What is Wplayer? First of all, Wplayer is NOT a player at all. It is simply
a user interface to make Winamp easy to use for square dance tape groups.
Which leads to the next question, namely what is Winamp?. Winamp is simply
one of the best media players available, and it is freeware from Nullsoft.
You can get it from www.winamp.com.
It will play WAV files, MP3 files, ACM WAV files, and just about every
other sound file format out there.
So why do I need Wplayer? Well, Winamp is great if you want to control
it with a mouse. It even has some keyboard shortcuts for most common functions.
But it is missing one very important feature. There is no counter. You
know, like on a tape recorder. A counter that you can zero at the start
of a sequence, and use to rewind back to the start of the sequence to try
it over again. There aren't any Windows media players that I know of that
have a counter, which is unfortunate. But Winamp does have one really nice
feature. The folks at Nullsoft made it easy to control Winamp from another
Windows application. And they made it possible for the application to implement
its own counter. So I wrote Wplayer to do just that. Wplayer controls Winamp,
gives you a tape counter, and gives you EASY to use keyboard shortcuts
for every function. Like for instance Play/Pause is the spacebar, so even
if you are dancing in the square and need to pause Winamp, it's easy to
reach over and tap the spacebar (the largest and most accessible key on
While I was at it, I added a few other nice features, like a tip timer
to let you know when to rotate new dancers into the square. The tip timer
plays a user selectable sound, and has a big red STOP visual indication
as well. Wplayer will also keep track what playlist was in use for each
of your tape groups, and exactly where you left off in the playlist. Cool.
Wplayer is distributed as a setup file called SetupWplayer.exe. Simply
double-click the setup file to install it. The default installation folder
is c:\Program Files\Wplayer, and a desktop icon will be created for your
convenience. Wplayer makes no entries in your system registry. All settings
are kept in a file called Wplayer.dat in the folder where Wplayer is installed.
You will also need to install Winamp, if you don't have it already.
Either download it from the web, or look in the Winamp folder on the Wplayer
CD for the install file. Double click the install file and follow the instructions.
Winamp MUST be installed in c:\program files\winamp for Wplayer to be able
to find it, but that is the default folder for installation. You only need
basic functionality. The mini browser and the CDDB database lookup aren't
needed. Winamp likes to take over all the file types for sound files (doesn't
every media player?), but Winamp doesn't need to be the default player
for Wplayer to work just fine. Winamp also has lots of visualizations and
skins, but they don't make the music sound any better, so what's the point?
Just double click the shortcut to Wplayer to launch it. Wplayer will launch
Winamp automatically (if Winamp is not already running). The Wplayer screen
is very simple (some would say plain and boring). It looks like this:
File Menu (Tape Group Files)
The File menu allows you to open and save tape group files. A tape group
file (*.grp) is a very small file that Wplayer uses to keep track of where
you left off in each tape group. Wplayer remembers, in the tape group file,
which playlist file you had open and exactly where you were the last time
you zeroed the counter (which tip was playing, and the position in the
tip). Use Save As to create a new tape group file. Use Open to restore
the settings for a tape group. Save will save the currently open tape group
file, but Wplayer also asks you if you want to save changes to the current
tape group file (if one was open) automatically when Wplayer is closed,
or if another tape group file is opened. You can also open a tape group
file by dragging and dropping one onto the Wplayer main window, or by dragging
and dropping one onto the desktop shortcut when you first start Wplayer..
Whenever Wplayer is started again, the the last tape group file you
had open will automatically open again, and you will find yourself in the
same playlist you had open when you left off.
