Banshee Grid View

Spread out over a number of hours over the last few weeks I’ve been working on making our high-performance list view in Banshee also handle grid-style layouts.

That is, all the benefits of our polished list widget with a new look and feel! I’m making the widget more clever and abstracted about layout and rendering so it can be more inviting to users. In fact, you can even live-toggle between layout modes (e.g list and grid) without losing any state.

This effort provides a more visually immersing and space-conscious view for your collection of albums. This big step forward is the groundwork for presenting other media collections in a friendlier way — video thumbnails, movie box covers, audio books, photos…

Screenshot of Banshee's new grid layout for albums
The new grid layout mode for the album browser.

There are still a few quirks to work out regarding interaction (different maths for keyboard navigation), and some more polish to add on the rendering side of things, but I am very close to merging this work to master in git.

The code is being developed in the grid branch in git for those who would like to try it out. Poke me on IRC if you find problems, but I probably am already well aware — again, it’s not merged to master because it’s not RC worthy yet — but it’s ready for some broader testing!

Thoughts? Suggestions? Complaints? Hopes and dreams? I’m super excited about finally having this land, and it’s been an enjoyable hack to implement.

25 Replies to “Banshee Grid View”

  1. Hi Aaron!

    Your view looks really great!
    I’m also excited to see it integrated into banshee!

    I’m wondering if providing some kind of visual separation can be a feature ?
    I think it can be convenient to visually separate data. It will permit to display categories, artists, whatever..

    Something like this:

    Separation text
    [img] [img] [img]
    [img] [img] [img]
    [img] [img] [img]

    Separation text
    [img] [img] [img]
    [img] [img] [img]
    [img] [img] [img]


  2. Nice! Make sure it doesn’t break the new type-ahead find, though! (if you didn’t know about it, just press “?” to enter type-ahead mode)

  3. @David – I am planning to do just this, it’s the next item on my list regarding the view.

    @anonim – stay tuned, I’m going to blog shortly about the plan with Cubano

    @anon – typeahead should work independently of any of my changes, but I’ll check it out

    @mike – Gabriel is working on an extension, the start of it is already in the master branch

  4. Shiny! Guessing this could also be handy for other browsing layouts (full screen album grid in cubano maybe? Artist grid with mugshots?).
    Also looking forward to pretty video layouts :)

  5. @David – Yes, grouping tracks in an album so you can hide the album/artist columns in the track list.

    @Jon – that’s exactly what this is effort will make possible.

  6. Good to see Banshee’s UI is still improving, even though it is quite good already. Perhaps I am one of the few users who would like this, but do you think this concept could be extended to not only albums or artists (I like the mugshot idea offered above, should be doable with imagery perhaps?) but also composers? I would love a grid view of (classical) composers (using the “composer” tag). Users would probably have to assign pictures (portraits, photos, etc) themselves though.

    Unfortunately, I fear not a lot of people actually tag their music with the composer and conductor tagsā€¦

  7. @Jeroen – yes, that is exactly the whole point of this effort (see the above comments).

    To clarify, the grid is not specific to album covers at all. It is a generic layout mode in our existing generic data view that we use to display all sorts of collections. I just turned on grid mode for albums because it’s the easiest to test.

    Expect to see this integrated in many places when it’s finished. is a great idea too – the grid opens the door to displaying much more interesting visual data.

  8. This looks really cool!
    I hope you or someone else will find the time to update the a11y bits for this new listview behavior. Not to mention keyboard nav.

  9. Dude! Good work… I compile the source and now im testin that new grid… Looks great… And what about the new logo of NO COVER? Could be the new logo of banshee… Looks really nice for me, and fit nice with the rest of humanity icons :P

  10. Would be amazing if in the artist column display just album artist, because i have a lot of compilations and that should be under “Various Artists” tag :D
    Sorry for my english, Im from Spain.

  11. Looks awesome! This kind of grid view for both albums and artists will really spice up the columns in the already-beautiful Cubano interface. I’m looking forward to a new post on Cubano… it’s been awhile.

  12. Awesome work although perhaps it might be time to have another look at grid view; in recent versions of banshee it seems to have some serious performance issues (i.e. on my netbook with over 25GB of music, the whole interface seem to freeze for 10 seconds on track change or most sorting operations).

  13. Looks very lovely!

    Perhaps this is not really relevant as a comment on this post, but what I miss the most in Banshee right now is support for lyrics. Either getting lyrics that are tagged in the song, or by connecting to a lyrics-database on the internet, or both. I know there’s a plug-in for lyrics, but it doesn’t really integrate all that well with Banshee and it works poorly (it might in fact be broken in newer versions of Banshee). Perhaps it could be added with a bar on the right side of the screen?

  14. i find banshee still suffers from lag between songs – on random by songs, when clicking next there is almost a delay for a split second, not instant at all, other than that banshee really is a great media player

  15. It looks great i just don’t like ur idea about integrating photos on banshee….for that we have a thousand programs, integrate subtitles in the movies would be GREAt too :DD

  16. Pingback: Banshee « afaik
  17. i can’t find a way to toogle betweeen classic and grid view in the new banshee 1.7.3 is this a bug or am i too stupid?

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