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Offline rick.ca

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Help Index
« on: February 13, 2009, 11:16:19 pm »
Please note a Help board has recently been added. Anything of value here will soon be incorporated into the Help documentation, and this topic will be deleted.

This is the recommended method for seeking help...

  • Review the Help Table of Contents for the topic you need help with. It includes fairly specific sub-topics, so there's a reasonable chance you'll spot one applicable to your question.

  • If you don't find anything that way, or the applicable topic has not yet been written, use the Search box on the Help board. It will show any hits in the Help documentation—possibly revealing something not apparent from the TOC. You can modify the search from the results page, review any page hit, and return to the results page.

  • If your question is not yet addressed in the help documentation, you haven't wasted your time. Modify your search by changing "This board" (i.e., Help) to "Entire Forum." The results will then include all posts with your search terms, including anything here.

  • Finally, remember that when you need help, it's often difficult to know what to search for. Don't hesitate to ask. And you don't have to ask here. You may post a comment or question to any help topic, just as you may post here. So if you don't find an answer in a topic you think should have it, please add a "comment" to that topic. Then we can answer your question, and revise the help topic at the same time! 8)




Opening Credits

This "Help Index" is a categorized list of links to helpful topics. Please post your suggestions for additions to this list. Provide a title and a topic or message link, and perhaps a comment that will help me categorize it. Please do not post requests for help here—start your own topic (after reading Read this first, of course).

If you don't see what you're looking for, use the forum's powerful Search feature (discussed ~here). :(

Most of the links on this page (marked with a "~") are to messages that have been lost. I have attempted to recreate them from my personal records. Unfortunately, those include only my posts and whatever I may have quoted from others. I'll mark those with a "*" and change the link to a post below. I have struck-out those for which I have nothing. :(

Getting Started

*Where do I begin? – This is a long discussion, but worth a read if you're just starting out.

Importing from Excel – Get started quickly by importing anything from anywhere!
An edited version of this topic is posted below.

*Importing from other software via Excel.

~Running PVD in Vista with UACRead this if you're having problems.

How to...

Download from IMDb
*Configuring the plugin
*Handling movie titles
*Using Silent mode
*When the wrong movie is downloaded (or ~here)
~Using custom instead of standard fields :(
*Adding a single season to a series
*Updating series information
Batch plugins

Filter
*Disappearing movies
*Use to select movies for export

Search
*Search box behavior
~Advanced search operators :(
~Advanced search tips :(
*Advanced search vs. Statistics

Print
– described *here and ~here

Export
*Selecting a template (or ~here)
*Various questions including, "Is there any way to export posters in original title names?"

Cool Features

*Web search – If you can't download it, Web search it!

New Features in 0.9.9 – Maybe your issue has been addressed in the new version.

Related Software

Kroozbox – PVD to media theatre solution

PK's MovieDB – Dynamic website template

~Video editing/conversion utilities :(
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 05:35:34 am by rick.ca »

Offline rick.ca

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Reserved
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2009, 11:17:31 pm »
This message intentionally left blank. ;)

Offline rick.ca

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Re: Help Index
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2009, 11:20:38 pm »
Excellent post rick.ca
This should be one of the pages in an online wiki or manual
In suppose the easiest way to start one is if you started an help index thread, maintained the first "Contents" page (with helpful suggestions from other forum users) then stuck it to the top of the support forum.

Thanks for the suggestion, patch. Now what? ;)

Offline rick.ca

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Help Index Nominations
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2009, 06:31:54 am »
If you see or receive a message you think would make a good addition to the Help Index, please "nominate" it. Do that by replying to the message and using the key phrase "help index" (e.g., "Thanks for the great explanation—it belongs in the help index!"). I'll periodically update the index based on a search for "help index."

And if the brilliant advice is to be found only in your head, please post a message—and nominate yourself! 8)

Offline patch

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Re: Help Index Nominations
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 02:15:38 pm »
You have excelled again rick.ca
I'm sure the index will help novices (and forgetful veterans) more rapidly solve their problems & ultimately get more out of PVD. I like the idea of users tagging threads deserving of addition to the index. That should ensure it continues to grow and evolve with PVD.

