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Making iTunes Library more Finder-friendly (OS X)

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I find more and more I like to access the Music in my iTunes library via the Finder or other music player software.


Although iTunes has done a pretty good job of keeping my music file sensibly organized (with some judicious manual intervention), I find I rely upon iTunes itself as a music file browser simply because the visual cues -- the album art -- is so important for how (what little is left of) my brain works. It would be nice not to have to open iTunes to do this.


I found three things helped a lot. I'll describe them in the reverse order that I applied them:


1. I found a free application called "Add Folder Icons.app". You have to download it via the App Store, (or compile it from their source code). If you have an image called cover.jpg or folder.jpg (or other image file format with the prefix cover or folder), this thing does exactly what the name suggests. There is a special setting in Preferences where you can choose an icon style that is best suited for CDs and album art. You can also set it to do subdirectories (folders within folders) recursively. What this means is that I just dragged my entire library to the window of this app, pushed the button, and a few minutes later, I had album art icons for all my folders. There is an undo button too if you want to reverse this.


Here is how browsing my Grateful Dead albums with the Finder, for example, looks:

Screen shot 2011-05-31 at 9.23.57 PM.png



2. To create the file cover.jpg used by the above program, I used a DougScript Applescript called "Save Album Art as Folder". The default is to save to a file called folder.jpg, which will work equally well with the above program, but I changed the script to call the file cover.jpg, since XLD likes that.


3. Prior to this, I embedded all my album art in the music files. I don't think you have to do this for step 2 to work, but I thought this would be a useful thing to do, because I hate how iTunes hides the album art in its indecipherable cache. To do that, I used a slightly buggy DougScript called Embed Artwork. Sometimes it would fail, seemingly always on track #2, so I just went back and did those manually.


Anyway, now I can use the Finder, including the coverflow view, to browse my music library without having to start iTunes.


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Great information! Thank you. I never thought of doing things this way, but it makes a load of sense.


One thing...


"but I changed the script to call the file cover.jpg"


How were you able to modify the AppleScript? It appears locked, at least to me. What completely obvious thing am I doing wrong?


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Ultimately, the aim is to make file-browsers in software like Audirvana more useful, eg:


Screen shot 2011-06-04 at 6.42.58 PM.png


You can change all the disclosure triangles simultaneously at the same time all at once and concurrently by selecting all (command-A) and then using option-right-arrow.


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Yeah, but version 3.0 is a universal binary. It doesn't want to open for editing in either AppleScript Editor or Smile. I'll readily accept the explanation than I am just being lame here.


You're right - it probably still will work as is, but... perhaps starting from scratch might be good for my character.


OT: I was at that To Terrapin show.


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Now I am REALLY in awe. I never saw them before 1985, and I don't think ever again after about 1990.


I just downloaded a file called Save Album Art to Album Folder.scptd, which I assume is just an uncompiled applescript, and opened it in the applescript editor. I just read in it that you can set preferences when you double-click it while holding down the option key.




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This time, I let AppleScript Editor chug away for a few minutes (yep - minutes) after opening the script as Finder tried to find the embedded resource applications in the package. Eventually, it did and then the script opened. Terrible. And bad on me for not thinking of that earlier.


And on the OT... At least in my opinion, after the early 80's the band's performances started becoming more and more erratic as Garcia's drug problems increased. The crowd also became much more pretentious. That combination, along with other fun things to do, caused me to lose interest. Indeed, I pretty much stopped going to concerts of any kind. Too much bad sound and too many people acting far too stupid. Who needs that? For me at least, smaller venues were far better, but that toothpaste was already out of the tube. End of all OT.


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The file I downloaded has a suffix .scptd and opens instantaneously in AppleScript Editor and is not compiled. I wonder if we are dealing with two different things.


The actual AppleScript itself lives in

Save Album Art as folder.jpg.scptd/Contents/Resources/Scripts/main.scpt


but I just let AppleScript Editor open the whole thing.


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I'm 97.9% certain that the reason is because you had already been using this script (in its entirety).


AppleScript Editor needs to also open any packaged applications, like Progress Bar, when it opens a script for editing. Since these applications are buried within the overall package, Finder has to search for them the first time the script is run in any way.


There's a note in the documentation to this effect:


"Note: the first time you launch the script and use either of the two bundled helper applications, makejpegprefs.app and progressBar.app, there may be a delay before either app launches–as many as ten to fifteen seconds–as the OS verifies where the app came from. This will not occur on subsequent launches of the script."


But, the same is also true when opening the script through the AppleScript Editor. It's actually worse in Editor since the editor doesn't interpret the explicit instructions for locating the applications within the script until it is run - look near the top of the AppleScript for an example.


Once the AppleScript has been run once, Finder already has "found" the helper applications and has saved in a cache where their location.


Just me being dumb after a long day.


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I've complained about using Finder in some of the players as opposed to having the player mirror my Itunes playlists, so this could be helpful. I like organizing by Album too. Does all of this assume you've organized your Itunes Media folder manually?

Or do you let Itunes manage it?



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Adding your Itunes MusicItunesItunes MediaMusic folder (or wherever your Itunes music is) as a Place in Finder is a big and very easy step to making Finder more friendly too. It makes navigation to the music home base much easier.


Or you can set Finder preferences to go there every time you open it.




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