu, so with one swipe to scroll you have access to everything. It’s done like in the Search feature of SonoPad where the search result of multiple categories are also presented in one menu. The advantage of this is, that you don’t have to drill down a menu to get an impression of the contents, but see them right away!

Another example:
[lightbox src=”” caption=”Napster Genre Album View”]

This is the albums view of a genre. Napster knows two categories ‘Popular’ (based on what users play) and ‘Recommended’ (what Napster staff thinks is good) hre. Both lists have good candidates, so I don’t want a user to select ‘Popular’ first to see what is in there, then go up the menu and go down to ‘Recommended’ just to see what is in the respective lists.

With SonoPads Tap-To-Play Feature you can even just start the album right away from this view (single tap on the album cover).

There is still some work to do for Napster: at this moment I am starting to develop all the ‘My Library’ features of Napster/Rhapsody, furthermore the Search feature is not available.
I guess all this will take around 2 weeks to develop, then add one week for an Apple Review of the next version.

See you again in three weeks 🙂