The Edit menu contains the Undo and Redo commands. Undo undoes the last
zeroing of the counter and returns you to the the zero that was set before
that. You can undo back through 100 levels of zeroing the counter, even
if the zero was set in a different tip in the current playlist. Redo undoes
an Undo (in case you do too many Undo's). Redo only works until you zero
the counter again. Then you can't Redo any more. There are no buttons on
the main screen for Undo and Redo, but there are keyboard shortcuts (see
Play Menu (Winamp Playlists)
Wplayer does not have a playlist editor. Instead, Wplayer used the
already supported by Winamp. Winamp has a very nice playlist editor
allows dragging and dropping of files and folders, dragging entries to
rearrange the order of files in the playlist, deleting files from the
etc. Use Winamp to create your playlists, and save them as ".m3u" files
(one of several playlist formats supported by Winamp). The Play menu
has only two items, Open File and OpenPlaylist. Open File is used to
play a single MP3 file without a playlist. Open Playlist is used to
open a Winamp playlist file. It
is necessary to open the playlist file using Wplayer instead of doing
directly with Winamp, otherwise Wplayer does not know the name of the
open playlist file. This is important, so that Wplayer can save the
of the playlist file and automatically open the proper playlist when
open a tape group file. You can also open a playlist file in Wplayer by
dragging and dropping a Winamp ".m3u" playlist file onto the Wplayer
The options menu allows you to change some of the options used by Wplayer.
Select Options, Settings to change the default length of the tip timer,
the sound file played by the tip timer, enable/disable the sound played
by the tip timer, and select the method used by Wplayer to play the end
of tip sound. You may select either Amovie or Playsnd. Playsnd is recommended
for most computers, but some computers cannot play another sound if a music
file is already playing. In this case, try selecting Amovie. You may also
need to configure Winamp to use the DirectSound output plugin (under Options,
Preferences, Output). DirectSound output (for Winamp) with Amovie (for
the tip timer sound) will make the tip timer work on some computers when
Playsnd does not. If neither method works, you can just disable the tip
timer sound by unchecking the Sound ON check box. Use the Browse button
to select a sound file to use with the tip timer. Use the Preview button
to play the current tip timer sound file.
The Help menu contains Help, which brings up this Users Guide in your default
web browser, and About to display the program version and copyright information.
Buttons and Keyboard Shortcuts
|Keyboard shortcut Space. Starts playing if currently stopped, then
toggles between play and pause.
|Keyboard shortcut F12 or T. Pauses the tip timer if it is running (tip
timer start running again next time Play/Pause starts the music), or resets
the tip timer if it is not running (is paused it has timed out).
|Keyboard shortcut End or F9 or Z. Used to zero the counter (i.e. mark
the end of a sequence) so you can return to that point with Rewind.
|Keyboard shortcut Home or F11 or R. Used to return (instantly) to the
last point where you zeroed the counter.
|Keyboard shortcut F5 or B. Used to back up 5 seconds. A few taps on
F5 can let you repeat the last call or two.
5 Second >>
|Keyboard shortcut F8 or F. Used to skip forward 5 seconds.
|Keyboard shortcut F6 or P. Used to back up to the beginning of the
previous tip in the playlist. A zero mark is placed at the current play
location prior to backing up to the previous tip. This allows Undo to restore
you to where you were just before hitting Last Tip.
|Keyboard shortcut F7 or N. Used to skip to the beginning of the next
tip in the playlist. A zero mark is placed at the current play location
prior to advancing to the next tip. This allows Undo to restore you to
where you were just before hitting Next Tip.
|Keyboard shortcut Backspace or U. Used to erase the last zeroing of
the tape counter and rewind to the zero point before that one. (Oops, I
already zeroed the counter, what do you mean, you want to repeat that last
sequence?) No problem, just Undo. And Wplayer keeps a list of the last
100 times you zeroed the counter, so you can Undo 100 times. Undo will
even take you back to previous tips in the playlist. But you can't undo
back to a different playlist, sorry!
||Keyboard shortcut D (for Do, which I guess is the opposite of Undo).
Used to redo the last undo, in case you did too many undos. But this will
only work as long as you have not hit the Zero. Once you Zero, no more
redos can be done.