# Where parallels cross

Interesting bits of life

If you are a YouTube user and you keep lists of links you want to watch, this is for you: I will show how to integrate VLC and Emacs!

## The problem

I like VLC and I like to listen music from YouTube. Until lately I would open a tab, search a song I like, and let YouTube auto-play run playlist for me. Well, that is good to discover new music but not really to organize my own playlists. I deliberately lack a YouTube account, so I worked that around by creating org-roam notes with the music I like. Now I can see my potential playlists when I use org-roam, but what about playing them? (Also how annoying are YouTube popups?!?)

## It is a problem indeed

Probably this is not really a problem, but maybe rather an obstacle between me and my chill time :)

And, well at least two people have spent some time in integrating VLC and Emacs, so I guess at least someone likes to open media files in VLC via their editor. The missing bit is that both those modes seem to ignore HTTP links! In this Internet world it is a bit of a pity: let's fix that :)

## And there is a solution

First things first: you need to get VLC interpret YouTube links! That is easy:

see https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?t=152202 for more details.

2. enable playlists:

copy https://gist.github.com/seraku24/db42e0e418b2252f2136d2d7f1656be5 into ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/playlist/youtubeplaylist.lua (if you are on Linux)

From the Emacs side of things, I started by trying out vlc.el and hoping it would open my YouTube links. Nope. But that is easy to fix, given you know how vlc.el sends a file to VLC:

(defun vlc-add (uri &optional noaudio novideo)
"Add URI to playlist and start playback.
NOAUDIO and NOVIDEO are optional options.
If NOAUDIO is non-nil, disable audio.
If NOVIDEO is non-nil, disable video.
When called interactively, with prefix arg, you can pick one."
(pcase current-prefix-arg
('nil (list nil nil))
(_ (pcase (completing-read "Option: " '("noaudio" "novideo") nil t)
("noaudio" (list t nil))
("novideo" (list nil t)))))))
(vlc--get "/requests/status.json" :command 'in_play
:input uri
:option (cond (noaudio "noaudio")
(novideo "novideo"))))


This vlc.el library is using the VLC HTTP API (you can see by looking at the last sexp of the function). This function accepts only files because it explicitly concatenates file:// to the filename it sends to VLC. That tells VLC that the URI must exist on the file system.

We can work around that easily:

(defun vlc-add-uri (uri &optional noaudio novideo)
"Add URI to playlist and start playback.
NOAUDIO and NOVIDEO are optional options.
If NOAUDIO is non-nil, disable audio.
If NOVIDEO is non-nil, disable video.
When called interactively, with prefix arg, you can pick one."
(if (s-starts-with-p "http" uri) uri
(concat "file://" (expand-file-name uri))))
(pcase current-prefix-arg
('nil (list nil nil))
(_ (pcase (completing-read "Option: " '("noaudio" "novideo") nil t)
("noaudio" (list t nil))
("novideo" (list nil t)))))))

(defun vlc-enqueue-uri (uri)
(if (s-starts-with-p "http" uri) uri
(concat "file://" (expand-file-name uri))))
))
(vlc-enqueue uri))


As you can see we just add an if statement to check if the string starts for http, and if not we assume that is a file. Naive, but that works okay. The rest is just a call to the original function. Same trick goes for queuing a URI to the current playlist.

Now that we can add and queue videos, I just wish commands to:

1. queue a link if my cursor is on it
2. queue a bunch of links that I have in my kill ring (there is a useful add-on in Firefox to store the links to your open tabs)

For the link at point we can rely on thing-at-point:

(defun vlc-enqueue-uri-at-point ()
(interactive)
(let ((uri (thing-at-point 'url)))
(when uri (vlc-enqueue uri))))


For the bunch of links things are not difficult either:

(defun vlc-uris-in-clipboard ()
(--> (with-temp-buffer
(clipboard-yank)
(buffer-substring-no-properties (point-min) (point-max)))
(s-split "\n" it)
(--filter (s-starts-with-p "http" it) it)))

(defun vlc-enqueue-uris (uris)
"Queue URIS to current VLC playlist."
(interactive)
(let ((uris (or uris (vlc-uris-in-clipboard))))
(-each uris 'vlc-enqueue-uri)))


So vlc-enqueue-uris queues a list of uris to your current VLC playlist. It defaults to queue the links in your clipboard. I did expect to use this only with YouTube, so be careful if you have other sort of links in your clipboard because it may not work.

And if you wonder if you can search YouTube from Emacs itself, you can! I shall blog about that soon.

## Conclusion

And that is it! All you need to do is to install vlc.el with something like this:

(use-package vlc)


Start a VLC instance with vlc-start, load my snippets to start playing your preferred YouTube videos with VLC from Emacs!

Happy playing!