Exaile (v2.99.1-20081215)

Last time, Exaile was my favorite player of the GTK-based audio players. Its acceptance of Amarok’s (superior) paradigms made it, in my view, the closest to “best” that one could get inside the ridiculous HIG guidelines of the GNOME project and the limitation of GTK as a toolkit. Its development, however, was slow, and marred by some showstopper bugs like extraordinarily slow database (SQLite) access with large libraries. As a Python-based project, it’s not the fastest, but it sufficed for everyday use.

Exaile’s main interface, in precise mimicry of Amarok 1.x’s layout, is made up of vertical tabs that allow a customizable tree-view, radio station list, playlists, or file layout view. The majority of the view is the playlist, which is a tabbed interface, one for each playlist (the current play queue is its own list). Other widgets are stock GTK audio widgets.

Exaile “3.0” is a complete rewrite that’s currently in the alpha stage, so what you’re seeing in these screenshots is a very early version that visually—though not functionally—recreates the features of Exaile 0.2.x, which I reviewed last time. There’s currently no in-program tag editing, for instance, which there was before and I’m sure will be again.

Exaile currently has a few basic plugins for things like album art; previously, there was a fairly large ecosystem of plugins that ranged in quality from great to downright dysfunctional—the current selection is stock functionality.

Exaile’s current ability to configure—though, again, it’s largely been able to recreate the functionality of the old versions—is limited, with the preferences dialogue a study in minimalism; enabled plugins that are configurable show up there, and a few global options, but not much else.

Exaile is a Python/SQLite/GStreamer program, and so its ability to play your files and construct your library will not vary too much from the others in this list. I do, however appreciate Exaile’s emphasis on the Amarok-style layout, which I think is all-too-lacking the the GNOME ecosystem.

In Summary: While no longer my favorite player, I think Exaile is still a strong contender for one of the top spots on the list; when v3 is fully fleshed out, I’m sure it will be a great program.

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§2709 · December 19, 2008 · Tags: , , , , , , , ·

4 Comments to “GNOME Audio Player Shootout Revisited”

  1. Fips says:

    Fantastic reviews. Can’t say I have much experience of any of these players, largely sticking to Amarok and foobar2000, but I’m tempted to take some for a test drive after reading this.

    Incidentally, the layout is really nicely done, the multi-page breakup works particularly well (though there’s a slippery &m[d]ash; on the 9th page).

  2. Andrew says:

    I know I’m late on commenting (came from google search), but I’d like to add that while with other players adding/saving your favorite internet radio stations is a pain, in Exaile you can just open the downloaded *.pls file and save the streams into a playlist. Does any other player work well (multiple streams per station, pls file importing) with internet radio?

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