[vlc-devel] VLC Dashboard Widget for Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger

Glen Bowers glenbo at mac.com
Tue Apr 26 11:42:09 CEST 2005

VLC Developers, you guys do great work. I'm a big fan of VLC.

With the upcoming release of Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger, I thought I would share with you a widget I made for my personal use. It adds VLC controls to the Tiger Dashboard. In my home media setup I have a mac mini connected to my television and then just a trackpad near my couch. I wanted a way to access all the controls of VLC without leaving fullscreen, and without using the keyboard. I also didn't feel like mapping a bunch of extra mouse keys to VLC commands. This widget takes advantage of the Applescript support you have built in. I made the gui in the look and feel of the VLC controller. When buttons are pressed the javascript sends a system call to the command line osascript application, which takes an applescript call and sends it to VLC. It looks somethings like this:
	/usr/bin/osascript -e 'tell application "VLC"' -e "VLC_Event" -e 'end tell'

It's a little kludgy, but it works well. However, because there are so many steps to go through after a user click ( html -> javascript -> CLI -> osascript -> applescript -> VLC ) there is sometimes a small lag. On that note, the lag could be removed with a little custom code in the form a widget plugin. A widget plugin is just a cocoa bundle renamed .widgetplugin that contains some Objc-C code that can talk directly to VLC. That's where my developmental abilities start to get shaky. I'm not really proficient at anything deeper than scripting languages, although I'm working on that. For an example of what I am talking about see the iTunes widget when you get a chance to play with Tiger.

What I'm hoping is that you guys find this widget useful, and can use it in some way. I'm also hoping that someone more adept at the VLC codebase than I am can help me make this widget work better. That would take the form of a widget plugin that would bypass the whole applescript run-around. Another cool option are the fullscreen controls like in the new Quicktime Player. Those work great. They are dashboard related, but exist within the application itself.

Anyways, check it out if you want. I'd appreciate any feedback.



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