Offline rick.ca

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Re: Help Index
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 08:09:37 pm »
Quote
That should ensure it continues to grow and evolve with PVD.

I hope it also encourages users to participate in the forum. Preparing this demonstrated finding the best answer to a topical question is not always easy to do. Much of what I have included is still far from what one would expect to find in a wiki or manual. But that's just the nature of the thing. Those of us who participate regularly obviously enjoy tinkering with the software, sharing ideas and helping others with problems. Hopefully, this will encourage others to participate by reducing frustration and the feeling being forced to ask "stupid" questions due to a lack of instruction. Maybe we'll have a wiki, manual or help file some day. But I hope this will always be a community where anyone can jump in and ask, "How do I do this?"

Offline rick.ca

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Re: Help Index
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2009, 10:27:56 pm »
Quote
Maybe we'll have a wiki, manual or help file some day.

PVD Wiki is now online!

Offline rick.ca

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Where do I begin?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2010, 06:51:48 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Where do i begin??? Help File??? in May 2008...

Quote
The only difference between New Movie Master and Movies...

Or another way of putting this: New just creates a new movie record—you then have to add the information "manually." New Movie Master is like a script that creates a new record, then "automatically" runs all the various data gathering routines for the movie you specify. You can change any of the information obtained, or import from any of the information sources "manually" to get more control over what is downloaded.

Quote
So at this point i think here's another thing for your todo list!

I think what you want (because I had hoped nostra would have done it this way myself) is "field mapping" whereby you can match each column in your worksheet (whether it has a name or not) to a field in the database (or not, in which case the column is ignored). It's not as convenient as it is, but it does work. You have to be more focused on what you're importing and where it's going, which is perhaps a good thing.

Quote
But is there a way of importing films from IMDB by using for example a keyword?

Not directly, but you can using Excel as an intermediate step. For example, if I wanted to add all IMDb movies made in Jamaica, I would do the search...

http://www.imdb.com/List?tv=off&&countries=Jamaica&&nav=/Sections/Countries/Jamaica/include-titles

...and cut and paste the resulting list into Excel. In Excel, I would parse the text into "title" and "year" columns (this requires some comfort with Excel's string manipulation formula). The resulting file would then be imported to PVD, as I've previously described.

This is more work, but is a technique worth mastering. With it, you can gather information from any source that will produce a list or table of what you want. And you're not there yet, but the Excel plugin is also very good at importing additional information for movies already in your database.

Quote
My excel database successfully imported but the Producer and Year info is the wrong way round, is there a way to correct this?

The field names and their order in the plugin configuration probably do not exactly match the columns in your Excel file. At this (early) stage, you should start a new PVD database and try the import again.

Before you do that, consider what I suggested before. Import just the movie title and year. Use PVD to download all the information you want from IMDb. Then do another import from Excel to import only the additional information you want to include in your database. This way, you can more carefully consider whether you want to overwrite an IMDb-populated field with your own data, or put it in a custom field.

Quote
not sure if excel has a search function but if there is one i don't know how to use it

Soon you are not going to need Excel, but... Select the first row of your Excel worksheet (i.e., the headings/field names) and from the menu select Data-Filter-AutoFilter. That will create drop-down lists for filtering each field. You may find that useful until you are satisfied all your data has been properly imported into PVD. Otherwise, you're going to find searching in PVD much more convenient and powerful.

Quote
Is there a way i can scan my whole films list to get imdb info added to what i've already got?

This is one of the fundamental features of the program (and others like it). In effect, it allows you to maintain a database of IMDb information for a subset of movies that you are interested in—all of the information is downloaded from IMDb. From there, using other plugins, you might add information IMDb lacks, or replace specific IMDb information with that of a preferred source. To that, you add any "personal" information you want—date viewed, rating, comments, etc.

This is why I suggest you start with just the IMDb information for all your movies. I understand you may be very "attached" to the information you already have. But if that is the case, you should study carefully the information you can get and maintain automatically from IMDb. For each field decide whether to replace that with what you've already got (and no longer download it) or to import the information you already have to a custom field (and maintain it independent of the IMDb information). As you seem to appreciate, you need to be careful about which fields to leave alone, which to update and which to overwrite.

