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Help / 1041 Preferences - Part 1
« on: September 24, 2010, 03:31:11 am »

  On this page:
UI Controls

In Part 2:
Media Handling
Data Importing
Special Features


Following is a summary of the settings found at Tools>Preferences. They are grouped in functional categories, while the left-hand column indicates the location of each setting in the Preferences window.

  • Database—set according the nature of the database (see *Database Design); generally set when the database is first created, and not changed.
  • Appearance—change the appearance of the UI, and do not directly affect the operation of the program.
  • UI Controls—for user navigation of the UI.
  • Command—affect the operation of active commands that change or manipulate data.
  • Media Handling—the recording and management of media files in the database.
  • Data Importing—plugin configurations and other settings affecting the import of online data.
  • Special FeaturesLoans manager, Screenshot maker, Web search, and Twitter plugin.

Movies > Main   Show movies added from Filmography.
Results in all movies in filmographies appearing in the movie list. Intended for collections of people (and the movies they're associated with), rather than the more common collection of movies (with the people associated with them).

Cannot be undone easily.
Movies > Main   Automatically set IDs for new movies
Take first available number | Take maximum number + 1
Movies > Custom items

   Field name/type   Add | Rename | Change type | Delete
People > Main   Show people added from movie credits.
Must be set if people are to be shown in the people list and information about them recorded.

Cannot be undone easily.
Lists   Values for list fields (Genre, Category, Language, Country, Media type, Quality, Video codec, Audio codec, Translation, Location, and Tags) existing in the database may be changed here.
This is a powerful way to revise list terms in the entire database to restrict them to desired, consistent values.

   Add | Rename | Remove
Folders   Default folder for images: Posters, Photos, Screenshots, Covers, Thumbnails   Specified | N/A if images saved in database

Folders   Save screenshots and covers in separate folder for each movie   Boolean | N/A if images saved in database

Screenshots   Take screenshots automatically on video file assignment
Take one screenshot to use as poster

Plugins   General: ValueConverter   None
Plugins   Merge Filmography   Boolean
Plugins   Do not add people from awards if they are not listed in movies credits

Miscellaneous   Save images in database file
It's preferable to save images in the database, unless they regularly need to be accessed by other applications (e.g., imaging software).

Movies > Main   Filter episodes (Only single field filters)   Boolean
Movies > Main   Do not create season group if series has only one season   Boolean
Movies > Title formatting   Show movie in the list as   %T-Title | %O - Original title | %Y - Year | %N - ID | %R - Release
Movies > Title formatting   Capitalize first letters in all words   Boolean
Movies > Title formatting   Prefixes   Leave as they are | Put at the end of the title | Put at the beginning of the title | Remove from the title
Movies > Tree View   Nodes
Determines how the list is grouped when Tree view is selected. Supports nested grouping (e.g., Genre\Year or Director\Genre).

Movies > Visible items   Fields   Field multi-select list
Movies > Information card   Show credits as Name
Show credits as Translated name
Show credits as Role

Movies > Information card   Default seen state   Seen | Not seen
Movies > Information card   Show random poster   Boolean
Movies > Information card   Use minutes far duration field   Boolean
Movies > Information card   Use gigabytes far file size field   Boolean
People > Title formatting   Show people in the list as   %N - Name | %T - Translated name
People > Title formatting   Capitalize first letters in all words   Boolean
People > Tree View   Nodes   Fields
People > Visible items   Fields   Field multi-select list
People > Information card   Show random photo   Boolean
Appearance > Main   Color of list items by type   Color picker
Appearance > Main   List font   Select list
Appearance > Movie panel skin   Select Movie Panel skin   Select list
Appearance > People panel skin   Select People Panel skin   Select list
Dialogs   Interface Language   English | Russian | German | Dutch | Serbian | French | Italian | Chinese | Slovenian | Hungarian

UI Controls
Appearance > Toolbar/Hotkey   The following controls may be assigned to Toolbar buttons and hotkeys, but they do not appear in the menus. Many other commands are included in the Toolbar and Hotkey configuration dialogs, but are not listed here.

