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ATPM 11.01
January 2005



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Review: Delicious Library 1.0.6

by Lee Bennett,


Developer: Delicious Monster

Price: $40

Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.

Trial: Feature-limited (25-item limit)

Admittedly, ATPM is a little late with a review of Delicious Library. Everyone and their mothers seem to have already reviewed it and everyone largely feels it’s the greatest thing since popcorn was first sold at movies.

So, I finally got my hands on the application to give it a try and I, like everyone else, was immediately stunned by the “wow” factor. Yes, “eye candy—and lots of it” was at the forefront of my initial opinion. However, eye candy usually refers to interface elements that are pretty but not necessarily functional. With Delicious Library, the bookshelf metaphor (the most blatant eye candy) really works. It’s exactly how I wish I could store my DVDs in real life. Since I don’t have a living room the size of a Blockbuster Video store, a digital version is the best alternative.

Yet, as I prepared to start writing about it, I could truly come up with no description of its outstanding features that hasn’t already been said. Beautiful display of media cover art—check. iTunes playlist-like interface for various collections—check. Full-featured interface for managing who borrowed what from you—check. Information-packed details downloaded from Amazon, Internet Movie Database, etc.—check. Quick link to purchase items not already in your collection—check. Greyed-out icons for search hits that are already in your collection—check. And, of course, that awesome scan feature that turns your iSight into a bar code scanner—check!

Other reviews have even touched on the more subtle eye candy, such as the texture that is placed on top of DVD cover art to simulate that unmistakable slightly warped plastic that is so much a part of a physical case.


The plastic-like texture is more easily visible on darker DVD cover art.

How about the little plastic tabs that CD cover art slips behind?


Looks just like a real CD jewel case.

There’s also the ever-so-slight noise motion of the red bar code sensors in the iSight preview window. A plain, one-pixel-thick bright red line would have easily made a great metaphor for the laser light, but the developers took it one step further by giving it that real-life touch.


See the little dimples in the scan lines? Those are actually in perpetual random fluctuation.

Speaking of the bar code reader—easily Delicious Library’s single most cool feature—there’s something I want to stress. I currently own 71 items on DVD (it suits me that things like the 10-disc Ultimate Matrix Collection is counted as just one item). Not a huge collection, I know, but it’s enough for now.

I spent the better part of a weekend a couple months ago with the original DVD library application I have been using (more on it later) inputting all my movies. Yes, it is able to download data from Amazon and IMDb, but it’s not as handy as a bar code reader. What took me many hours to do in this application only required an hour and a half in Delicious Library, and that time would have been less if I had really set my mind to doing it quickly.

The View From Here

But I digress. What I want to accomplish here is to point out three small issues that other reviews seemed to have overlooked. But do not think that I’m pooh-poohing Delicious Library. You’ll note that I gave it a Very Nice rating, and don’t forget that this is still a version 1.x release. No doubt the developers are going to take Delicious Library’s features to even more amazing levels. I’m confident version 2.0 is going to kick proverbial butt!

What I want to share is not so much nit-picks at this early version as things to keep in mind as you decide whether Delicious Library is for you.

For example, a neat feature of the thumbnail view of a collection is that each shelf has a label that reads, “AAA to BBB” where AAA and BBB are the first words of the leftmost and rightmost titles, respectively, which are sitting on that shelf. Its problem is that it changes size along with the size of the thumbnails, and the text is unreadable at the smaller settings. By the time I increased the thumbnail size enough to make the label text readable, there were only a couple items on the shelf (I don’t have a really wide monitor) and I no longer needed the label to see, at a glance, what the first and last items were.


Above: Delicious Library’s full window with thumbnails at the smallest setting. Below: An actual-size view of the illegible labels at the smallest thumbnail settings.