Note that you do not have to import all of your existing data at once. And once you're familiar with PVD, you might want to use the import feature to modify or update your database. For example, you might decide information in two or more columns of your Excel worksheet might best be combined and imported back into one memo field of your PVD database.

I know all this hurts the brain when you're just getting started, but the results are well worth while. You have found the right software. PVD is the only one out there that allows you configure your database exactly the way you want it.

Quote
how does the import function recognize where to put each piece of info...?

Each time you use the import plugin, include the movie title and year so the correct record in PVD can be identified. It won't matter what other records are in the database at the time, or what order they are in. If you change any titles in PVD, you might have to take care to make the same changes in your Excel file so any future imports will work correctly. I suppose it would be a good idea to refrain from changing titles in PVD until you have finished all your importing.

PVD is built on a robust relational database. Generally, you can be assured it will do whatever is necessary in the circumstances to identify the correct record and fields to be added or changed. The downside is, if anything does go wrong, you have to accept it is probably your fault.  Make sure to keep backup of your Excel file, make backups of your PVD database (File-Backup) each step of the way, and you'll be fine.

I'm going to spend some time messing with it all

That's the best way to learn how to use it. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to start with a database of just a few movies. This is what I do when I'm beta testing. You can quickly make a backup, try something out, and see at a glance it's doing what you expect it to do. If not, restore the backup and try again. You will find you progress much faster than if your database had 1,600 movies in it. Even if you've already created your 1,600-movie database, you can still use a small "test" database to try out things that you're unsure of or would take a long time to complete on the full database.

Quote
[Question about the Field Overwrite settings]

It's a little confusing because the appearance depends on the user's Windows settings. Hopefully, this makes sense:

-If a field is unchecked (Grey/blank Box) it will not accept data at all
-If a field is checked greyed (Green Box) it will accept data only of it is clear (i.e., the field is empty/unused)
-If a field is checked/black (Green Tick) it will always be overwritten

If you are starting out with just titles and years, you probably want Green Ticks for everything except Title, which should be blank so the download doesn't change any of your titles. (Remember, you want to be sure they stay the same as in your Excel database.)

Quote
i just noticed a bug...

This has be discussed in the past, but I can't remember how it was resolved. You may very well be right, but a more sensible approach might be to run the update in silent mode, and then update the ones that "failed" manually—one-at-a-time. If a movie is not in the IMDb, there is, of course, nothing you can do. But usually the problem is the name is different, and doing it "manually" allows you to change the name to something so the correct movie does appear as a "candidate." Some users may prefer this behaviour—so it does stop, giving them the opportunity to do this.

Continued in new topic, Importing from Excel.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 08:59:51 pm by rick.ca »

Offline rick.ca

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Handling movie titles
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2010, 07:13:04 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Sequels in August 2008...

To summarize—about handling movie titles in general:

• Use the Title as your "key" field—to uniquely identify each movie and to serve as the default sort key. (The program does not restrict it's use in this way—it will allow duplicates, and it will allow plugins to overwrite it.)

• As a "key" field, the Title should be under your control (you are the database administrator!) Do not allow any plugins to overwrite it.

• To make your job easier, set your Title format preferences to remove prefixes, or put them at the end of the title.

• When adding a movie, don't worry about what you want the title to be. If necessary, use whatever helps the the download plugin find the right movie. After the download is complete, change the Title to whatever you want (so, for example, it sorts correctly).

• If you have made the Title different than the original title, the program will automatically save the original title in the Original Title field.

• I don't think the program considers an identical title a duplicate if the year is different. In the case of remakes, I go against my own advice and use the same name as the original, and allow the year to distinguish the two (by showing titles in the list as "Title (Year)").
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 09:00:30 pm by rick.ca »

Offline rick.ca

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Using "Silent Mode"
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2010, 07:25:25 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic IMDb Plugin - Silent Mode Fails to find results in July 2008...

If you restart the program, and select a different batch of movies for updating, is the behaviour the same?

Have you checked your preferences carefully to see if your settings may be causing the problem? In particular, is the overwrite setting for the fields you expect to be updated set to "on" (i.e., a green check-mark)? Have you left the ID and password fields blank in the IMDb configure dialog?

