My SoulseekQt opinion / questions / ideas.

Hello there Nir

Long time Soulseek user here so first of all I really want to take the chance to say a big, honest, THANK YOU for developing this great application. P2P model evolves, applications come and go through the years, yet Soulseek is still there as useful as ever. Long it may last!
Soulseek hasn’t only broaden my musical horizons but also allowed me to make some friends (both online and IRL) who share with me the love for the same music genres, something important for many people, including myself. Your work is really appreciated.

Being a massive fan of Soulseek who couldn’t help but think how an overhaul would be nice, I started trying QT right after receiving the notification PM. It’s great you decided to give us a new version, I like the new look and some additions like filters are definitely useful.
Naturally, I have some questions/feature requests and I would like to report some things that left me a bit puzzled. There are points I don’t intend to sound like “but Soulseek NS was better on that aspect so why change it?” yet I honestly think those are not a matter of getting used to but they just used to function better. Or maybe I fail to see the benefit of the change or I simply ignore that what I am asking is actually possible, if that’s the case please let me know. In any case, by no means I am trying to complain about anything or demand those changes/features. I understand you might just don’t have the time for those, especially since you said you are about to get (or got) a new job. With that being said, here are my remarks:

1. I find it really confusing that even if you just download one track from a folder, the folder gets downloaded with that single file in it. What for? Imagine you are in a session of downloading multiple single tracks because you want to get all those tracks suggested in a forum thread under a certain criteria (“best old-skool rave tunes” for example). You end up with all those subfolders in your soulseek folder. I really think downloading folders ONLY when you were merely asking to download the full folder (i.e to get a full album) was making perfect sense in Soulseek NS so it’d be nice if you just revert to it. At the moment I have like 30 folders with single tracks on them which they also get mixed up with folders keeping full albums.

2. Please allow us to be able to reorder the columns at will. I understand how one can say that having the username appearing first contributes to the community spirit soulseek has always been about, but most often than not people merely care to just download an album or even a single track. So for example, it’d be nice to be able to have the “folder” column (which usually translates as “album”) first if you want. I just think it’d make more sense having the folder (album) column first (along with its “expand” button too so you can check what’s inside/the download progress) when you are downloading an album. I currently feel like I am downloading human beings :). By the way, while we are on that, I think it would be handy if you could “lock”/save the lengths of each column so you don’t have to do it all the time.

3. Likewise, it’d be useful to be able to customize the order of the menu buttons.
It makes more sense to me to have the “search” button right next to the “transfers”.

4. Being able to request for a notification when ALL downloads get completed (rather than having to do that for every single download) so one can close his client when everything finishes or download some more.

5. Why was the INCOMPLETE prefix removed for tracks not yet completed? I understand how you might say that “but this is what the default *downloading* folder is for” but it can get really confusing, especially when you have queued files that are basically the same album from different users/sources (reason for that could be searching for better quality/speed or simply having the uploader vanishing). It gets even worse when there’s stuff left from previous soulseek sessions and you are not sure what’s being left behind and what you are *currently* downloading. I think it was much easier to clean up the unnecessary stuff before.

6. While we are on that, what’s with the forced default folders for the downloads?

7. I could be wrong, but is it not possible to perform a search in a specific user or all the users in your user list, sharelist anymore?

8. I don’t see recent searches being saved anywhere either? Needless to say, that was really useful when trying to locate stuff you didn’t the last time you used soulseek.

9. This is more of a completely new feature request but how about being able to rename the folder name on the fly while downloading? That could take effect both inside the application AND the download folder. If the latest isn’t possible, a sort of “mask” where you could simply click in the folder name within soulseek and rename that long (and sometimes random) filename path to something more convenient of your choosing like “*artistname* - *albumname” could really save you from trying to locate what’s where. Especially if you are downloading LOTS of stuff. I don’t know how possible is that in the form I suggest, I am just saying that just because the uploader has named his folder “Zack/Myfiles/Beatz/Sorted/*year*/*label*/*artist*/*album*” it doesn’t mean that you cannot do something to prevent all this from appearing at your transfers bar and/or the download folder since you only want the content. Just an idea.

10. One thing I’ve been always missing on Soulseek was the ability to preview incomplete/”currently downloading” tracks from the soulseek window without having to go to the download folder. Just double click and have your music player of choice play them to the point they have reached, exactly as it happens with the finished downloads. Hopefully it’s something simple to embed?