Second, the information pane is splendid, making room for extremely detailed facts about each title—especially if the information is pulled down from Amazon. Delicious Library makes a bad assumption, however, in the My Info section. Granted, some people may scan in their DVDs the same day they purchase them, but that can’t be assumed. When an item is scanned, the current date is automatically filled in as the date of purchase. Consequently, I ended up with 71 additions to my Delicious Library collection, all of them reporting that they were purchased on December 13, 2004. Fortunately, when you highlight multiple items in a collection (all of them, in my case) only the information fields that are identical for the selected items appear in the pane. Thus, I was able to delete the date from all 71 items at once. But I’d still like an option to disable this activity so I won’t have to remove the date from future additions. Or perhaps a better idea is to change “Date of Purchase” to “Date Added.”

Finally, a decent HTML export function is going to have to be incorporated for Delicious Library to be useful to people who want to place a functional listing of their collection on their Web site. Delicious Library itself doesn’t have an HTML export of any kind—yet. There’s only a text output. Someone else has, for the time being, stepped up to the plate with a third-party utility that creates a Web page from your Delicious Library collection.


Delicious Exporter output closely resembles the actual Delicious Library view.

While Delicious Exporter solves the problem, it’s far from perfect. Granted, it’s still in development—not even version 1.0 yet—but there’s virtually no customization. You can choose not to include thumbnails, but the resulting HTML is just filled with broken-image placeholders. You cannot opt to have no e-mail link. The “Send Me a Message” graphic is always added, and the text that is linked to e-mail always says “{your OS X user name}’s library.” If I can’t remove that, I’d at least like to make it say “Lee’s Library” or “Lee Bennett’s Library.” The width of the representation is fixed, too. It won’t get wider or narrower.

An Alternative

In short, if you don’t need flexible HTML output and $40 is not what you’d consider a “major purchase,” Delicious Library is very intuitive and very fun to use. If you’d rather try out something with a bit less overhead and a better HTML export, there are plenty of choices that can be found by searching either VersionTracker or MacUpdate. I believe I’ll stick with Fennel’s DVDManager. This utility does not have as many information fields as Delicious Library, but it has what I need. It’s able to pull down information for a title based on a keyword search and has a basic borrower-tracking function. It also happens to be free (donationware, to be exact). It will not suit you if you want to catalog music, books, and games, but if you only wish to deal with your DVD collection, this may be for you.

The one DVDManager feature that is holding me is one that could easily be incorporated into Delicious Library. That feature is the no-frills HTML export—probably 90% of the reason I wish to catalog my DVDs on the computer. DVDManager’s output isn’t quite XHTML compliant (some people care about this), but a few mass search and replace queries can take care of that.

Using DVDManager, my personal DVD collection now has its own page within my weblog. If this style of export ever becomes an option in Delicious Library, no doubt it would immediately become my media collection manager of choice.

Reader Comments (8)

Craig Parks · January 1, 2005 - 10:49 EST #1
Hi Lee,
I've been using DVDAttache 2.3.5 for tracking our DVD collection and find it very easy and useful. It too is freeware. I love the look of Delicious Library but I don't think I'd be willing to pay $40 for it.
aka: Grateful11

BTW: You have excellent taste in movies.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 1, 2005 - 11:24 EST #2
Thanks, Craig. Wow, I really like what I see in the screenshots of DVDAttache. I'm going to check it out—especially its HTML export feature. I'll be back here with an update on how I like it.

:-) And I'm glad someone likes my collection. I fretted about revealing to countless ATPM readers what's sitting on my shelf. Early on, I intended to only collect DVDs of entirely CG animated movies. Obviously, that restriction has expanded significantly!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 1, 2005 - 11:53 EST #3
Well, that was pretty quick. I can see that DVDAttache is a fantastic alternative for many people. I truly liked its approach, but I believe I'm still going to stick with DVDManager.

DVDAttache's interface is slightly clunky because it's done in Java. To clarify, the actual layout is very nice. It's just certain behaviors (open/save dialog boxes, for example) that just don't feel right. This isn't the developer's fault—it's something that's just inherent in Java apps. I'm completely in favor of Java-developed apps because they can be ported to any platform that supports Java, but I prefer to only use Java apps when there's not a good OS X-native alternative.