I see nothing wrong with the way you're using the program. I wonder if the behaviour is normal, and the "problem" is with the data. If the plugin can't uniquely identify a movie, it will stop and ask you to pick from a list. In silent mode, it will skip the movie and go on to the next. Did you perhaps run a mass update before, and are now left with just the titles that can't be uniquely identified? Does your original data include the year? The chances of matching are greatly increased if the year is included.

Select a few of the problem movies and add the year (get it from IMDb if you're not sure). Try a silent mode update again. If that doesn't work, turn silent mode off and update. Are you presented with a list of movies to select from, or does it just skip the movie? If that doesn't work, find the movie on IMDb, enter the URL to the URL field, and try the silent mode update again. If that doesn't work, we'll at least know the problem lies with the program or your configuration.

[later...]

I imported your Movies.Import.File.csv into a new database. It contained 153 unique movie titles (there were a number of duplicates), without years. In silent mode, 58 updated and 95 were skipped. I tried updating those 95 again; a few were updated on the second attempt, but most were skipped. The plugin got "stuck" a few times, and had to be stopped and restarted (the ones it got stuck on updated or were skipped when it was restarted). I added years to a small sample, and then about half those updated. As expected, it updated without fail when the URL was provided. With silent mode off, I was presented with a list of movies to choose from for each movie. For 8 or 9 of the 10 or so I updated this way, the first title in the list seemed to be the correct choice.

So this is what I recommend for this situation: Run the update in Silent Mode. Select those that do not update (e.g., do an Advanced Search for "Year IS NULL"). Turn off Silent Mode, and run the update again. You will have to select the correct title for each movie, but this is not as bad as it sounds. I updated 10 in a little less than two minutes, so I could have done all 95 in about 20 minutes.

[sidebar]

Nostra, there do seem to be some issues with the plugin running in Silent Mode. I don't think they're critical—but perhaps you can consider them next time you update the plugin:

• A small portion (I guess less than 10%) of movies that are skipped, will update on a second attempt. Why not the first?

• It may get "stuck" part way through a batch; there is no apparent significance to the movie it gets stuck on.

• Most of the titles skipped just need confirmation of the most likely match (i.e., the one that appears at the top of the selection list). It would be nice to have the options of (1) this one being selected automatically (i.e., so it would not be skipped in Silent Mode), and/or (2) only if the year also matched. This would result in some mismatches, but I think at a rate low enough most users wouldn't mind. I suppose it would be a good idea to flag these movies in some way, so the user would be aware the match may be incorrect.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 09:01:27 pm by rick.ca »

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When the wrong movie is downloaded
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2010, 07:35:40 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic IMDB downloaded wrong movie in October 2008...

You've discovered the surest way to resolve problem, but there is another way that is more convenient—if it works: Clear the erroneous information. Add something like "xx" to the title, and invoke the plugin again. It should then present a list to choose from—the "xx" preventing it from thinking it found an exact match.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 09:01:52 pm by rick.ca »

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Re: Help Index
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2010, 07:57:06 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Adding a single season in August 2008...

Downloading all the information available for a series is the only reasonable thing for the program to do. You can use a filter to hide the seasons/episodes you don't own, if that's your preference. Or you can delete them. Given the series-season-episode tree structure used—a feature, I believe, most users want—I don't see any way to sort by season. The ability to add information at the season level has been requested. If that's implemented, and depending how it's implemented, you may get something close to what you want.

I suppose what you're really looking for is the ability to control the series-season relationship. For example, turn it off to "untie" seasons from their series—so they can be sorted by year. I think that would be a nice feature, but not worthwhile unless it were easy to implement. There is already something like this, on a very basic level. See the screen shot. Perhaps this is not very practical, but it demonstrates the flexibility of the program:

•   download the series
•   rename as one season, change year, delete other seasons
•   repeat for next season
•   in Preferences-Movies, set Do not create season group...

The screen shot doesn't show other series, so I should clarify... The single season series of Lost I created are "promoted" to the level of series. They sort correctly by year. All the preference option does is hide the unnecessary season branch.

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 09:02:42 pm by rick.ca »

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Updating series information
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2010, 08:19:23 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Series information not imported anymore in September 2008...
 
Quote
If this is changed on imdb after the episode is aired i found no way to update the information in PVD by importing from imdb.