Default Hotkey:
   Next record
Previous record
Expand all fields
Collapse all fields
Ctrl+Num +
Ctrl+Num -

   Refresh skin   
Miscellaneous   Wait for Enter before filtering if records > 1000 or searching in all fields   Boolean
Miscellaneous   Use space for scrolling   Boolean
Miscellaneous   Do not jump to the next movie when scrolling movie information with SPACE   Boolean
Miscellaneous   Visible record link Click
Visible record link Ctrl+Click
Invisible record link Click
Invisible record link Ctrl+Click
   Nothing | Switch to record | Open in browser

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Help / 1031 Commands - Part 1
« on: September 19, 2010, 02:59:17 am »

 On this page:
File Menu

In Part 2:


Following is an overview of PVD's menu commands. Many are discussed more fully later in the context in which they are used, beginning with topics such as *Adding Movies.

 Throughout this documentation, commands will be referred to as Menu>Command or simply Command. Many may be placed on the toolbar and/or assigned to hotkeys at Preferences>Appearance. Since both toolbar buttons and hotkeys are user-configurable, they will not be used to identify commands in this help documentation.                    

File Menu

  • New, Open and Save as invoke the standard Windows file dialog for these operations. Most users will work with one database that is opened automatically on start-up, and will not use these file commands regularly.

  • Connect to server is discussed in Server Mode (instruction 4).

  • Users of a particular database may be defined, and assigned passwords and Permissions for read, write and configuration access. Password protect is for assigning a general password that will be required for anyone to open the database. This is not an encryption system and therefore insecure. You will be annoyed, however, if you forget your passwords. ;)

  • Backup will compress the database and save it with a .BAK extension. Use Restore to recover these files. These commands are provided for your convenience. Other forms of backup (even just making a copy of the database) are somewhat more reliable—because they don't depend on the program for these functions. Effective backup needs to protect the data from a malfunctioning program as well as other risks.


  • New Movie Master and New are alternative methods for *Adding movies. New Episode is a special case of New for attaching the new record to a particular season of a series. If used on an existing movie, it effectively turns that movie into a series. Or to put that another way, a series is a movie with episodes attached to it. ;) Note the separate command for Change episode/season number.

  • Delete is a somewhat different from what you might expect. Because the record may still be used elsewhere, it will not actually be deleted. Unnecessary information will be stripped from it, and it will be made invisible. To delete an item permanently, press Ctrl while selecting Delete or pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.

  • Duplicate makes an exact duplicate of an existing record—so that record may be used as a template for adding a new movie.

  • Edit puts the record in Edit Mode for editing fields in the Information Panel. Apply/Cancel changes accepts/discards whatever changes have been made.

  • When multiple items in the List are selected and then the Edit command is invoked, the Multiple Movie Editor ("MME") dialog appears:

    • Use the check boxes to select the fields to change. Fields not included in the dialog cannot be edited.
    • Enter the new values in the edit boxes. For list fields, existing values may be selected from the drop-down list.
    • When satisfied, click OK to process the changes. WARNING: All the selected records will be changed at once. There is no "undo" function.

     Loan, Seen, Wish and Set ID are separate commands which also work with multiple selected items. Use these commands, rather than the MME, to change Borrower, Seen/Date seen, Wish and ID.                    

  • Clear clears all fields except for Title and Year. Use this if you've downloaded information for the wrong movie and need to re-run the import plugin again to get the correct data. This will ensure no incorrect data is left in fields not overwritten by the download.

  • Loan/Return—see Loans Manager.

  • Clicking the Seen flag in the Information Panel sets the Seen date to today. Using the menu item allows any date to be set.

  • Using the menu item for Wish allows the setting of this flag for multiple movies.