I also really like DVDAttache's approach for HTML output, but it doesn't meet my wish of an at-a-glance listing that DVDManager gives me. If I ever want a full-page interface with all details for each DVD, this looks like it would be a good choice. So far, though, DVDManager's HTML output is the only one I've seen that I can relatively easily integrate into my blog design.
Fennel Software · January 2, 2005 - 05:48 EST #4
Hi Lee!

And thanks a lot for this great mention of our product in your "Delicious Library" review! We're also glad you're staying with us regarding your last comment ;) !

Also, don't hesitate to contact us for suggestions and remarks; it's cool to read and learn from this review, or your blog, but it would have been just awesome to know and deliver what you were waiting from us :( !
Note: Regarding your XHTML comment, you're plain right; we're working on some update on this front, but we've previously chosen to offer a widely-used format instead (HTML 4.01 Transitional). But we may have made a mistake.

So, if you're still appreciating our HTML export, you'd be glad to know we're working hard on a new+cool feature for our forthcoming v1.5 ;) ! Be prepared to love it, and to publish something new on your blog :) !!!
Note: We'll try to let the cat go out rather soon; so your waiting won't be long.

Bye, Lee. And thanks again for spreading the word about our dedication to simple, yet efficient lovely apps for Mac OS X in such a gentle way!

—Fennel Software (
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 2, 2005 - 11:31 EST #5
The XHTML compliancy is not a huge deal. I think offering valid HTML 4.01 transitional is perfectly adequate. Anyone who cares about XHTML compliancy should know how to revise the code to do so. I did it in less than five minutes. It basically comprised of opening the code in my HTML text editor, restyling to lower case all the tags, adding a / character at the end of IMG tags (which was easy only because of your common alt="Preview" in every IMG tag), and a few other tweaks I only had to do the first time because now that it's set up, I only copy out the sets of TR rows instead of the entire table.

By the way, after I wrote this review, I discovered three other items you can consider for version 1.5. I realized that entries I put in manually have no way to link the title (and thumbnail) to another page. Amazon- and IMDb-acquired entries are automatically linked. Since I know the non-Amazon and IMDb sites where some of my other titles came from, I'd like to maintain hyperlinks for them. Currently, I have to manually add them to the exported HTML each time I update my list.

Second, instead of linking the thumbnail to the URL, it would be nice to have the full-size image available, accessible by clicking the thumbnail. This of course means the full size version would have to be saved in the database instead of the small version that's in there now.

Finally, a way to override some of the alphabetical sorting (at least for the HTML export, if not the master list) would be really cool. This is something else I can currently do manually when I update my online list. In my case, the two examples are listing the LOTR trilogy and the 10 Star Trek movies in their released order.
Hervé Sainct · January 5, 2005 - 08:48 EST #6
Aside what was said above on DVDManager and DVDAttache, it's worth mentioning both of them successfully connect to a range of DVD info servers, and in my tests successfully found almost 90% of the DVD I tried.

DL, while annoncing this in the future (among many other features), entirely depends on the single Amazon US service and won't find any non-US DVD. Just unusable for an european.

I'm presently hesitating between DVDManager and the (more complete but more complex) DVDTheque

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 5, 2005 - 09:32 EST #7
Hervé - yes it'll be better when Delicious Library supports more than just US Amazon. I've been meaning to take a peek at DVDTheque's format for exporting HTML. At US$31, however, I'm not certain I need the amount of data stored that DVDTheque is able to store. As I said in the article, nearly the only reason I wanted to track my DVDs on the computer is to be able to make a simple list/table to put on my site. So far, DVDManger is the only app that outputs HTML that I like.

DVDAttache's output is very nice. I truly like it. But I don't want dead-end pages with the sole purpose of navigating my library—just a simple list such as I have now on my site. I wish DVDTheque had samples of what its HTML output looked like. But then, I must be very atypical because most any software that I'm researching whether or not to buy usually has screenshots available, but never shots of the features that would make or break my decision.

Perhaps I should start a business of recommending screen shots for new apps!
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · January 10, 2005 - 02:24 EST #8
By way of update, version 1.1 has been released. The notes state that the illegible shelf label bug when using smaller thumbnail sizes has been fixed.

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