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iTunes Visualizers

iTunes is Apple’s audio player software. It organizes personal music collections and provides playback like a jukebox.

But it not only organizes and plays back audio. iTunes provides built-in visualization. By choosing “Show Visualizer” in the View menu, a visual show can be started that accompanies the music.

The menu item “Visualizer” lists all available visualizers as submenu items. The built-in “iTunes Visualizer” is always available, but other visualizers can be installed with ease as plug-ins.

On Mac OS X plug-ins are installed by placing the plug-in file inside the directory ~/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/ (private access) or /Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/ (global access).
On Windows plug-ins are installed by placing the plug-in file inside a directory called “Plug-Ins”; this directory must be next to the iTunes.exe. If the directory does not exist you have to create it.

Some visualizer plug-ins can be customized with a configuration window. The menu item “Options...”, that is displayed under the list of available visualizers, offers access to the configuration window of the currently selected visualizer.

While developing a custom visualizer plug-in for iTunes, I noticed that no comprehensive sample code with basic functionality existed.
So I decided to set up an open source samplework for developing iTunes visualizers.

The open source project is called “VizKit. The first version was released in June 2004.

The iTunes visualizer “Cover Version is based on the “VizKit” samplework.