I thought this was the case too, until I realized it was because I had the Title overwrite flag set "off." The title placeholders are those used by IMDb. If the placeholder has been replaced with the actual title, updating the episode will update the title—as long as the overwrite flag is set "on." If I update the series, however, a duplicate episode record is created, rather than the placeholder being updated. Also, no other information (for the placeholder episode or the duplicate) is downloaded. So it seems the way to update the information correctly is to select the episodes in need of updating, and run the plugin.

I've long been frustrated by my need to configure the IMDb plugin differently for movies and series. The setting of the Title overwrite flag is one example of why I need different configurations. When I have used an English title for a foreign movie, I don't want the plugin to overwrite it (IMDb titles are generally the original titles). For series, however, it seems I need it set so new episode titles can be updated. There are a number of other things I set differently—as a matter of personal preference.

I've just "discovered" a workaround for this. I made a copy of imdb.dll, named it imdb_tv.dll, and reloaded PVD. Now I have two IMDb plugins—one set for movies, the other for series. Unfortunately, this only works for the overwrite settings; the other configuration settings are saved in imdbconf.cfg, so changing one changes both. Also, the description (the caption that appears in the menu) is the same, so the two are difficult to distinguish. Perhaps nostra will be so kind as to compile a version of the plugin that has a different name and description, and saves it's settings in a different file. Or maybe there's a more elegant way to facilitate multiple configurations that's easy to implement.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 09:03:02 pm by rick.ca »

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Importing from other software via Excel
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2010, 08:57:24 pm »
Originally posted to lost topics Movie Collector database to PVD and Mass (bulk) additions of titles to the library in September 2008...

I was able to import both files without any difficulties. So I have no idea what might be causing the error, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with your data or the format it's in. Maybe nostra will have some ideas.

Aside from that, I can offer a few suggestions based on your detailed data:

1. If you're exporting your data from Movie Collector, include the year, if you can. It will help PVD to correctly identify the IMDb entry.

2. PVD handles actors and roles as separate data, so your "actor as role" data is imported as an actor's name. I suggest you just leave this out, and let PVD download the correct information from IMDb.

3. I suggest you change your "Yes"/"No" Collection Status data to 1/0 or TRUE/FALSE and import it to a custom check-mark field.

4. You need to convert your "#.# star(s)" data to a 0 - 10 numeric field.

5. You can do things like 3 and 4 in a text editor, but it's much easier in Excel. Once your data is in Excel, you may as well use the Excel import plugin. It's functionally identical to the CSV plugin.



As we've already established, the import configuration must include the PVD fields in exactly the same order as they occur in the import file. It also includes three options which must be properly set:

Delimiter - mandatory - a character that indicates the end of a field; usually a comma or semi-colon (if a semi-colon is used, the file is still called a "Comma-Separated Value" file). When importing to PVD, it's a good idea to use a semi-colon as a delimiter so comma's occurring in the data (e.g., as normal punctuation in a memo field) are not interpreted as delimiters.

Text Qualifier - optional - a character used to enclose text; usually double quotes. Not necessary, but if present in the CSV file, specifying it here prevents the routine from including these characters in the data.

Ignore header - optional - set if the first line of the CSV file is a header, so it will not be imported as data. PVD does not use headers to map the import data to fields—this must be done "manually" using the field list.

Quote
I also added ; as a text qualifier in the csv import options, if that made any difference.

I'm sure it did make a difference, especially if it was also used as the delimiter. Setting it as the text qualifier caused it to be ignored. If it were not, each line would consist of three fields, with only the second containing data. According to the field list, only the first would be imported.

Putting a " at the beginning of each line and specifying as a text delimiter would cause the routine to take everything between the first two quotes as the first first (only) field, and then ignore everything until the next line after the second ". It hurts my brain to think about it, but it seems a good way to skip every other title.

I suspect the source of the confusion here is that despite the fact only one field is being imported, the data must include a delimiter, and that delimiter must be specified correctly in the configuration options.



Originally posted to Import from MC in November 2008...

If it's not already clear from what blue and patch have said, you need to plan what you want to do with your data before attempting an import. The first step is to determine what data can be exported from Movie Collector. Assuming the example file you have provided includes all fields that can be exported, the next step is to examine this and decide how to import it into PVD. You can do this however you like—I would import it into Excel and create something like the attached screen shot...

