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iTunes Control Using VB.NET

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28 Nov 2006CPOL2 min read 126.4K   1.7K   38   39
Exploring the iTunes interface using VB.

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Long have I searched for an article on using iTunes through VB; there are many examples in C flavours, even Java, but few using VB. The iTunes SDK details what is available, but has little on usage.


iTunes is a wonderful player, relatively uncomplicated in its use, no adverts or unnecessary gadget like interfaces. I had several reasons for exploring the use of my own interface to it main one being I have an iPod, and want to get information off it and back to the PC. The drive for writing this code was the annoying habit iTunes has of drag and drop of playlists, fine if you are using a mouse as you have to hold down the mouse but I was writing an application that uses a touch screen and drag and drop plays havoc with the playlists. As a result the playlists and tracklists on the form of this application are quite large to make nice landing zones for fingers.

Using the code

You do not need the iTunes SDK to access iTunes, it just helps to start to locate what you want, though I have found that some features are not exposed in the IDE. Also, some of the types do not expose either, which is frustrating as you have to remember to press Escape to prevent the nearest name, usually a collection of the same type, being filled in by the IDE. For example, typing Dim objPlayList as iTunesLib.IITPlayList will produce Dim objPlayList as iTunesLib.IITPlayListCollection, as IITPlayList is not exposed.

To use the code, you must have iTunes installed and add a reference to your project of the COM interface "iTunes  x.x Type Library" where x.x is the version installed with the iTunes version; mine was version 1.8 with version of iTunes, and the COM interface ITDetector.

One item I can not get to work is the iTunes events, running it through the debugger shows that the event subroutines get fired but do not entirely execute for some reason; complete mystery, and if anyone solves, it I would be interested.

Points of Interest

Whilst I enjoyed solving the problem, the lack of documentation and very few examples I could find on the subject for VB did make it frustrating, which is why I decided to share this code. Good Luck.


Updated version. Added Try blocks for the iTunes application.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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Comments and Discussions

sheepy89826-Nov-06 9:38
sheepy89826-Nov-06 9:38 
GeneralRe: ITDETECTORLib [modified] Pin
Michael_Davies26-Nov-06 22:44
Michael_Davies26-Nov-06 22:44 
GeneralRe: ITDETECTORLib Pin
sheepy89817-Dec-06 19:17
sheepy89817-Dec-06 19:17 
GeneralRe: ITDETECTORLib Pin
Michael_Davies17-Dec-06 22:25
Michael_Davies17-Dec-06 22:25 
GeneralNullRef Pin
chrisr021-Nov-06 14:50
chrisr021-Nov-06 14:50 
GeneralRe: NullRef Pin
Michael_Davies21-Nov-06 22:57
Michael_Davies21-Nov-06 22:57 
GeneralMotivation Pin
SilimSayo10-Nov-06 8:59
SilimSayo10-Nov-06 8:59 
GeneralRe: Motivation Pin
Michael_Davies10-Nov-06 22:58
Michael_Davies10-Nov-06 22:58 
iTunes is great, love it.

I have an application that runs on a touch screen system and they wanted to have music from the same computer. I used iTunes at first, just supplied a button that brought it to the foreground for them to select their music, unfortunately iTunes has a drag and drop feature : if you pick up a playlist and drop it on another playlist it copies itself into the dropped list even if those tracks are already there from a previous accident. You can not turn off or control this behaviour and it is fine with a mouse but a nightmare with a touch screen.

I make this statement in the blurb with the code so I am surprised you ask, guess you did not read it.

Having played with the interface and found the documentation poor I thought I would share it for anyone else who might want to tackle it.

The other reason for ever wanting to use it is if you want to provide music from your app without having to switch away from it, which is what mine now does so now client has music and no accidentally expanding playlists and my app stays in control.

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