User Guide

This user guide is still a work in progress, and for now it’s just about documenting advanced tips and tricks.

If you’re interested in helping with the documentation, please get in touch.

Adding a radio station

Out of the box, Goodvibes is pre-configured with the favorite radio stations of the author (that’s me).

The first thing you’ll want to do is to listen to it of course, and possibly remove it (which is easy). Then you’ll want to add your own favorite stations. And here comes the first (and hopefully the last) painful moment with Goodvibes.

So it’s 2020, and there is no way to search for a radio station in Goodvibes. You might think that you would just do a research by entering the name of you favorite station (say “Radio Grenouille”), get a list of results, and select the right one. Well, no, it doesn’t work like that. Instead, you will have to enter manually the name of the radio station, and the URL of the audio stream. Your fingers on the keyboard. Plain old fashioned.

So, how to do that? You know the name of your favorite radio station, but what about the URL of the stream?

The easiest solution is probably to open your web browser, visit a “radio directory” website (that’s a site that list plenty of radios, along with some details), and you do your search there. If you’re lucky, you’ll find it, then you’ll look around hard for the URL of the stream, and finally copy it into Goodvibes.

A list of websites that come to mind:

The second solution, a bit more involved, technically speaking, is to open the website of your favorite radio station with your web browser, then open the Developers Tools, and more specifically the Network tab. Now, play the radio, and look at the HTTP requests passing by. There should be the URL of the audio stream somewhere.

If you ask yourself “why so complicated”, well, it’s because there is simply no radio directory that would be exhaustive, maintained, and open (meaning free to access), and that Goodvibes could query in order to find your favorite stations easily.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Assuming your keyboard comes with multimedia keys, then it’s all you need to control Goodvibes. On modern desktops, multimedia key events are caught by the desktop environment, which then forwards it to the multimedia player. It should work out of the box, assuming that you didn’t disabled the MPRIS2 D-Bus Server setting.

On older desktops, or bare-bones environment, it could be that there’s nothing in place to receive and forward the multimedia key events. In this case, you can enable the Multimedia Hotkeys setting in Preferences -> Controls.

Additionally, when the main window has the focus, hitting <Space> will start or stop the playback.

GStreamer Output Pipeline

This setting can be configured under Preferences -> General -> Playback. It’s quite a powerful thing, but not for the faint of heart. Here are some examples:

  • alsasink: Use ALSA for the audio output.
  • alsasink device=hw:2: Use ALSA, and select the second soundcard.
  • autoaudiosink ts-offset=5000000000: Delay the audio output by 5 seconds (ie. 5000000000 nanoseconds).

How does it work? You must specify the name of the GStreamer element to use for the audio sink, followed by optional arguments.

You can experiment with that on the command-line. Make sure to install the GStreamer Tools, run a quick man gst-launch-1.0 to warm you up, then try to do something with it.

For example, to use the ALSA audio sink, you’d run this kind of command:

STREAM=http://direct.fipradio.fr/live/fip-midfi.mp3
gst-launch-1.0 souphttpsrc location="$STREAM" ! decodebin ! alsasink

Once you work out the details of what you want to achieve on the command-line, you just have to copy-paste the last part in the Goodvibes configuration.

Command-Line And Scripting

Goodvibes can be used and abused with the command-line.

The command goodvibes-client gets you started, and provides basic control over Goodvibes. The main purpose of this client is actually to ease development and debug, and that’s why it’s a bit rough on the edge, and doesn’t offer everything that is provided by the user interface. But it’s still good enough for people who prefer the command-line over a graphical ui.

However, if you want to write some scripts that interact with Goodvibes, I recommend NOT TO use the client, which might be modified anytime, and doesn’t promise any backward compatibility. Instead, you should make good use of the D-Bus interfaces implemented by Goodvibes.

Goodvibes implements and exposes two interfaces on D-Bus (assuming you didn’t disable it in the preferences):

  • the native D-Bus interface is actually the one used by goodvibes-client to communicate with Goodvibes. This interface might be modified anytime a new version is released, there’s no plan to maintain any compatibility over different versions.
  • the MPRIS2 D-Bus interface is an interface implemented by many media players on GNU/Linux.

To get you started with D-Bus, you should know that there are different dbus command-line tools around:

  • dbus-send is the most basic tool, provided with the dbus daemon.
  • gdbus is provided by GLib.
  • qdbus is provided by Qt.
  • busctl is provided by Systemd.

If you plan to write scripts that interact with Goodvibes, I recommend to use the MPRIS2 interface as much as possible, mainly for two reasons:

  • It’s well defined, stable over time, therefore your script will not break when a new version of Goodvibes is released.
  • You will be able to re-use your work with any other media player that support the MPRIS2 interface. And there’s a lot of them.

You should refer to the MPRIS2 Specification for more details.

A quick example with qdbus:

qdbus org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Goodvibes \
  /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 \
  org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Metadata

Conky Example

Here’s a snippet to integrate Goodvibes in Conky:

${if_match "${execi 10 qdbus org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Goodvibes /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.PlaybackStatus}" == "Playing"}\
Goodvibes Info
Station:${execpi 10 qdbus org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Goodvibes /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Metadata | grep "^goodvibes:station:" | cut -d':' -f3-}
Artist - Track:${execpi 10 qdbus org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Goodvibes /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Metadata | grep "^xesam:title:" | cut -d':' -f3-}\
${else}\
Goodvibes is not playing\
${endif}

There are a few things to notice here:

  • Don’t use the native interface io.gitlab.Goodvibes, use the MPRIS2 interface instead, ie. org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Goodvibes. The reason being that when you query Goodvibes on its native interface, it will automatically be launched by D-Bus in case it’s not running.
  • If for some reason you really need to use the native interface, then use a D-Bus command-line tool that allows you to disable auto-starting the service. As far as I know, you can only do that with busctl --user --auto-start=no.

One last word: I’m not a Conky guru, don’t quote me on that snippet above ;)

Custom User-Agent

If for some reasons you need to use a different user-agent for a specific radio station, it’s possible. You just need to edit the file where the stations are stored (~/.local/share/goodvibes/stations.xml from version 0.4.1 onward, ~/.config/goodvibes/stations for older versions), and add the field <user-agent> to the station you want to customize. For example:

<Station>
  <uri>http://example.com/radio</uri>
  <name>Example Radio</name>
  <user-agent>Custom/1.0</user-agent>
</Station>