The "-" in the PVD field column means I would not import this field—I would rather use PVD to download this from IMDb (or elsewhere). "Custom" means I would create a custom field to accommodate the data. In some cases, this is just to avoid conflict with IMDb data. If you prefer, you might decide, for example, to put Plot in Description, and configure the IMDb plugin not to overwrite this. In other cases, as I've noted under Comments, the required field has been added to version 0.9.9, but a custom field will be required if you would like to have the data in 0.9.8.

With such a "field mapping" done, it's much easier to prepare the import file, add the required fields to PVD and configure the import plugin without errors or omissions. Also, once you have a complete and properly prepared import file, many of your decisions about where to put the data in PVD are not that critical—because you can use the same file to do another import to put a particular field's data elsewhere. Let's say, for example, you put Plot in a custom field, and later decided you would rather use it for the standard field Description. You would just delete the custom Plot field, delete all fields but Title, Year and Plot from the import file, and import again. BTW, the import plugin will use Title and Year to match an existing movie in your database, so you should take care not to change these data if you want to be able to do these subsequent imports.

Offline rick.ca

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Disappearing movies
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2010, 09:15:14 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Worrying discovery when saving my database in September 2008

Please do as nostra asks—update to the latest version. Just install "over" the existing. No data or settings will be lost. It's always "worthwhile" to update the program. Even if you don't think you need the fixes and new features, it becomes increasingly difficult for others to help if you are using a different version of the program. And, of course, we don't want to waste time isolating a bug that's already been fixed. I note from the Changelog "Issues with working directory" were fixed in 0.9.11, so it seems likely that's what we're doing here.

Quote
it's not convenient to have all the films i have listed (which i've spent years working on) along with my dvd list as my dvd list is something i like to pass out sometimes so i guess i still need 2 databases really.

My point is the program is designed to handle different "categories" or "types" of movies (i.e., just like your situation) in one database. It's easy to generate a list of any particular type. I think the only "good" reason to maintain separate databases is if movie types are so fundamentally different they require the program to be configured differently (e.g., they cannot share the same fields). I believe the ability to combine two databases will be included in version 0.9.9.

Quote
i didn't quite understand what u meant by using the comandline thing in PVD?

I think updating the program will solve your problem, but for future reference: Edit the shortcut used to start PVD to include "-debug" in the target (e.g., mine is "C:\Program Files\Personal Video Database\viddb.exe" -debug).

PVD is built on a true RDBMS—Firebird—that records all changes as they are made. There is no cache. All of your data is in the data file. It's pointless to attempt to "backup" the data by saving it in a different format (i.e., export to Excel). Your concerns about keeping your data safe need to be focused on an effective routine for the backup of the PVD data file. You may find this helpful: [another lost topic]  ::)

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I appreciate that PVD includes a backup routine (and, yes, the default directory should be configurable), but I prefer to rely on my own backup routines. As with most database applications, the data is changing all the time, the most likely error is user-created, and it's likely to go undetected for a time. So I'd rather rely on an automated backup routine that retains a sufficient number of backup versions (in case I don't immediately detect a problem). In the case of PVD, my backup scripts backup the PVD data file every night, and keep the seven previous versions. I use the PVD backup routine to make what are more in the nature of "archives." For example, I would make a backup immediately before converting to a new version—just in case I need to "start over" with that new version (often helpful during beta testing). If I want to make a backup before doing something risky, I usually just make a temporary copy of the file. This is faster than the backup routine (I imagine because that's compressing the data as it saves the file). Whether I'm using the PVD backup or not, the backup file that saves my a__ 90% of the time is my automated nightly backup.

Offline rick.ca

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Use filters to select movies for export
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2010, 09:22:15 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Selecting individual movies to export in July 2008...
 
It exports the movies displayed, not those selected. Use filters or search to display only those you wish to export.



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Search box behaviour
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2010, 09:49:15 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Search box behaviour in December 2008...

Currently, the basic Search feature works like this:

•   The default search is for "All."
•   The search box is the default location for keystrokes (i.e., they go here unless another input control is active).
•   Searching is done (after a short delay, I presume) "as-you-type."
•   For list fields, a drop-down list of terms is available, and the first match is displayed as-you-type.

