2006-03-31

Report-an-Apple-bug Friday! 16

This feature request is iTunes should offer menu items to sort the selection. It was filed on 2006-03-31 at 23:35 PST.


Summary:

iTunes should allow [the user to specify — oops! —the Bored Zo] the order in which playlist items are stored in the playlist.

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Right-click on a selection, or click in the Edit menu.
  2. In the 'Sort by' submenu, choose one of the criteria listed.

Expected Results:

The selected items are repositioned within the playlist (that is, the order in which they are stored changes).

Actual Results:

No results, because no such submenu exists.

Regression:

None known.

Notes:

iTunes does currently allow the user to change the order in which items are displayed by clicking a column header. But it offers no quick and easy way to sort items within the playlist itself (that is, to change the order in which the items are stored).

When a display sort (one of the column headers besides the far-left one) is selected, iTunes could run a dialog box: "The order in which the selected items are stored in the playlist was changed. The order in which they are displayed and will be played has not changed, because you have a different sort (^0) selected for display (in the column headers)." (^0 = name of selected column).


At 23:45, I added the following information:

Summary should read: iTunes should allow +the user to specify+ the order in which playlist items are stored in the playlist.

I had edited it and didn't notice that I removed that part. Sorry.


Technorati tags: ,

5 comments:

at 4/01/2006 12:42:00 AM, Blogger Simone Manganelli said...

Actually, iTunes does offer this feature, although it's a bit hidden. First, sort the playlist by whatever criteria you want, by clicking on column headers. Then, control-click on the playlist in the source list on the left, and select "Copy to Play Order". Now, if you resort by the unlabelled play order column, you'll notice that the play order is identical to the previous sort order.

So, yeah, maybe it could be a little more accessible, but it's there.

BTW, it would've been nice not to have to register a blogger account to post comments here, like before, but I guess whatever.

-- Simone
http://homepage.mac.com/simx/technonova/

 
at 4/02/2006 05:17:00 AM, Blogger Peter Hosey said...

That doesn't only affect the selection, though.

I turned on anonymous commenting. Here's hoping I don't get deluged…

 
at 4/02/2006 06:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, I suppose the existing iTunes feature doesn't apply only to the selection. But would that even make sense? I mean, the order of the non-selected songs would necessarily have to be changed as well, unless the selected songs simply move around in their selected spots. For example, if you had:

1 2 3 B 4 A 5 E C 6 7 8 D 9 F 10

where the letters are selected songs, a sort that affected only the selected songs would change the ordering to this:

1 2 3 A 4 B 5 C D 6 7 8 E 9 F 10

and I think that would be way too confusing. Not only that, but when you sort by clicking a column header, it resorts all songs, both selected and non-selected. So applying the sort order to only the selected songs would also be inconsistent: all of the songs would APPEAR resorted, but only the selected songs would actually BE resorted in the play order.

I don't see how there can be a realistic interface that allows you to resort only the selected songs in the play order. How would you accomplish it?

-- Simone

P.S. Wasn't anonymous posting on before?

 
at 4/02/2006 09:58:00 PM, Blogger Peter Hosey said...

On anonymous comments: I don't think it was. I've made so many tweaks to the Blogger settings, I don't remember…

"For example, if you had:

1 2 3 B 4 A 5 E C 6 7 8 D 9 F 10

where the letters are selected songs, a sort that affected only the selected songs would change the ordering to this:

1 2 3 A 4 B 5 C D 6 7 8 E 9 F 10

and I think that would be way too confusing."

Certainly a pathological case, in which maybe it would. :)

I think in the average case, it'd work. If you want them all in one spot, you can drag them there before or after you sort them. (Hmmm, there's another bug about that that I should add to my list…)

"Not only that, but when you sort by clicking a column header, it resorts all songs, both selected and non-selected. So applying the sort order to only the selected songs would also be inconsistent: all of the songs would APPEAR resorted, but only the selected songs would actually BE resorted in the play order."

That's what I mean when I talk about display order vs. order in the playlist. The display order is what's selected by a column header. The playlist order is the order in which the entries are stored in the playlist, which may not match what's displayed.

Only when you select the leftmost column header (unlabeled, values always 1–n) does the display order change to the actual playlist order.

iTunes' existing solution for changing playlist order (e.g. by drag-and-drop) while the display order is overridden by one of the column headers (e.g. to sort by name) is: Don't. It will not let you reposition tracks if any column header other than the leftmost is selected.

The same solution could be applied here, by disabling the “Sort by” submenu. But I don't like that for the same reason why I don't like Photoshop not letting you fill or stroke paths into hidden layers: the fact that the menu item is disabled doesn't tell me WHY. An alert box might be better, but it feels bait-and-switchy: “Ha-HA! You thought you could do that, but actually you can't!” We need a new UI innovation here.

In the meantime, I think it should be allowed. A Growl notification would be a good way to inform the user that the playlist order really has been changed, even though it doesn't show it because a different display order is selected.

 
at 4/03/2006 12:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha! I would actually be thoroughly amused by a dialog box that came up and said, "Ha-HA! You thought you could do that, but actually you can't!" At least the first time, anyway. ;)

This whole discussion reminds me, though -- while the iTunes UI is a bit muddy (given the discussion), the "display order" as you call it IS actually synched to iPods as the playlist order. If you change the display order of a playlist to be by artist and then sync your iPod, it'll display the songs in alphabetical order by artist. If you change the sort order in iTunes to be by date added and then sync your iPod, the iPod displays the songs in order by date added. At least that's how it works with my 4G non-color iPod.

But, of course, that doesn't rectify the problems with iTunes, but I noticed this a while ago and thought it was interesting.

-- Simone

 

Post a Comment

links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home