So there you go, my two cents. Again, I am not criticizing at all, updates could stop tomorrow and I’d still love Soulseek as it is, I am just speaking my mind on how I see the whole Soulseek experience could reach the next level. Thanks for your time.

Hi Glass,

Thank you for the kind word. There are many different reasons why certain things are done differently in SoulseekQt than in Soulseek NS. I'll try to address the points you bring up one by one. Before I start, you should know that I am trying to wrap up work on SoulseekQt as I'm currently looking for a job. I intend to try and do what I can with SoulseekQt before I find one, but understandably I have to prioritize what I do with the time I have left, and once I do start a new job, I will have virtually no time at all to keep working on SoulseekQt.

1. The advantage to downloading each file into its own folder is that you can later on seamlessly download the rest of the files in the folder without downloading the same file twice or alternately having one of the files outside the folder. I do have it on my to do list to be able to change this behavior however.

2. I'm assuming you're talking about search results. We're actually already testing an option to display search results the old way. See the bottom of this post for a link to the Windows build. I do believe column widths in search results are already automatically saved whenever you change them.

3. That's an interesting idea, but I don't think I'll have the time to do it anytime soon.

4. I do like that idea, I'll add it to my to do list.

5+6. That's just how I decided to do it in SoulseekQt. Personally I prefer it. You automatically know a file isn't finished downloading if it's in the downloading folder.

7. Yes, in the search window you can change the search target using the dropdown at the top right. I do agree it's not at all apparent though. Perhaps a 'Search Target:' label there would make it more conspicuous.

8. I've overlooked that. I'll add it to my to do list.

9. It's not a bad idea, and has been brought up before. I doubt I'll be able to do something like this anytime soon though.

10. Hmm... as SoulseekQt is cross-platform I'd rather not mess with anything that could cause a file access conflict. Weighing it against what you get in return, I'd have to say no to this one.

Thanks, Nir

Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it. I am glad you like some of my ideas and consider to make them a part of soulseek. :)

1. I understand what you're saying. Personally,I've always thought the way NS functions on that matter (if you already have a file 100% completed in a folder then the client marks it as completed and skips it) more than suffice, never had a problem with it. On the contrary, the current system creates the confusion I described when it's single tracks you are downloading so I am glad you plan to give the choice to change it.

2. Actually you misunderstood me, maybe I didn't explain it clear enough. I mean being able to reorder the columns both in the search and transfers screens. Like, click on the "folder" column and drag & drop it upon the "user" column thus having it take its place and having "folder" appear as the first column and lock there, pretty much as it happens in applications like Utorrent and Mp3tag. I think the order of the columns is really crucial for the whole search/transfer workflow and I guess you could see how it's merely a matter of preference. For example, you used to have "filename" as the first column in NS so everything was practically revolving around that. Now the whole system is user-centered (with user being the first column) which as I said is good when you want to download lots of stuff from the same person but I think most people merely want to download a single track or (some) album(s) at a time so it makes sense having "folder" or "filename" as the first column rather than the "user". You can always communicate with the user or search in his sharelist if you want to download more, as I said the way it is now I feel like "download human beings". :)
Moreover people with smaller monitors/resolutions might find it limiting/annoying that they are forced seeing the "user" column first of all while stuff like "progress" and "ETA" comes much later in a way they might even have to minimize the length of everything else to be able to see those columns. Another example would be searching for a single track. I perform the search and I have to look as far as the fifth column to see whether that's the track I am searching for and even have to mess with the columns length to examine the version of the track (live?/remix?). And all that while the user column stands proud first, at the far left while frankly, I just don't need it right now, not before I even locate the track.

Actually, this along with 1). are the main annoyances I got with QT because as I said they are major things that determine the whole soulseek experience rather than a less used/extra feature/option. Of course, I am not arrogant enough to think that just because I'd like to have the folder (album) column first others should do too, so if it's not much work and you see my point it'd be really great if you could let the order of the columns be customized by the user.

By the way, about the vertical sorting stuff, that was something I've kinda missed too but since I had read it was lots of work and since I figured I could work efficiently enough with the filters, I didn't request it. Nevertheless, bringing it back is welcome and one can now choose when to use what at will, filters or the even faster vertical sorting. I don't see why we can't have both since they seem to work fine in the new version you've provided. I'll report back if I run across any problems.

