Plex Blog

Seek and Plex Shall Find: Leveling up our web app

April 7, 2016 380 Comments

I know it’s only been a week since our last blog post, and we’ve actually spent most of that time trying to teach our cats to flush. But we do have a couple of dog owners and even some heretical non-pet-owners in our midst, and they’ve been hard at work finishing up a few most-awesome enhancements to our web app. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been busy evolving it, and just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, this particular rev of the web app won’t get there all at once. As they say in Rome, “citius, altius, fortius!” or, as they say in Toy Story, “to infinity, and beyond!”

We do have a brand new dashboard for you today, which brings a beautiful new look and feel as well as new technical underpinnings. As a wise person once said: “The right Javascript framework to use is the one you weren’t using last week” so we’ve started using the most awesome React. You’ll notice lots of subtle fades and animations throughout the new portions of the web interface. For example, change an item’s poster on the dashboard, and watch it flip in nervous excitement. (You probably won’t notice the massive refactor of the underlying data models that went along with this, paving the way for future success. We get that.)

For starters, you can now access all the most excellent new discovery features right on the dashboard. I love using it for music while I work, being reminded of artists I haven’t played in a while, or my most played albums from prior months.

2016-04-06 at 10.15 PM

Next up: mouse, trackpad, and touch users rejoice, because you can finally fling the horizontal lists around like they deserve!


We also added a feature which has been requested a lot over the years, a poster zoom slider. Because one size doesn’t fit all.

2016-04-06 at 10.24 PM

Last, but not least, we’d love to introduce you to the brand spanking new, amazingly cool live search. We dove deep, scaled great heights, and emerged with something we feel is truly special. Let’s see why.

Speedy: The new search is fast. Really, really fast. Most operations complete in tens of milliseconds, across a hundred thousand media items. As you type, results appear immediately, at the speed of thought (assuming you think as slow as you type). For the sake of comparison, this is up to 50-75 times faster than it used to be. And you know what your computer does with all that spare time? The lazy #$%# SLEEPS. Which means we’re probably back on Al Gore’s Christmas list!

Complete: We search genres, actors, directors, playlists, as well as all the obvious media titles. It’s never been easier to jump to all of Ahh-nold’s movies, or see all your Jazz.

2016-04-06 at 10.32 PM

Forgiving: We’ve incorporated an advanced spell-checker into your searches. Why? Because “KUROSAWA” is hard to spell. That’s why. So if you type “korisawa” we’ll match it anyway, and not make fun of you. Not even passive-aggressively, like Google with its “Did you mean?” crap. OF COURSE I MEANT. IT’S HARD TO SPELL.

2016-04-06 at 10.35 PM

Intelligent: Because the new search is so damn fast, it’s like we have spare time on our hands to do more work for you. So we figured we’d bring you contextual search results. So for example, if you search for “Pernice”, we’ll return “Pernice Brothers” as the artist result, but we’ll also go ahead and return your most-listened to albums and tracks from the artist. If you type “Arnold” you’ll get a result for the actor, but also the most recently added movies he’s in.


Bonus: Hit command/ctrl-enter to play a selected search result. Additionally hold down shift to shuffle. Because we know you like doing things with keyboard shortcuts. Or just access the overflow menu with the mouse. Be that way.

This blog post approved by Barkley J Bonestein.

B 6