  • Set ID assigns an ID number according to the setting at Preferences>Movies.

  • The Screenshot maker is a simple tool for creating screenshots from the video file and recording them with the movie record.

  • When in Edit Mode, Add video files may be used for adding media files to the File path field. This is the same as using the folder icon to the right of the field. The path can also be entered directly into the field (e.g., by pasting from the clipboard). To add files to multiple movies, use Tools>Scan files.

  • When media files are added, they are automatically read for file information. Use Re-read file information in situations where the file has been changed outside of PVD.

  • Organize files by episodes is a special purpose tool for adding episode files to a movie record that has not yet been converted to a series. Add all your episode files (they must somehow be numbered) to the File path, then run this command. It will create separate episode records and attach each file to its own record.

  • Open containing folder opens the folder containing the media file(s) in Windows Explorer.

  • If you have any time left over after working on your collection, you may Play a movie. This launches the movie in the player associated with the file type. That file association is set in Windows, and the player used is up to you. Multiple files are wrapped in a playlist file. Set the Playlist type at Preferences>Miscellaneous, and associate that file type with your media player.


  • Six filters are offered, each based on a specific movie attribute:
    • Viewed—the Seen flag is set.
    • Owned—the Wish flag is not set.
    • Loaned—a borrower has been recorded using the Loans Manager feature.
    • Media existing—the existence of a "movie on hard drive" is assumed according to the presence of any data in the File path field.
    • Bookmarked—the Bookmark flag has been set using the Bookmarking feature.
    • Movie—the record has no associated episodes, and is therefore a movie and not a series.

  • Each filter has three possible states: Ignore (so the result is "All"), True or False.

  • It's useful to understand filters in this way to avoid confusion over what they mean—in your collection. The wish attribute, for example, means whatever you want it to mean. It not being set does not have to imply the movie is owned. You'll probably want your database to include movies rented or seen in the theatre. Those may very well not be wished for or owned.

  • If the menu captions don't make sense (as illustrated by the above point), they can be customized to suit your circumstances by using a custom language file.

  • If you're not going to use the Loan manager feature, don't waste the loan filter. You could, for example, use it to hide various kinds of videos that you don't want to see listed with your "normal" movies. "Loan" these to "borrowers" named to indicate the reason for hiding the item (e.g. "boring documentary," "viewed by accident," "hard core," etc.).

 Forgotten filter settings are a common cause of mysteriously disappearing movies. If your List doesn't seem to include all the movies it should, Reset filters. Also, clear any active searches (simple or Advanced). If there are any, a Clear button will appear to the right of the search box on the Search bar.                    

Search (Bar)

  • Closely related to Filter is Search. A search term doesn't actually find the exact location of your search term in a movie record, but rather filters the List to include only the movies that contain the term—in the specified field.

  • Select the field to be searched from the drop-down list. By default, all the title fields will be searched. Alternatively, you may search any one field, or all fields (the latter will take a while, and the results may be difficult to interpret). For more complex searches involving multiple fields, select Advanced search from the bottom of the list.

  • The field list includes most, but not all, standard fields. It does not include custom fields. Any field may be searched using Advanced search.

  • Search operates "as-you-type" in the search box. It therefore provides a convenient way to jump to a particular movie in a long list. Not only that, but the search box is the default location for keyboard input, so you don't even have to select the search box before you start typing.

  • If any search is active (simple or advanced), a Clear button will appear to the right of the search box. Click this to clear the search and restore the list.

 You may have difficulty remembering the exact words in, or proper spelling of a title—perhaps because it is in a foreign language and/or it includes characters you're not used to typing. If so, include any term you will remember in the Also known as field. Then you will always find Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain before you can finish typing "amelie." 8)                    


  • Group the list by selecting a field to Group by from the list. Nested groups may be specified at Preferences>Movies|People>Tree view nodes. Apply these settings to the List by selecting Tree view. Remove them (or a simple grouping) by selecting Plain View.