3+9. Alright, an interesting idea is always good I guess. :)

4+8. Thank you, I am glad I could help.

5+6. I hear you, I respect your preference and I see what you mean. Maybe this will be proved to be more efficient in the long run.

7. You are correct, it's a bit hidden, especially for the QT newcomer. As a matter of fact, wouldn't it be nice if you could add a "Search in user's files" option in the right click pop up screen, over/under the "browse user's files" option?
It'd be more efficient and immediate than having to add him to your userlist and then try to see if you can locate that particular album/track in his share or even browse his entire sharelist.

10. I am not tech savvy enough to understand the potential problems something like that could have in other platforms but since you say so, you should know better.

By the way, I read some complaints about the ram the application consumes. I wonded if the "Diagnostics" and "Received Searches" tabs have an important role in this, seeing they are performed in real time? If so, maybe they could be transfered in a seperate submenu, I guess there are many users who don't need them to be visible all the time, especially if that means extra ram usage. Just an idea.

Thanks once more for your replies and your work. I perfectly understand once you get a job (good luck on that by the way) your time on working in SoulseekQT will be limited to none, this is expected and it's only natural your job will be a priority over Soulseek. I merely suggest things (and I can keep doing so if you want / if I come up with anything else) hoping to improve the Soulseek experience, something I am sure both you and the users want. Cheers!

You make a very good point about the Diagnostics tab. The primary reason SoulseekQt takes as much memory as it does is its internal database, as discussed here. But I can only imagine all those thousands of diagnostics messages piling up in the UI over the hours and days can't be helping the situation. I'm less worried about Received Searches, since the number of items in the list is regularly pruned to ensure it doesn't get too big. I've modified the code to make logging and the diagnostics tab itself optional and off by default. This will be one of the changes I plan on having in tonight's release.

Regarding reordering columns, I understand what you're saying. Even if I'm not likely to have the time to do this, it would be interesting to see how other users feel about it and other features you've suggested if they were posted as feature requests, as those can be individually voted and commented on. Just thinking out loud I guess.

Regarding searching rooms and the user list: I do like the idea of being able to search directly from a room or the user list. I'm only worried that the user won't realize the search target is being changed, and the client won't subsequently search the entire system unless they reset the search target to All. For the time being I've added a "Search target:" label in front of the dropdown.

Thank you for your suggestions and your help, I do appreciate it!

Cheers, Nir

About the columns reordering: Yeah well, I could maybe post it in the feature request section and see what happens, even if it's just for the sake of it. :)

On searching a user's list right away for a specific file: I might be missing something on how things work but my suggestion didn't include using the search dropdown in the first place for this feature in particular, therefore maybe it's immune to the potential confusion you are concerned of.
What I am saying is that just like you are able to right click basically anywhere and request to browse the user's sharelist and/or send him a message having the client automatically pop up in the related screen, in a similar way, a new "Search in user's files" option could be added in that right-click pop up menu, along with the other "user actions". By selecting it you are taken to the "search" screen where the next search you perform affects only the user in question. The dropdown menu could either automatically get set on that very username then (but only affecting the current screen/tab/search) or if that's complicated, not appear at all in this case. It could even be a separate screen rather than the main search screen, in the same sense "chat" is a separate screen. You know better what would be more efficient and/or would take less work, I am just planting the idea and I propose ways. :)

I am glad I can help, I guess you can tell I really care about soulseek. I do have in mind some less important things but I respect your time and I don't intend to brainstorm you with all the stuff I come up with, if anything else I consider as serious as the things I've already mentioned comes up, I will let you know! Thank you.

Hey Nir, I am trying 11-9-2012.

*"No folder downloading for single files" seems to work good so far, I also like the twist of "downloading" folder disappearing when nothing else does, that's great Nir, I am sure many people are happy now, seeing it was getting requested a lot. Thank you!
Minor detail, but I think it would look better aesthetically if "downloading" and "complete" were starting with a capital letter but sure, that's nothing to lose sleep over. :)

*I see Diagnostics tab can now be on/off at will, I am curious whether it does help with ram usage now.

Some additional things I've noticed (I'll keep the numbering so everything is more tidy and easier to refer to):

11. If it's not lots of trouble in coding maybe the "Download folder(s)" option could be added in the right-click submenu in transfers screen too. You download a single track, you like what you hear, you decide you want more so you also get the album without having to search again/go to the search screen at all (you might have already close the "search tab" in question anyway).

