javascript controlled flash-based streaming mp3 player
JavaScript ActionScript
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What it is

Playa is a javascript class that communicates with a media-streaming swf. The script looks for Playas defined in the dom and prepares a Playa instance in javascript to control each playlist. No javascript is required by the user to create a working Playa. Callbacks are available for Playa events, and of course you can use javascript to manage the page just as you always can.

No matter the number of Playas in the dom, there will only ever be one teeny-tiny swf. If you do not require any particular fanciness in the event callback department, there is no need for you to write even a single byte of javascript. Dead simple, degrades gracefully, low overhead. Just the way a Playa oughta roll.

Try it out

go into a hosted directory (e.g. ~/Sites on a mac)

$ git clone git://

and then direct your browser to the resulting folder

or just go check out what that is going to look like here

I am aware that the visuals on that example are not particularly impressive. I am not aiming to prove that css works with html. It does. I promise.

nicer examples to come when they come. or if one of you nice folk would like to make an example playa, I would be more than happy to display it here and attribute it to you in whatever way seems most fitting to your particular sensibilities.

Current behavior

a Playa has access to these actions:

  • play
  • pause
  • next
  • previous
  • stop

Play, pause, and stop with multiple Playas

pushing play in one Playa starts playing whatever the current track in that player.

pushing play in another player after a player has started pauses the current player (retaining playhead)

the new player will start playing at whatever track and playhead it has stored (track 1 time 0 by default, of course)

pushing play in the original player pauses the now current player (retaining playhead) and resumes play at the held place of the original player

Advancing the track

Pushing next or previous while playing will play the next or previous track

If currently on the first or last track and playing, and next or previous takes it back to itself, play will stop. This is the same behavior as itunes. Blame them.

If another Playa is playing, pushing next or previous advances the playlist to the appropriate place, but does not alter current play. If that Playa is later played, the updated playhead will be used.

Using Playa

require the necessary js files (including jquery)

<script type="text/javascript" src="javascript/jquery-1.3.2.min.js" /></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="javascript/flash_interface.js" /></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="javascript/Playa.js" /></script>

embed the swf

<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"
      id="Playa" width="0" height="0"
  <param name="movie" value="Playa.swf" />
  <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="sameDomain" />
  <embed src="script/Playa.swf" quality="high" bgcolor="#869ca7"
    width="0" height="0" name="Playa" 
    play="true" loop="false" quality="high" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain"

set up a player using predefined classes

Giving an element the class "Playa" will cause a number of hooks to be added to the subsequent elements. Elements classed as play, pause, stop, previous, next, playlist, display, and track are used by Playa.

you can make your playlist in html

<ul class="Playa" id="first_instance">
  <li class="play">play</li>
  <li class="pause">pause</li>
  <li class="stop">stop</li>
  <li class="previous">previous</li>
  <li class="next">next</li>
    <ul class="playlist">
        <a class="track" href="resources/01.mp3">song 1</a>
        <a class="track" href="resources/02.mp3">song 2</a>

or by putting json in the value attribute of the class="playlist" element

<ul class="Playa" id="second_instance">
  <li class="play">play</li>
  <li class="pause">pause</li>
  <li class="stop">stop</li>
  <li class="previous">previous</li>
  <li class="next">next</li>
  <input type="hidden"
                 {url: 'resources/07.mp3'}]"

Only the url attribute is used if an object literal is passed in the value array. If you would like to use some other attribute (image, perhaps), you are more than welcome.

Defining playlists with html

the 'track' designator can be on any element, but if it does not have a href attribute (as above), then it requires an anchor tag as one of its children


marking the active track

the active attribute is put alongside the track attribute when a song becomes active in a particular Playa. Activity is triggered when a song becomes the current track for a Playa.


<li class="track active">
  <a href="resources/01.mp3">song 1</a>
  <img src="resources/01.jpg" />


  <a class="track active" href="resources/01.mp3">song 1</a>
  <img src="resources/01.jpg" />


callbacks are available for the following events:

  • doOnPlay
  • doOnPause
  • doOnStop
  • doOnGotoNext
  • doOnGotoPrevious
  • doOnPlayNext
  • doOnPlayPrevious
  • doOnActivateTrack
  • doWhilePlaying

callbacks are set in a jquery $(document).ready() function, and will look something like this:

      Playa.get["first_instance"]["doWhilePlaying"] = function(){
        playheadDisplay = (this.playhead/1000).toFixed(0)+"/"+(this.trackTime/1000).toFixed(0);

      Playa.get["first_instance"]["doOnStop"] = function(){

where first_instance is the id of the Playa you are addressing.

currently, callbacks do nothing on default. I plan to concoct some sort of defaults, however, as long as I can convince myself they will be generally useful.

Also, there is currently no easy way to set a particular callback for all players on the page, although this is also in the works.

a few special notes on callbacks

although most of the callbacks are pretty straightforward, two of them bare a little explanation. doWhilePlaying and doOnActivateTrack are slightly different animals than the other ones.


doWhilePlaying runs continuously once play is started. If you want to establish a playhead, or do something else repeatedly while a song is playing, this is where it would go. The interval span is 100ms. If this is unnacceptable to you, overwriting the startDoingWhilePlaying (which, unsurprisingly, starts the doWhilePlaying method) method to accommodate your needs would look exactly like writing any other callback.


doOnActivateTrack fires for every element in a playlist on track change. This callback uses two arguments. The first is the track element which is currently being discussed, and the second is a boolean value indicating whether the current element is or is not the active track. Writing a doOnActivateTrack callback would look like this

    Playa.get["first_instance"]["doOnActivateTrack"] = function(element, active){
      if(active == true){