Recently envious of Matt Woodward's Now Playing on iTunes pod on his blog, a blog built with BlogFusion, I investigated what might be involved in producing an equivalent pod for BlogCFC software users.

I read the installation and usage guide for the Now Playing plug-in, available for a small charge from Brandon Fuller, and it seemed very easy to setup in iTunes. I logged into PayPal, bought a Now Playing license, and immediately received my key in the mail. The plug-in for Mac has few features than the one for Windows by the way. I think he will implement the Mac features in the not too distant future tho.

The plug-in will upload a small xml file called now_playing.xml to a specified directory on your FTP server where your ColdFusion server and blog reside. For each song played, the now_playing.xml file is uploaded with the metadata associated with the song currently playing. If the song has an artwork image associated with it, that image is also uploaded.

To display the song on my blog, I had to write a pod for BlogCFC that would not only parse the the now_playing.xml file to display info like the song name, artist, and album in the pod, but I also had to design a way for the pod to behave efficiently so as to minimize the number of times it reads the timestamp on now_playing.xml and parsing the file only if the pod detects that the file has been updated.