by Shakeel Mohamed
Reflecting on 1 Year of Zen Audio Player
Today marks one year since I made the first commit to the Zen Audio Player (ZAP) project on GitHub! After reading Robby Russell’s post about Oh my Zsh, I’ve realized ZAP has a lot of potential going into year 2. Over the past year the project has grown in ways I would’ve never imagined. To date we’ve had 20 contributors, and most have been in the past 4 months!
A Brief Timeline of Development
Last year, I had a very simple idea: hide the video player on YouTube videos and just listen to the audio. I thought it would be something fairly easy to do, and it was. I slapped together a working version of a website in a couple of weeknights while procrastinating on my senior project. My “innovation” was setting the height of the YouTube player small enough so only the controls were visible.
Life was great for a few months. I was listening to progressive trance mixes at work without being embarrassed by the borderline-NSFW thumbnails/slideshows on most of these videos. In my spare time on nights and weekends I started adding features. Then all of a sudden one day, YouTube redesigned their video player.
Out of the blue one day in October ZAP received our first contributor pull request from Matt Stannett! Before Matt, the repo was actually on my personal GitHub account. After some time, I transferred the repo to the ZAP GitHub organization. Working with him on a few changes motivated me to spend more time working on ZAP. His initial involvement inspired me to post the project on Up For Grabs leading to many more contributions than expected.
It still amazes me that some features have been implemented solely by contributors to ZAP. Some of these are:
- Rendering the YouTube video’s description (with proper hyperlinks)
- YouTube search with autocompletion
- Showing search results, and playing the audio for that video without leaving the ZAP website
GitHub has been really great about promoting free tools for open source projects. The following tools have been tremendously helpful and will continue to benefit ZAP in the future:
- GitHub Pages — nothing beats free hosting for our static site!
- Gitter — our awesome chatroom that’s integrated with our other services
- Travis CI — somebody’s gotta run the tests
- Code Climate — a great automated code quality analyzing service
- Google Analytics / Keen.IO — so we can now how users are using the site
I am deeply grateful for the contributors we’ve had so far, and I look forward to collaborating with more in the future.
I want to especially thanks the following individuals: