Tell Me All About The Lazy Search Plugin


Searching for artists, albums or songs with the Squeezebox remote control usually requires that each remote control button is multi-tapped to enter characters other than the first character marked above the button. For example, the letter "S" requires four presses of the "7" button. This means to search for "SQUEEZE" you have to press the buttons "7777>778833>33999933" (where ">" represents the right arrow button on the remote) - a total of 20 button-presses. Notice also that you have to press the right arrow button on the remote (or wait a short time), between letters that appear on the same button (between "S" and "Q" and also between the two "E"s in the example).

Lazy searching allows for much faster entry of search text by allowing you to forget about multi-tapping and instead just press each of the remote control buttons once for each of the letters in the text, whatever position the letter appears in above the button. In addition, you no longer need to use the right arrow button or to wait between letters on the same button. So, using lazy searching, entering "SQUEEZE" is reduced to just "7783393" - a reduction from 20 button-presses to just seven!

I must admit that I didn't come up with this idea completely by myself - I've developed this in response to this enhancement.

The search is performed as you type, so you only need to enter enough characters to perform your search. If you press just three buttons to search for what you want and it comes back with more choices than you want to scroll through, just enter another character - chances are that four characters will get you a reasonably-sized list to manage.

An additional bonus of lazy searching is that genres can now be searched as well (useful if you've a library that uses a large number of them). As with the standard search facility, you can also use the whole list result to play all found albums, artists, tracks or genres.

Although this plugin performs a database search each time, with the SQL-based database used by SqueezeCenter this operation is actually very quick. To reduce the number of database searches performed, however, there are some plugin preferences that allow a minimum search length to be specified, as well as the amount of time after the last button press before the actual search is performed.

I call this lazy searching because it saves having to make multiple taps to get to subsequent letters on the remote. If you'd like to see it in action, view the short video. This video shows searching for "Dark Side of the Moon" by pressing just the four buttons "3275" to represent the letters "DARK". The video is encoded with the DivX codec.


Keyword Searches

A variation on the lazy search for artists, albums or songs involves keyword searches. Normal lazy searching will only let you search for matching artists, albums or songs. Keyword searches, however, match anywhere within the artist, album or song title.

See the KeywordSearching page for more details on this mode.

Mixer Integration

As for normal searching and browsing, the plugin also supports mixers. Currently, that includes MusicIP (formerly MusicMagic), and MoodLogic (note that I don't have MoodLogic so if you could report your success or otherwise I'd be grateful, and also note MoodLogic? has been removed from SqueezeCenter 7.0).

To create a mix based on a search result (artist, album, song or genre), just press and hold down PLAY on a mixable item until the mix is created. You can identify a mixable item because you'll see an M symbol on the top-right of the player. Once you've previewed the mix you can then press PLAY again to actually listen to it.

A Note for SoundBridge Users

Harald Gerhardt tells me that the performance of this plugin for a SlimServer-powered SoundBridge is less than stellar due to the lack of number buttons on the SoundBridge remote control! Needless to say, but the presence of number buttons on your remote control is something of a pre-requisite for this plugin...!

I suspect that it might be possible to use an alternative remote control with the SoundBridge and SlimServer because the latter has support for adding new types of remote control and the actioning of remote control commands is performed entirely by the server, not the player. However, I've no evidence of that being successful, so you're on your own there - I'd be interested to hear of any success stories (or otherwise), though.

Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on 29/03/08 16:35:34

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