Every developer, or at least those who really love what they do, has a few side projects to work on. They're the palate-cleansers you turn to when you want to sink your coding teeth into a different problem for a while... they're your sorbet projects.
Well, one of the side projects I've worked on this year has been iTunesExport - a .NET app that can export playlists from your iTunes library. It exports them in a variety of formats (M3U, EXT, WPL), can copy tracks to a new location, and has both GUI and command-line interfaces. I got involved earlier this year when I wanted to export playlists in a file format that it didn't yet support. I contacted Eric Daugherty, who owns and hosts the project's site, and jumped in to add the additional export type. Since then, I've added additional features and tweaks and it's been a pretty fun project to work on.
Yesterday, productivity blog LifeHacker did (another) post on it with some examples for using it. It was a cool surprise as LifeHacker is one of the feeds I subscribe to, so I came across their post randomly in my feed reading.
I added a comment to that post, but since it was my first comment to LifeHacker my registration is sitting in an approval queue somewhere and the comment's not yet visible. The other comments on that post had a number of questions about iTunesExport and I wanted to answer those and/or clarify what the tool does.
First, iTunesExport does NOT modify your tracks in any way, shape, or form. It won't convert to or from any file format and it won't strip DRM from purchased tracks. The only time it does anything with actual song bits is when you choose to copy tracks to a new location for your exported playlist(s)... and in that case, it's just doing a straight, bit-for-bit file copy.
Second, the purpose of iTunesExport is simply to let you export playlists OUT of iTunes and into a file format that can be read by another player (WinAmp, Windows Media Player, etc). In my case, I use it to make my iTunes Smart Playlists available through the Tivo Home Media interface on our television. With this in mind, we're very careful to NOT modify the iTunes library XML file. We're simply reading the playlists/songs out of it and then writing another file in the format you want. So the exporter doesn't do anything to play count, last played, or any other data in the iTunes library.
Finally, Eric and I are always interested in hearing suggestions and feedback for the app. Some of the recent changes/fixes, especially around internationalization and Unicode, have come via testing and feedback from others. Those are always the things that are most fun to work on because you know someone can use it right away. So while I've got a few ideas for things I'd like to add (including saving/restoring your settings, improved documentation, and some better reporting/feedback on what was exported), we'd love to hear other ideas for things the tool might do... so please send those along via the project's site or through SourceForge.