Using Tomahawk resolvers in node.js

28 January 2014, 3 minutes to read

tl;dr: I wrote a node.js module so that you can use packaged Tomahawk AXE archives in your node.js application for querying music services with a unified interface, see node-tomahawkjs

During MusicHackDay Paris 2013, I made my hack TomaWall that scrapes your Twitter feed in search for music linkes posted by your peers. Its main task is to detect links to songs and then transform them into a tuple of (artist, song) which then can be used to built up a playlist. As this is the same task for each music service that needs to be done in a different way for each music service, I added this functionality to the Tomahawk resolvers. In fact this task defined as a function urlLookup: (url) → (artist, song) is kind of an inverse of Tomahawk’s main function (urlLookup⁻¹ ≈) resolve : (artist, song) → (url) which looks for a streamable URL given an artist and a song title.

But the usage of Tomahawk resolvers were at that time limited to either use in Tomahawk itself or by utilising the C++-library libtomahawk. Both possibilties were not feasible for integration in a simple node.js webapp. As the Tomahawk resolvers are mostly written in JavaScript, I thought that they should be able to run in a node.js environment. Sadly due to the design of these resolver they cannot be simple included like a standard node.js module, but I implemented the same runtime that is provided in Tomahawk Player.

The resulting library node-tomahawkjs can be used in any node.js application to utilise the full power of the Tomahawk resolver. A full guide is given in the README but a very common task will involve resolving a (artist, song) tuple to a streamable URL. The use a resolver, we need to load the axe package and create a new instance. As Tomahawk resolvers have to be run in their own JavaScript context, the getInstance function includes this in its callback too.

var TomahawkJS = require('tomahawkjs');

TomahawkJS.loadAxe(pathtoaxe, function(err, axe) {
  // TODO: Check for error in err
  // After load the axe, we most likely want to have an instance of the resolver
  axe.getInstace(function(err, instance_context) {
    // TODO: Check for error in err
    var instance = instance_context.instance;
    // Each Resolver instance runs in its own global JavaScript context
    var context = instance_context.context;
    // Start the instance
    instance.init();
    // We can now use the instance
  });
});

Given this instance, we now have to define a handle if a new resolving result is found. A simple handler can for example just log the URL to the commandline:

context.on('track-result', function (qid, result) {
  console.log('Found a new streamable URL for request ' + qid + ': ' + result.url);
});

Given we want to hear to some Skirllex, we then simply query this resolver via:

instance.resolve(1, 'Skrillex', '',  'Bangarang feat Sirah')

Which leads to the following commandline output that could be used in an application to play that song.

Found a new streamable URL for request 1: http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45719017/stream.json?client_id=

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Use Media Keys to control Tomahawk in Awesome WM

Nowadays for controling a mediaplayer the MPRIS specification exists, sadly this interface seems unsupported by awesome. One solution would be to add some lines to the configuration of xbindkeys and to start it in the background. But as awesome already can handle global keybindings adding these lines to your .config/awesome/rc.lua will transmit the actions of the media keys to Tomahawk (they will work with every MPRIS2-compatible media, you just need to replace “tomahawk” with the matching name).

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