When working on an app or website or any other type of software, at some point you will some kind of metaphysical wall. At that point you start banging your head against it until you covered all square centimeters. Then, after stubbernly mumbling (there might actually be cursing) you finally concede.
In most of these situation it often helps to take a step back and approach the problem from differently. For example, you might try walking around the wall or digging underneath it.
In recent weeks a few things have been becoming rather clear whilst developing Muze. The current API's that are in use by Muze have their limits. These walls cannot be broken down whilst still keeping the current API and functionalities completely intact.
After frequent request I have been trying to implement a decent way for you to add songs to the currently playing playlist or create playlists. However, the API I have been using does not allow manipulation of playlists or the creation of so called SongCollections which can be played by the native music player control.
The API's Muze is using have been around since Windows Phone 7. Up until now using these API's has had some advantages. For example, these API's allow you to play music you have downloaded from for example Xbox Music. This is possible because Muze actually uses the native Music player which has permission to play these songs. Muze acts as a sort of remote control to the native music player. Furthermore, these API's make it easy to access the songs without doing more nasty file system operations which are more error prone.
The limitations presented by the API mean that developing more features to make Muze better and more advanced has become harder and harder.
In other news, Last.fm has been giving me a headache as well. When requesting data from the official Last.fm API, some information is actually returned erroneously or has been limited. This means for example that only a very short description of Artists can be fetched via the API and some lists are not correctly returned.
As you might see these are both walls that have been holding back the development of new features. Due to these issues, I have decided to try and move to newer Windows Phone API's to be able to provide a richer experience. Furthermore, I'm looking at ways to integrate information from different sources such as Xbox Music to provide detailed information about artists and albums.
This is all future talk and it will probably take some time to get all the basic stuff implemented with the new Windows Phone 8.1 API's. In the meantime I will tweak small stuff in the app to give a more consistent experience and squash furhter bugs.
I hope you are as happy as I am about this new approach to get around these pesky walls.
As always, if you have any feedback or if you are experiencing any problems regarding Muze or any other projects provided by us on this website, don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your input is greatly appreciated.