  • Sort the list by selecting a Sort by field from the list. To reverse the sort order, select the same field again.

  • The List and Information Panel usually, but not always, refresh automatically. If you don't see what you think you should be seeing, Refresh.

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Help / 9020 Admin Comments and Suggestions
« on: September 17, 2010, 08:40:39 pm »
This is a list of comments and suggestions pertaining to the administration of this board.

Please add your comments below. New items will be added to the list. Items will be struck as they are dealt with.

  • Links to the board must include sort=subject for the topics to be sorted properly.
  • Change the sequence of the boards as presented on the main Forum page.
  • Get rid of Solved Issues.
  • Add Help to the link bar.
  • Make board visible to all.
  • Problem with "quick reply" posting?
  • Add link back to forum.

Help / 1020 Orientation
« on: September 17, 2010, 05:55:04 am »

  On this page:
User Interface


This topic will outline the basic nature of the database system and the design of the program. Understanding these things can make the difference between you finding the program intuitive and easy to use or a struggle at every turn. The latter can result from expectations of how things should work. If you have some experience with database applications, you may safely skip this material. If not, there's no need for concern. PVD is not "too technical" or otherwise difficult to use. With an open mind and a willingness to learn, you soon be wondering why all software doesn't work this way!

Much of the effort required is simply a consequence of the power and flexibility of the program. Its design does not compromise either of those qualities for the sake of working "out of the box." Those seeking instant gratification have not read this far. So keep reading—and appreciate the choices PVD offers you. But here's fair warning: we won't even begin to discuss using the program to create your database for the next two topics! ::)

Another objective will be to familiarize you with the program well enough that you can have some fun playing with it and learn how things work—hands on. We'll not attempt to lay out how everything works step-by-step. So you're encouraged to create a test database and learn through experimentation as you read this. Resist the temptation to create your 1,000-movie database until you've had a chance to lay the groundwork. Once you understand how the database works and the basic design of the program, you'll be ready for Database Design.

That's right. You have to design your own database! Don't blame us for not doing it for you. This is why most users love PVD. Only you know what information you want to keep track of, how it's going to be used, and how what kind of routine you're willing to follow to maintain it. That's right too. You're going to become a bona fide Database Administrator! Don't worry. No one needs to keep track of movies. Like the rest of us, you have a perverse joy of collecting and keeping track of things. And you're going to love PVD!  ;D


Fundamental to a proper understanding of PVD is that it uses the Firebird RDBMS engine for its database services. Even users who have no interest in how such things work need to understand some of the implications—

  • This is a powerful, sophisticated and mature system that handles all of the database operations of the program. It is as reliable as any aspect of your operating system. How do you know it's saving your data securely? The same way you know your Windows file system is saving your data securely. It just does. Most of the time.

  • All additions, changes and deletions to the data are recorded as they happen. Once the user has completed such an operation, there's no need to save the results. They're recorded in the database. Permanently. With no "undo" function.

  • The "Relational" in RDBMS refers to the fundamental architecture of the database—things are related to one another in such a way that specific requests for information (by you, via the program) are fulfilled very efficiently.

  • PVD's primary use of this capability is in managing the relation of people to movies. The program not only records movies with full credits—as you would expect—but it can also records people with full filmographies (i.e., a complete film résumé for each person, by career/role) with equal efficiency.

  • The relational architecture is also very effective for the ad hoc queries typically demanded of an application like this. It can list items matching any criteria, grouped and ordered in any fashion.

  • The database will handle a large number of movie and people records, and its performance will generally not be affected by the number of different fields used or the amount of data they contain. So if you want the information, record it in your PVD database. There will be no other safer, faster or otherwise more efficient means for doing so.

  Can I use PVD to catalog my DVD collection?
Yes, but bear in mind it's a video database, not a media database. It's designed to record information about movie titles, not specific DVD releases. You may, of course, record whatever information you like about the particular media you own, but recording and managing information unique to specific DVD releases is not a primary design objective of the program.