12. This is a question rather than a feature request but I haven't understood what "enable/disable all wishlist searches" does. Especially since neither of those two buttons seems to immediately do anything (or graphically animate in a way they seem "pressed"/""enabled").

13. Reading the "Titles / Ranks" request and while I agree with you that unfortunately users would probably abuse that, makes me think again how it'd nice if there was something rewarding persistence/patience or some other good will a user shows when it comes to get that track/album he wants to.
There have been cases where there's a user with one or more albums I really want and I can't get it from another source but he ALWAYS seems to have 1000 other users queued. I do use the "get place in line" option and sometimes I even leave my pc on overnight but still my turn never seems to come. Then I'll eventually shutdown my pc (or the other user will) so I guess I move back at the end of the line. And the next time, the user has again 1000 others queued. There have been cases this has being going on for months until I decide I simply can't get anything from that user and forget about it. Wouldn't it be nice if system was saving your place in line so once you get back you are back there or at least get some sort of a push? Or dunno, "get in line" could keep the total time you stay in a queue for a particular file/folder between sessions so you get that push when you complete some hours or something? There has to be some way for things to be a bit more fair in that aspect.

Hello again Nir. How are you doing?
I've been having some QT sessions lately so I've noticed some more issues. Please, if possible let me know what you think about them and whether you have them in your "to do" list or should I add them as "feature requests". I don't know which ones you consider "problems" or what could you have in mind to modify. :)

14. I've noticed that when you download a folder (an album), once one file (track) gets completed then the whole folder gets transferred in the "complete" subfolder which doesn't really make sense. That should happen once all the files in the folder (since it's a full folder you've asked to download) in question get completed. I am not sure whether that was always the case or it's a new bug with SoulseekQt-11-9-2012 as the "files appearing in the wrong numbering" which has already been reported.

15. I miss the light on the tabs as introduced on NS. You should have some sort of indication when someone starts downloading something from you (i.e having the "uploads" tab flashing or animate or something) as much as when (new) results come up in an existing search tab.

16. Talking about the search. I think it would be benefited from some tweaking when it comes to instantly search for the same or slightly modified terms. Basically bypass the extra steps of pressing "re-enter search" and have results open in a new tab while you've wanted them to open in the current one since you are done with it.
That would be useful when looking to get several tracks (or remixes) from the same artist.

I don't know how easy that would be but I have come up with a way to simplify/speed that process by simply clicking to the open search tab. I've noticed nothing happens when you do that, so why not taking advantage of it?

*Clicking in a focused search tab could simply do what "re-enter search" button does. It'd be way more intuitive.
*Double clicking goes one step beyond that i.e not only type the search term again but also perform the search for it, and that's the catch, IN THE SAME TAB. That way the whole process is faster/simpler while you don't get search tabs with the same/similar content clutter in your screen.
*A right click in any focused search tab simply opens up a new blank one next to it, waiting to input terms i.e functions as "new search".

Again, I don't know how easy would that be for you but just thinking about it makes me smiling in relief. :)
I am curious to hear your opinion. Thanks!

Hey Glass,

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but things are progressing for me on the job front and with a little luck I should be able to start a new job soon, which means I just don't have time to properly process and respond to everything you're suggesting. It might be more beneficial if you've created individual feature requests instead of posting them en masse like this, though admittedly I don't expect to have the the time to implement anything new anytime soon. If you do, you can try and use the search box to see that there aren't any existing requests for the same feature. I noticed you posted one about only moving files to the complete folder when the entire folder download is complete for example, which is already covered here.

Thanks, Nir

Hey Nir

Alright, it's not like I've felt like my bug reports/feature requests need special attention or something when I made this thread. It's just, since many of those are considered bugs (especially if you consider anything that stopped working after NS = bug)I questioned whether they should be added in the feature requests. If you say they belong there, alright.

Furthermore, in case it hasn't been clear since my first post I'd like to say that I am not the kind of person that feels like the dev of an application is obliged to do anything I want or something. Devs do not "owe" users anything.
I merely suggest stuff, when you find time (IF you do find time) and you want to implement it, great. If you are too busy to do so, that is understood and it's fine too.

Congratulations on getting the job, that's good news, best of luck!