Author Topic: Displaying and managing "offline files" in the library, using .asx files  (Read 11381 times)

Gary Young

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The issue: It should be possible to have library entries for tracks, which actually are not stored as physical files on the harddisk.

Possible solution: The user should ba able to create .asx files manually with MusicBee (MB can create and handle .asx files, but currently only within the duplicates manager).

http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=7770.0
In this thread I came up with an idea which I think might be useful for several usecases (I actually have three in mind right now). Here's the summary of that thread:

(1) You don't want to rip all tracks from a CD, but just a few tracks. Though you want to have all tracks appear as library entries - to indicate that you own the complete album. Those tracks which you didn't rip will appear as "offline files" in the library.

(2) When deleting files from the harddisk you can still keep the corresponding library entries. If you e.g. decide lateron to re-rip the files you don't have to re-assign all of the tags again.

(3) You can create a library entry for a track or an album which you actually don't have. A good way to manage kind of a wishlist.

The creation of .asx files currently is only possible via the duplicates manager, as far as I know. As mentioned in the thread there could be three situations to provide the creation of .asx files to the user:

(1) An option in the ripping dialog, to just create a library entry instead of really creating an audiofile.
(2) A dialog that asks, when deleting a file, if you want to keep an .asx file in the library.
(3) An option to create a new library entry (which means creating an .asx file and you can tag it afterwards).


Without doubt I understand the lack of time to fulfill every wish here in the list, so I leave it to the forum members now. If enough of them find it useful as well, maybe it's worth thinking about that feature for some future release...?

PS: The only workaround at the moment is to create a short MP3 file with silence which just acts as a container for the tags. So an alternative could be if MB would provide the creation of short silent MP3 files as "tag-container".

marmonto

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+1!!
Hi Gary. I think that is a good idea too.
I have to manage a lot of music files but in some cases I only need to know that I have the file. The idea of setting as an offline file is cool.
marmonto

Zak

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Marmonto, have a look at this thread for further discussion of "virtual" tracks:

http://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=7770
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redwing

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If it's possible, I'd like "Tag Backup" feature added to MB, something might work like:

     Select tracks> right click> Tag Backup> Designate saving folder> create asx files with all the tags including artwork of selected tracks.

     When something bad happens to your tags, you restore tags from those asx files through Control C & V with MB.


Why it's useful when MB already supports "Backup music files":

(1) Backing up music files requires much more resources compared with tag backup (storage spaces, CPU, time)
    
(2) Tags tend to be edited more often than music file itself (you don't have to re-backup your entire collection every time you edit some tags)
 
(3) Sometimes tags are more precious than music files (for those files in public domain)

Hence, if this feature is implemented, the user would backup their tags more frequently than their music collection as a more efficient safety measure.
Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 12:25:55 PM by redwing

Zak

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What do you get from backing up tags to ASX files that you wouldn't get with a "proper" backup implementation that uses the values already in the MB database? (apart from 1,000s of extra files?)
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redwing

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What do you get from backing up tags to ASX files that you wouldn't get with a "proper" backup implementation that uses the values already in the MB database? (apart from 1,000s of extra files?)

What do you mean? Are you saying that tags saved in ASX files automatically change whenever tags in original music file change?

Zak

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What do you get from backing up tags to ASX files that you wouldn't get with a "proper" backup implementation that uses the values already in the MB database? (apart from 1,000s of extra files?)

What do you mean? Are you saying that tags saved in ASX files automatically change whenever tags in original music file change?
No, although I'm very close to requesting that too  :P (if only for ratings).

I meant creating a new file for each backed up tag seems an unwieldy solution when the MusicBee database must surely hold all the same values already. Except I've just realised that if you accidentally screw your tags in MusicBee somehow, the database will be updated with the incorrect values. It's early and I haven't slept... brain levels at 45% and falling...

Regardless, backing up tag values to a single database file seems more "elegant". Not sure how you'd go about restoring them though. Do you select a bunch o' files and tell MusicBee to update them with the last known "good" values? If the filename is still correct it could be mostly automated, otherwise you'll have to specify exactly what each track is, as in "These are tracks 3, 4 and 8 from Sgt Pepper's by The Beatles / These fourteen tracks are Rubber Soul by The Beatles. MusicBee, please update them with the values you have stored for those tracks in your tag backup database.".
Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 10:07:15 PM by Zak
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Steven

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you can already just backup the library cache that contains the tags - its an option in the backup dialog

redwing

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you can already just backup the library cache that contains the tags - its an option in the backup dialog

Yes, I can see that MB creates MusicBeeLibrary.mbl file.
But how do you restore damaged tags of a subset of files, not the entire library, from the file?


Edit: I don't know how to restore the tags of entire library, either. After something bad happens to my collection, how can the file help to restore  my library?
Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 10:05:55 PM by redwing

Gary Young

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Until now I luckily didn't need to restore my library from a backup, so I can't tell how it behaves. But just like redwing I'm interested now. I imagine it's like returning to kind of a restore-point. But that - I presume - applies to the WHOLE library and you'll get just back an older version of your library.

you can already just backup the library cache that contains the tags - its an option in the backup dialog
Yes, I noticed that checkbox "backup database and settings files only". If checking this, only tags, paths, statistics, settings etc. are saved, as I understand.

In case I mess up some tags:
Returning to a backup might work if I notice a mistake right after making it. I can just return to the previous version of my library and everything's fine. But I wonder what happens when I notice the mistake two weeks later, but in the meantime I added new tracks to the library, deleted some tracks, did some heavy organising and so on.

When I now return to a an older version of the library (=database), what happens to all the changes I made in the meantime?
Are they lost and I'm right back at the state of two weeks before?
Or are the two library versions merged somehow?


PS: Besides, when an improved ASX-handling should be implemented someday, backing up files wouldn't really be an extra feature, instead it would be kind of naturally included. And the user can use it as he likes. Because you could just select a couple of files, create ASX-files of them and save them wherever you want. Like you right now can do with Zak's vb-script which I like very much.


e-motiv

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redwing notified me of this topic.
I happen to be writing a plugin for (part of?) the main request.  I have no time to read all the posts here, but the plugin is still in alpha.

Here is the development topic.
Don't use but for helping development only!

When beta, I will make a topic with other possible messages.
  Developing @ e-motiv.net       --       Musicbee plugins: Speak Back - Ghost Tracks - Radio Dig

e-motiv

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I kinda released it specially for people on this and similar topics.
  Developing @ e-motiv.net       --       Musicbee plugins: Speak Back - Ghost Tracks - Radio Dig