User Interface

The primary elements of the user interface are a Record List on the left and an Information Panel (showing the details of the item in the list) on the right. In Movie View, these show movies and movie information. In People View, they show people and people information. Switch views using View>Switch to people/movies. The view will change automatically (according to the link behaviour settings at Preferences>Miscellaneous) when people links are used in Movie View or movie links are used in People View.

Filtering the List
The content of the List can be controlled using the Filters menu. It will also "filter-as-you-type" in the Search box. By default, the search will be of the title/name fields, but any standard field (or all fields) can be selected using the drop-down selector. At the bottom of that list (Movie View only) is Advanced search—for complex searches.

  Filtering the list has an important purpose beyond controlling what items are visible. Export operations are performed on all the items visible in the list. So if you want produce a report of a subset of your collection, the list must be filtered first. Also, filtering the list and then selecting all items will often be the most effective way of selecting items for an import operation to download information.                   

Selecting Items
Items in the list may also be selected according to Windows conventions (click an item to select it; Ctrl-click to select additional items; Shift-click to select a block; Ctrl-A to select all; Ctrl-click selected items to deselect them). Commands on the Movies menu applicable to multiple items will apply to all selected items (all of these commands also appear on the List context menu). Selecting Edit when multiple items are selected will invoke the Multiple Movies Editor. Note that the Information Panel will always show the last selected record. When invoking commands, be careful not to assume this record is still selected, or that it's the only record selected.

  Invisible Records ???
The Filter menu includes an "Advanced" sub-menu with a setting for "visibility." A non-visible record exists because the information is used in a different record type elsewhere, but you have elected not to display that information as a primary record. So, for example, you may choose not to collect any information about people. As you would expect, your People View is empty. But if you show non-visible records, you'll see all the records for the credits shown in your movie records. Similarly, if you do choose to collect people information—including filmographies—then all the movies those people are associated with are included in the database. Those not part of your collection will be invisible.

For the most part, the program will effectively manage records such that you can almost forget invisible records exist. It's important, however, you're confused by some behaviours of the program. When adding a "new" movie, for example, you may be surprised that instead of creating a new record, an existing record with the same title is displayed. The program has found an invisible record with the same title, and has made it visible. The implications of this are discussed in *Adding Movies.

Edit Mode
When Movies>New or Edit are selected—or an item in the List is double-clicked—the Information Panel changes from Display to Edit mode. In Edit mode, the contents of all fields can be changed. The changes are not written to the database until Apply changes or another record is selected. Changes may be discarded by selecting Cancel changes or pressing the Escape key on your keyboard.

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Help / 1010 Getting Started
« on: September 15, 2010, 12:26:02 am »

 On this page:
Installing PVD
Command Line Parameters
Portable Mode
Server Mode


Welcome to Personal Video Database! PVD is a powerful and flexible program for managing your videos and information about them. Like any such software, this power and flexibility demands a little more effort to master than lesser programs. We believe you will find this effort well worthwhile. The purpose of this Help board is to provide—

  • An overview of the capabilities of the program, and an understanding of how they may be applied to your circumstances.
  • The information and instructions necessary for getting started as quickly as possible.
  • A useful reference for the ongoing use of the program after a database has been initially created.
  • A place where you may comment and ask any questions—and help to keep this documentation relevant and current.

 This Help board is a bulletin board just like the other boards hosted here. It's formatted with a theme for giving the appearance of a wiki. This means you may leave a comment or ask a question by posting a reply—just as in the other boards. Please don't worry posting in the "wrong" place. We want it to be easy for you to post when and where the comment or question arises. If moderators decide something is better discussed elsewhere, they can easily move your post.                    

But enough talk! If you haven't done so already, it's time for...

Installing PVD

This is so easy (and harmless), you may as well do it first and ask questions later...

