Burning Desire

After actually building something for the first time in a while, I spent some time last night researching other stuff I want to write. One of the things I’m thinking about building is a WMA to Audio CD burning program. Of course, WMP9 (and many other programs) does this today. However, there’s one specific feature I need and it doesn’t appear to be one of the more standard ones.

Pretty soon, we’re going to make the Architecture Strategy Series content available for download. For each presentation, we’re going to provide the slides, the full Producer presentation, and a WMA file suitable for burring to CD. We’re even using the Windows Media Time Compression technology to get all the sessions under 80 minutes so they fit on CD. However, when you burn the file, it creates basically one long track, making it difficult to move back and forth within the presentation. I could break it into separate files per track, but that’s a pain. At least with one big file, there’s no chance of getting it out of order.

The Windows Media Format supports named markers. My burning program could build multiple tracks, based on those markers. Other audio players or CD burners would just ignore those markers. That way you get one file to download, but multiple tracks when you burn – the best of both worlds.

However, I have precious little time to dedicate to such a project, primarily as I have higher priority projects to build first. Additionally, I’d have to write it in C++ due to the lack of managed support for the various APIs and SDKs I would need. (Windows Media Format SDK to read audio file and the Image Mastering API to create the audio CD) So I gotta wonder if this capability already exists somewhere? Are there commonly-available tools that can use either named markers or a playlist file to create multiple tracks from on audio file? I’d hate to reinvent the wheel if I didn’t need to.


For what it's worth, I don't think the lack of tracks is particularly important. Anyone playing back these things has a player with the possibility to change what part of the file it is playing and a timer to let you get this approximately right. I DO think that providing this as a .wma file that can be burnt onto a CDROM is a really good idea. I am quite sick of all the useful web casts that I have be connected to the web in order to be able to watch them. (Yes, I do have broadband at home; yes, I have wireless as well to it; but no, my parents don't have broadband and no, I don't want to pay airport charges to connect up (and those are the places I would have most time to watch these things))