GSoC Pencils down…

Hey all,

today is the last day of Google Summer of Code. Time for a short recap.


The Musicbrainz App is quite on a good way. All predefined features, except the barcode scanning, could be implemented right on time. The problem with the

barcode scanner arised when we finally could not get an OpenSource scanning library for all devices. Even if we could not make the barcode scanning library in the app yet,

I will continue with the app the next weeks and implement the ZBar ( scanner, which will allow scanning at least on the 3GS and newer iPhones. In addition I will

add the collection feature as soon as we have it ready in the Musicbrainz Web Service.


The submission to the Apple AppStore will come along with the NGS rollout, which is likely to be in the beginning of November, but we are planning to start a beta phase for testing purposes by the end of this week. As soon as we have fixed a date for the beta tests, I will let you know more details.


Like I already mentioned… this is of course not the end of the whole project. There are still some features to include, bugs to resolve and warp and me discussed some UI issues, we would like to improve. So stay tuned.

Musicbrainz iPhone App – Week 6

Last week I completed the artist and release search including the detail pages and added the result overview for labels.

The release detail page also includes the tracks for the specific release.

In addition some minor UI bugs were fixed.

This week I will concentrate on adding the ratings and tags for artist and release page, as well as implementing the relationships between artist and release page.

Furthermore I will implement the track and label detail page.

I spent some time on the paypal library for the app, which will finally be implemented by the end of the week.

Musicbrainz iPhone App – Week 2

A short update on the progress this week.

The scheduled tasks for implementing the main menu and the release search (excluding details page) are ready and you can find the updated version on github. (As a reminder:

Anyway the most work was done in the background including the web service requests and XML Parser. These can easily be extended for the other entities like artists, labels etc. later on.

For the next week, I will improve the current layout of the main menu and search results page, based on the previous defined mock-up. In addition I will start adding the release details page. Then you can also expect the first screenshots of the app. If you cannot wait to get them, check out the project and run it in the iPhone simulator (coming with xCode) or even on your device, if you are in the iPhone developer program.

Taking a first conclusion on the first 2 weeks, we are right on time and I am sure that, based on the current web service and XML implementation the other entities (coming in Milestone 2) can be implemented even faster.

Musicbrainz iPhone App – Week 1

The first week of GSoC is coming to an end.

Setup git repository

Until now I have just been working with Subversion, so I spent the week getting familiar with git. I am already aware of the main commands and the git design at whole. For now the project will reside at There is nothing special to figure out yet, since I only committed the base project, but you can expect the first features in week 2.

Setup development environment

The basic development environment including iPhone SDK and xCode as IDE, were already up working, but I had to configure my platform for device debugging using the signing certificates of Apple (BTW. thanks to Metabrainz / Musicbrainz for getting me into the iPhone Developer Program). The Apple platform for companies is quite confusing and a bit buggy, so it took me some hours to figure this out. Finally I could “deploy” the first Musicbrainz App to my iPhone. It is amazing :) .

Barcode scanning

The envisaged barcode scanning library will be replaced with Zbar for now, due to license issues (no open source license) and the ad framework we would have to integrate using the former one. The Zbar library is on LGPL, but unfortunately only supports the iPhone 3GS and upcoming iPhone models due to the problem of fixed-focus camera on the older ones (iPhone 2G and 3G). When I finished implementing all desired features, I will go back trying to find a solution for the older devices.

The current status is that the Zbar library has been implemented and now I need to go for the web service request to retrieve matching releases.

Layout changes

Based on the previously defined mock-up, I already implemented the basics of the main menu view , which seems quite confusing to me, due to the reason that I use a table view and buttons look therefore quite similar to the textbox and select fields of the search. I am considering to move the search onto a new single view, but that will be discussed with my mentor this week.

Due to the problems with the barcode scanning, the project plan has to be adjusted:

Milestone 1 (20th June)

  • setup project
  • realize main menu
  • implement barcode scanning (only basic usage of the library for now)
  • text search for releases
  • detail page for releases

Milestone 2 (July 20th – Mid-term evaluation)

  • text search for artists and tracks
  • detail pages for artists and tracks
  • login
  • rating and tagging
  • donating (PayPal integration)
  • collection (view collection, add / remove releases)
  • finalize barcode scanning and start improving it

Milestone 3 (August 16th)

  • text search and detail pages for release groups, labels
  • improve barcode scanning
  • testing and documentation

And now the plans for week 2….

  • finish main menu
  • add release search (including the search form and at least a basic result page)

Full-blown modernization

Just updated my blog to the newest version of WordPress, changed the theme and added / updated some plugins. While examining the plugins, I stepped of over a great one, optimizing the blog for mobile devices. It looks quite awesome on my iPhone, so enjoy reading my blog on your smartphone :)

There is a curious bug with the  ”umlaute” in my german posts, I assume that there where some changes in encoding (UTF8), but I want to turn towards some other tasks now. Will examine the problem these days…

I am still too lazy and not very enthusiasm to create a new, own design for my blog. There are loads of themes and instead of spending my time with designing a layout, I spend my time with some developing. Got some nice ideas in my head, so stay tuned.

Create XP USB Installation from 64bit system

Today I ran into the problem that I wanted to install Windows XP on an old Notebook without optical drive. I work without any optical drives for 1 1/2 year now and made every OS installation (Linux, Windows) via USB.
The problem I came over was that my formerly known method using USB prep, bootsect etc. does not work on a 64bit system. I was close to setup a virtual machine with a 32bit system, but then I run into the nice little tool WinToFlash. The tool provides an easy and self-explaining way to create a USB installation drive.

So if you ever experience a similar problem check out