Tales of software craftsmanship

Tales of software craftsmanship

LikeBack in Amarok

Amarok 2.3.0 has just been released but the Amarok team is already working hard on the next release. Shortly after mainline opened for feature commits I pushed a feature that will hopefully result in the next Amarok release being based on user feedback even more than 2.3.0: LikeBack integration.

What is LikeBack?

Short answer: a client-server system for gathering context-related, anonymous and immediate user feedback.

Long answer: described in a blog post by Valerio Pilo, KMess developer.

Pics worth more than 1K words (hint: the icons in the top right corner):

As I’ve read, LikeBack was originally developed for BasKet Note Pads and ported to KDE4 by KMess developers.

In Amarok the LikeBack bar is enabled by default only for testing releases i.e. git builds and betas. When the user has a good or bad experience, or gets an idea for a feature, he can click on one of the icons in the top right and submit a message. With LikeBack we gather comments of the types “like” “dislike” and “feature idea”, single and short suggestions, not discussions or bug reports. Bugs are still handled through the usual dialog that takes the user to bugs.kde.org, a system much better suited for bug tracking than LikeBack: this also means that if we receive something like a bug report under the guise of a “dislike” through LikeBack, we will have to consider it invalid.

The feedback we have received so far (several dozen comments in half a week) is quite positive, no insults yet (yay!).

LikeBack is available in Amarok’s git mainline (and in git/nightly builds if your distro provides them) as of a few days ago (*not* in the 2.3.0 release), so feel free to give it a spin and let us know what you think, either through LikeBack or the usual channels.


  • Reply mintlars |

    You know, this may be the most excellent way of giving the ability to provide feedback. Seems easy and straightforward enough, not to mention the benefit of spontanious feedback. If you don’t want to risk installing an alpha or beta release, will I be able to use this in a stable one?

    • Reply Téo |

      Thank you.
      You will be able to use it, it’s just not shown by default in a stable release. Once it gets released (probably in 2.3.1) you’ll be able to enable it through the menu “Help–>Show Feedback Icons”.

      • Reply mintlars |

        Great! One thing though, if you’re not supposed to report bugs with this, why is there a bug icon there? It just screems “report bug here!” although you shouldn’t.

        • Reply Téo |

          The bug button itself is provided by the LikeBack toolbar for convenience, but it launches the usual “Report Bug” dialog found in most KDE apps (which takes the user to bugs.kde.org) instead of the LikeBack comment submission interface. Having bug reports both through LikeBack proper and bugs.kde.org would make it *very* hard and time consuming for us to handle them properly, and would probably cause lots of duplicate submissions.
          So technically clicking the “bug” icon allows you to report a bug, but from there on the usual bug reporting infrastructure is used instead of LikeBack.

  • Reply Mike |

    Why does the email address field have an extra checkbox when it is optional? Either there is an address or there isn’t. No need to put a “do you want to enter an email address?” checkbox.
    I like the idea otherwise.

  • Reply nobody |

    what is this youtube internet service about? is it a new feature in 2.3.x ? or a script? couldnt find anything about it.

    • Reply Téo |

      Oops… it’s a script I installed a loooong time ago and pretty much forgot about it 🙂 Never really used it but it kinda worked a few versions ago. Try clicking on “Get More Scripts” in Amarok’s Script Manager and searching for “youtube”, it should be there.

  • Reply kriko |

    What is the colour schemes you are using in screenshots?
    Btw, I’ve already used the likeback feature :>

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