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Exclusive preview: Delicious Monster's Delicious Library 2.0


New in Two

The new version sports a clean new look, which has evolved significantly during the development process. Early builds attempted to present metadata, star ratings, reviews, and other details in a Leopard iCal-style bubble that popped up for each item (below top). In the latest builds, the interface has been reworked to display related information in an adjustable third pane similar to Mail (below bottom). The overall interface looks a lot like FileMaker's new Bento personal database. That's no real surprise, as both take full advantage of Leopard features and follow the revised Human Interface Guidelines related to the latest release of Mac OS X.

Delicious Library 2.0


Delicious Library 2.0


Smart Money and Automation

DL2 also adds automatic currency conversion; it downloads the latest currency rates, and when the user performs a smart shelf that selects by value, or sorts a shelf by value, it correctly knows how a British Pound compares to a US Dollar and an Autralian Dollar or Euro and 21 other world's other currencies.

It also offers expanded support for AppleScript, supporting both read and write operations. It's also the first program ever to allow users to add scripts anywhere within DL2's menu system. That means a user could add an "Import from FileMaker" script which appears under "File->Import" in the main menu bar rather than only within the Script menu.

In addition to AppleScripts, shell scripts, workflows and applications can also be added to DL2's menus by adding them to the /Library/Scripts/Applications/Delicious Library 2 folder.

Publish and Subscribe

Users can publish their library shelves as a printed hard copy, as a portable Notes listing that can be uploaded to an iPod, or as webpages that can be saved to a local folder, uploaded to an FTP server, or published automatically to .Mac (using the interface described above). Library items can also be sent to iWeb to add the listings to customizable web pages. When generating an HTML listing, a translucent progress window pops up (below).

Delicious Library 2.0


Once completed, the application presents a link to visit the new site. While still a work in progress, the generated web pages look pretty slick, with Ajax-style interactivity including artwork popups and a details section for each item (below). Leveraging .Mac makes publishing a public library effortless, although DL2 can also spit out pages to an FTP server or to a local folder for manual uploading to a web server.

Delicious Library 2.0


Along with publishing conventional HTML web pages, DL2 also uploads a hidden, invisible binary file that can be read by DL2 directly. That means anyone who knows your published web URL can also browse your shared library within their own copy of DL2 instead of as web pages.

When contacts are added to the Friend shelf, DL2 automatically searches the web and find if they have published a Delicious Library of their own. It then lists their published web URLs on their friend tab; that link can be used to load their library automatically from wherever in the world for direct browsing in DL2.

DL2's library can also be shared via Bonjour to other local computers, just like shared albums in iPhoto or iTunes, allowing users to keep a central library viewed by other machines.

Library data can also be exported from the Pro version of DL2 in either comma or tab separated files, BibTeX format for use with Bookends, SYLK format for use in Excel, XML, and six of the most common bibliography formats.

Scan Lines

DL2 also features faster bar code scanning, which has always been a key feature of the application. Click the camera icon, and a translucent panel shows up with faux red laser lines and an outline target for your UPC code (below left). When the application grabs the barcode, it flashes an X-Ray representation of it onto the display with a beep (below right), then looks the product up online, and announces the product name out loud using Leopard's new Alex voice. If the item has already been added to your library, the voice tells you that too, and gives you the option to create a duplicate.

Delicious Library 2.0


Once scanned, the barcode isn't presented anywhere in the interface, and there's no provision for printing barcodes to manage library items yet. DL2 does adds support for searching items by Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress numbers, and scanned books are assigned an ISBN, EAN, and Dewey Decimal number from Amazon's online database (below). Movies, video games, and software titles are listed by EAN.

Delicious Library 2.0


The application's barcode scanning is cool enough that it would be great to see it offered as a general purpose service for other applications to use, along with a mechanism for printing barcode labels for items that get checked out. Perhaps Delicious Monster will also take advantage of the iPhone's upcoming SDK to offer barcode scanning on it as well. QR barcodes are already a required feature on Japanese smartphones, and popularly used to pull up information on barcoded products, as noted in the article Readers Write: the iPhone in Asia, iTunes OTA, and a CueCat?.

Leopard-palooza

DL2 adds enough other new Leopard-centric features to make the new version Leopard-only:
  • Creating a library loan adds an event to Leopard's Calendar Store, visible within iCal and other applications that use shared calendar data.
  • Core Animation effects abound, adding slick and sometimes comical flourish to the user interface. Delete an item, and it doesn't just disappear, but explodes into burst of confetti.
  • Items can be dragged to the Desktop to create double-clickable icons that open DL2, or present a Quick Look synopsis of the item with a touch of the spacebar.
  • Library data is now stored in CoreData using SQL rather than a flat XML file, for much faster performance. It also uses roughly a quarter the disk space to store the same data.
  • Leopard printing support includes extensible HTML-based templates and a new preview mode.

Delicious Library 2.0 should be available in March for $40, with a $20 upgrade offer for users of the existing version. Anyone who bought the existing version on or after December 1, 2007 will be able to upgrade for free.