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fre:ac Developer Blog

Welcome to the fre:ac developer blog. I will post status updates and other information about fre:ac development here.



A first glimpse of the future Print
Written by Robert   
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 22:28

I released the first development snapshot of the BonkEnc v1.1 CVS tree today. It provides a first glimpse of some of what will eventually be in BonkEnc v1.1. Here are some highlights.

The BonkEnc Component Architecture now supports encoder/decoder DLLs and provides access to external command line encoders. That way you can now use encoders like Nero's HE-AAC or Musepack with BonkEnc. The snapshot package includes Musepack and WavPack encoders and comes with ready configuration files for TAK, Shorten and Nero AAC. Just copy the respective encoder executables (takc.exe, shortn32.exe or neroAacEnc.exe) to the codecs/cmdline subdirectory and BonkEnc will recognize the encoders at next start. Support for command line encoders is still very basic, however. For example, you cannot set encoder options using the BonkEnc GUI, yet. Expect better integration with BonkEnc in one of the next snapshots.

Thanks to the new flexibility gained through the BoCA interface, components for encoding and decoding Monkey's Audio (*.ape, *.mac) files could be added. Monkey's Audio is fully supported by BonkEnc now.

The LAME MP3 decoder has been replaced by a MAD decoder component. MAD is the MPEG Audio Decoder and should provide better decoding quality than LAME (however, MAD's 24 bit decoding is not yet supported in BonkEnc). It also successfully decodes some problem files which used to make LAME and BonkEnc crash in previous releases.

Finally, the configuration dialog got a new layout. You will now find a listbox with entries for each configurable component at the left side of the window while the configuration options for the selected component will appear at the right. This has become necessary due to the switch to BoCA. Lots of configurable components just couldn't be integrated into the tabbed configuration dialog of previous releases.

I hope you will have fun playing around with the new features. Please note, however, that this is a highly experimential alpha release. It's still recommended to use BonkEnc v1.0.x for daily encoding work.

 
BoCA Print
Written by Robert   
Saturday, 19 January 2008 22:28

BoCAAs some of you might already know from my posts in the support forums, the next feature release - BonkEnc v1.1 - will include a component model to ease addition of new encoders and decoders to BonkEnc and to finally make DSP filters like volume normalization or declicking possible.

BoCA - the BonkEnc Component Architecture - works using a runtime library that provides C++ APIs to both the application and individual components. Internally it uses a C API to allow dynamic loading of components. Services provided by the runtime library are split into component, application and common services. Application services include a component registry and wrapper classes around the internal C API. Component services provide support for reading and writing tags (although this will be replaced by individual components in the future) and other utility functions. Finally, common services include classes for storing track format and title information.

I'm currently working hard to get the BonkEnc v1.1 code and BoCA into a usable state. Most input and output filters have already been converted into components, but the configuration dialogs are not done, yet. Once everything is ready I will release a binary CVS snapshot as a public alpha release.

With the alpha release a component SDK will be made available to allow developers to create their own encoder / decoder components. Support for DSP and other components will be added in a later release.

 
Something about me Print
Written by Robert   
Friday, 23 February 2007 13:00

Robert Kausch After more than five years of working on the BonkEnc project, version 1.0 of BonkEnc is finally available. I think it's time to tell something about myself now. Here are some facts first:

Name: Robert Kausch
Birthday: 17 September 1982
Birth place: Neu Kaliß, MV, Germany
(a small village with around 2,000 inhabitants, I actually never lived there)
Location: Elmshorn, SH, Germany
(near Hamburg in northern Germany)
Occupation: Student 
University: Nordakademie University of Applied Sciences, Elmshorn 
Subject: Computer Science for Business
(7th semester, 1 more to go) 
Spoken languages: German, English
(some French, Japanese and Russian as well, but I just started learning) 
Open Source projects: BonkEnc, JoomlaStats, smooth class library 

I will finish university in summer '07 and currently plan to apply for a master program in software architecture then. I'd like to spend some years working abroad after I got my M.Sc., maybe in Japan or the US.

I founded the BonkEnc project back in 2001, because I didn't like the user interface of CDex. I wanted to create an application that's easy to use for beginners and powerful enough to be useful for advanced users at the same time.

Soon the project developed a life of its own. People requested this feature and that feature and my to do list grew longer and longer. I finally made a list of features that I wanted to have in a v1.0 release.

This eventually led to the release of BonkEnc v1.0 beta 1 in mid 2003. A version that I considered almost feature complete. But as more and more people started using BonkEnc, even more features were requested. I realized that beta 1 was not even near version 1.0.

Finally BonkEnc v1.0 has been released and I think it's a great product. It has almost every feature users requested in the past five years.

Development will now concentrate on BonkEnc v1.1. It will include all the features that required too many architectural changes to be included in v1.0. Support for more encoders, multi threading and multi channel support are just a few examples. And I promise it won't take another five years until the release.

 
After the Beta 4 release Print
Written by Robert   
Thursday, 27 July 2006 20:03

It's been a while since my last update here. In the meantime BonkEnc v1.0 Beta 4 has been released and it has been a great success! The software has been downloaded about 30,000 times since it was released one month ago. Even better, unlike previous releases, Beta 4 seems to contain only very few bugs. This should give me more time to concentrate on finishing the final v1.0.

Bugs that have been reported so far:

  • failure to read HE-AAC files correctly

this was related to how BonkEnc calculated MP4 track duration and is already fixed in CVS

  • crash when encoding from FLAC to AAC

this only occurred with this decoder/encoder combination; it's also fixed in CVS

  • some new freedb problems that didn't occur in previous releases

the rewrite of the freedb component introduced some new bugs, but they are not critical and should be easy to fix

Before v1.0 will be released there will be another snapshot probably in August or September.

Sorry to the developers that I didn't finish the Bonk library yet. In fact I just made an implementation good enough for use in BonkEnc, but didn't implement features like seeking or multichannel support yet. These will follow soon and the library will be released then.

I will have some free days now before the next semester starts at university. I will try to dedicate some time to the development of BonkEnc.

 
BonkEnc status update Print
Written by Robert   
Sunday, 14 May 2006 14:45

Some time has passed since the last BonkEnc release, but the next release will be available soon.

I'm currently working on a stand-alone Bonk audio library which will allow 3rd party developers to integrate Bonk support into their products. It will also help us ease the development of Bonk plug-ins for 3rd party audio applications. The currently available Bonk plug-ins for Winamp were each using their own Bonk codec. In the future all plug-ins will be based on the unified Bonk library.

I expect to be ready to release BonkEnc v1.0 beta 4 in about four weeks. The Bonk library might be released one or two weeks earlier.

 
Switching to Joomla Print
Written by Robert   
Sunday, 09 April 2006 22:24

After looking for a good content management system for the BonkEnc site for a while, I stumbled upon Joomla. I played around with it a little and then decided to use it for the BonkEnc website.

It's my first try on a CMS and I'm really enthusiastic about all the features now. It's just great to manage the site with Joomla. The consequence will hopefully be more frequent site updates.

I will try to write something to this blog reqularly to inform you about where BonkEnc development is going. So check back here more often in the future!

 
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