GJB and TypeScript

We had a pretty major release of The Global Jukebox back in October. Since then we’ve been busy planning new features, and taking some time to up the architecture. One thing we did was to combine the different views and pages into a single-page application. The the two main views are the Map and Wheel. To switch between the two required a full page reload, but now it happens within the page so you can continue in your song, playlist or journey. Very nice.

The next thing is we converted the site to Typescript. We’ve been getting into Typescript in my day job. I must say it’s a big improvement over Javascript, and it feels like coming home to a real programming language. I’ve been getting into alot of functional programming in JS the last year two, and for the first time I really feel like Javascript is becoming a really cool language. I also made a whole new build and deploy pipeline in Node and Gulp. This has been on our todo list for a long time. It’s nice to be making everything more solid.

It’s funny, things have been following a similar trajectory with my day job. It was extremely chaotic in the time approaching our last major release at the end of the summer. Since then the focus has shifted towards getting things done in a more mature and organized way. We started migrating to Typescript in the fall, and we’ve finally moved to GIT as well, and the company is getting a bit more disciplined about sprint planning. This is all stuff I’ve been advocating for for a long time. So things are improving, although I’m still being told more often than I’d like that we don’t have the time to fix things properly. Ah well.

The Global Jukebox Is Live!

Last week while I was away the Global Jukebox was finally debut. Come check it out at:


I’ve been working on this project for over a year as lead developer, designer and architect, working with Anna Lomax Wood and her research associates Karan and Kathleen, as well as other scholars, statisticians and developers, even bring in Martin the last few months. It’s been alot of fun and very cool piece of work.

For those of you who don’t know, the Global Jukebox is an interactive showcase for a comprehensive library of world folk music and cultural data assembled by music scholar and anthropologist Alan Lomax. Beginning in Texas and Mississippi the 1930’s, Alan went all around the world, from the Caribbean to all over Africa and Europe, the far East, and even Buffalo, NY, building up a comprehensive library of folk music from all different cultures. He then created a scientific framework, called Cantometrics, to compare the characteristics of the music and the relationship between the music and the culture. The results are very revealing about who we are as a species and why humans make music.

The Global Jukebox was the Alan Lomax’s lifelong vision and the culmination of his life’s work and scholarship. He began working on it 1960’s using punch cards, and I first became aware of it in the 1990’s while writing interactive music software at Interval Research. Now, many years later the computer technology finally exists to present it to the world and in interactive resource for educators, researchers and lay people who care about music.

We’ve been getting lots of press, beginning with the New York Times. Looks like we’re over 700,000 page views now. See the links below.

















Global Jukebox Update

The Global Jukebox project is far enough along that I can share some screen grabs. The basic features are in place and I’ve completed a pretty comprehensive first pass at applying styles to everything. Behind the scenes the song play tracking is largely in place, which is a prereq for go-live. There’s still some UI details to attend to, as well as some ongoing refactoring, but now the focus is transitioning to building out the next round of features, including Choreomterics and Journeys. You can learn more here: