Friday, January 2, 2009

dvdauthor frontends

For the past few days I have been wondering what the proper forum was for things I want to publish that don't really fit in with the theme of my other websites. This blog is my answer.

I have three websites, one for teaching people how to program Texas Instruments graphing calculators, one for my emulation related work, and one for programming tutorials. Basically, the theme is, I like to know things, and I like to share my knowledge. I like to be helpful.

So, how am I going to be helpful today? I'm probably not, but the reason for starting this is simple: my growing distaste for dvdauthor frontends.

All I want is a simple frontend to dvdauthor that would do four things. 1) let me add multiple DVD-compliant mpeg files at once, 2) automatically place them into separate titles with default jump points to the next title (i.e. after title 1 goto title 2, then 3, repeat as needed), 3) generate the dvdauthor xml file and run dvdauthor, and 4) build an ISO file with the proper volume label.

DVDAuthorGUI is nearly perfect. It does 2, 3, and 4. It only runs on windows, but for reasons I won't go into, that's not a problem for my needs. But step 1 was really bugging me. I am trying to shove 18 episodes of the simpsons on a single DVD, so adding 18 tracks one-at-a-time gets old after awhile. I contacted the author and he said he didn't feel like adding that feature right now. The source is available, but since I don't know Visual Basic and don't want to learn, it doesn't do me much good.

Since I only needed something really simple, I decided to build my own program. It took about 5 hours to finish the bare minimum of what I needed. It doesn't even do all the things I thought would be necessary (I found a shortcut midway through), and it certainly is not finished, but it works.

What does it do you ask? It lets you add multiple mpeg tracks at once via drag n drop. It has an add button and add menu option, but they aren't implemented. It organizes the tracks alphabetically (though it's case-sensitive which I'm not happy with), which saved me having to implement the rearrange track controls, so those buttons and menu options are also unimplemented. It generates the dvdauthor xml file and runs dvdauthor. Finally, it runs mkisofs to build the ISO file with the proper volume label (specified in the same manner as DVDAuthorGUI, but taking the folder's name you build in). It also makes 7 chapters on each track 3-minutes apart, because my programs are geared towards my simpson dvds.

Obviously, there are many deficiencies. It is not a complete dvdauthor frontend, but all open source projects start out by first solving the authors needs. Other people's needs come later, sometimes even added by other people. I decided to publish it just in case someone else had similar dvdauthor frontend frustration.

Source Code Here 24 KB (.tar.bz2 archive)
Windows 32-bit Binary4.2 MB (.zip archive)

That's all for now. I wonder if anyone will ever read this...

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