This all seems very logical, but I just can't take it any more!  >:(

[Update: This has all been fixed, but this may help explain how and why Search works the way it does now.]

A search "All" is the most useless and normally the last choice one would make. In the rare case it might be helpful, it's not because the results don't indicate where the hits are. I'm losing precious minutes of my life waiting for the program to complete searches of the entire database for my every accidental keystroke.

With keystrokes going to the search box by default, and search-as-you-type in effect, the most useful search would be of Title/Name—what is displayed in the list panel. Or perhaps better, Title + Original title + AKA for movie view, and Name + Translated name + Alternative name for people view. Not only is this a better default for the search function, it facilitates the behaviour naturally expected of the list pane—to react to a keystroke. Usually, lists will jump to the first item starting with the letter of a keystroke. Search-as-you-type results would be a little different, but still logical and more powerful. I think most users would appreciate that—even if they weren't expecting it.

Search-as-you-type is very handy when the search results come as fast, or almost as fast, as one types. For longer searches, however, it's just an annoyance. I think it should be used for a Title/Name default search only. For any other search, the "interim" results—as shown in the movie/person list—are not so relevant or helpful. It would be faster to type the whole term and hit enter. For list fields, it would be more helpful for the drop-down box to open at the first matching term, rather than a search be started.

BTW, what's got me frothing-at-the-mouth about this was trying to do filmography searches. I found it impossible to type a movie title without a search starting on a partial term (or, worse, a typo). I would then have to wait while it searched the 108,192 movies in the database. On my machine, it's faster to kill and restart the program. The only practical way I could do such searches was to copy the title to the clipboard, and paste it into the search box. 

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Advanced Search vs. Statistics
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2010, 10:35:32 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Subtitles in statistics in September 2008...

Considering most DVD's have a number of different subtitles, I don't understand what sense one would make out of summary statistics. I think Search and Advance Search are more appropriate tools for getting this sort of information. For me, subtitles in English language movies are irrelevant—I'm not going to use them. On the other hand, with Advanced Search, I can easily filter my foreign language movies and check that I have English subtitles—or just see how many I have.

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Almost every decent DVD has plenty of languages which you can choose from, and there are automatically added to the statistics pie...

...which also produces a "statistics" of questionable use. My comment had nothing to do with my mother tongue being English. I was pointing out the search features of the program provide a more effective means of reporting such information.

[sidebar]

I suspect for most users the statistics feature makes a good first impression, then isn't used much. I think it's useful as an overview of the database. But with too many tabs, it becomes overwhelming for that purpose. Furthermore, having too many tabs suggests everything should be included, making it more difficult to maintain.

As an alternative means of providing statistical information, Advanced Search could be made more friendly by adding the ability to save searches. Saved searches could then be a means for generating whatever statistics one is interested in seeing on a regular basis.

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Printing
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2010, 10:45:53 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Print an alphabetical list of the movies in November 2008...

PVD does not yet have any "direct" print function. As you might imagine, there would be some complexity in determining exactly what should be printed. Maybe we'll see something in the next version.

The method that is available for producing reports is powerful and flexible, but not very user-friendly. You can produce any kind of report you like using the export feature (on the menu: Tools - Export - Export Movies or Persons using templates). The templates are managed by selecting Tools - Preferences - Plugins (left pane) - Plain text export (right pane) and clicking Configure. Here you will see a variety of sample templates that can be modified to suit your needs. When run, the export routine will create a plain text or HTML (i.e., web page) file that includes the movies or people currently displayed. This file can then be displayed and printed using your computer's native abilities for doing such things.

Needless to say, your computer ability is going to have to rise above a 1 before anything gets printed this way! But it's not as difficult as it sounds. The "Simple plain list" sample template is probably very close to what you want. I suggest you try doing an export with that template selected. You won't hurt anything by trying—it will just create a file. You can then view the file and decide whether you've got something worth killing a tree for. 

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Selecting a template
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2010, 10:53:09 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Export bug in October 2008...

In Preferences - Plugins - Plain text export - Configure, select the template you want to use and click the Use as default button. You can also check Select template on execute if you would rather select the template each time the plugin is run.

 

anything