If you were brave enough to do that, this is what happened—

  • The program was installed to the Installation folder. The program executable is named viddb.exe. The folder includes sub-folders for plugins, scripts and skins.

  • Starting the program caused a default configuration file named pvdconfig.ini to be created in the Application Data folder (XP | Vista/7). Note the hidden attribute of the Application Data folder needs to be cleared for its contents to be visible. All necessary configuration data is saved in this file—no data is saved in the Windows registry.

  • Starting the program for the first time should cause an empty database named MOVIES.PVD to be created in the default My Documents folder (XP | Vista/7). This location and filename can be changed by specifying different values in the File>New dialog.

All of your data is saved in one big database file. You may not be concerned yet, but at some point you're going to have enough data that even the idea it could be lost will be very upsetting. Adopt an effective backup routine now—

  • The most effective routine is one that happens automatically. It's advisable to have some backup system in place that automatically makes a backup of all user data on a regular basis. A good backup system will keep a number of versions of each data file.

  • By popular demand, the program includes backup and restore functions. Unfortunately, this is only effective if the program is functioning properly when the backup is made, and the same version of the program is used to restore the compressed backup file.

  • An easier, faster and more reliable method is to make a copy of the database file in Windows Explorer. A copy will never let you down, and you'll always know exactly what state your last version was in.

 The following are advanced topics. "Quick start" readers may prefer to skip to Orientation now.                    

Command Line Parameters

Parameter Purpose
-portable writes the program configuration in the Installation folder
-debug writes plugin activity to a log file which can be displayed in real time (select Help>Log)
-showhidden shows hidden files in File>Open dialog
-showfloppy shows available floppy drives within File select dialog which are hidden/ignored by default
-readonly prevents any editing of the database
-noconfig hides settings
-addmovie="title" adds the specified title to the database
-addfile="video_file_path"      adds the specified video file to the database
-selectmovie="title" starts with a particular title selected
-selectperson="name" starts with a particular person selected (in People View)

Any number of parameters may be added to the command line...

     "C:\Program Files\Personal Video Database\viddb.exe" -parameter1 [-parameter2]

...and the command line may be executed in any manner permitted by Windows—

  • Use the Run... dialog.
  • Use a batch file (e.g., portable.bat)
  • Use a shortcut (e.g., Person Video Database.lnk)

 Using -debug switch will not impact on performance. If the program is always started using the switch (e.g., by adding it to the main program shortcut), the log will always be available for monitoring and reviewing plugin performance.                    

Portable Mode

The purpose of the -portable switch is to allow the program to be run from a removable drive, including a memory stick. All it does is cause the configuration file to be created and saved in the Installation folder instead of the Application Data folder. If the database file is then saved to the same device, the application is completely portable.

The fact the configuration file is saved to a different folder also provides the means to run the program with a different configuration file. This is useful in a number of different ways—

  • If a problem with the existing configuration file is suspected, the program can be run in portable mode to force the creation of a new default configuration file—without affecting the existing configuration file.

  • Two different configurations can be run using the same installation—one run in portable mode, the other normally. Each configuration file could point to different database files. The second configuration could be used for testing purpose, or by a second user.

  • An unlimited number of installations could be used on one system by ensuring each is started only in portable mode.

Server Mode

PVD uses the Firebird RDBMS engine for it's database services. Specifically, it uses the Firebird Embedded Server, a server engine plus client rolled into one library called fbembed.dll. So while your database appears to be fully integrated with the program, it's actually an independent database served to the application by Firebird.

The exact same functionality can be provided in an actual client-server environment by installing the full server version of Firebird. This will be of interest in situations where

  • Another application requires access to the database. For example—

  • Multiple users accessing a common database from separate PVD installations. For example—
    • Other users on the same LAN (e.g., family members)
    • Anyone connecting via the Internet (e.g., you—at the office).

Firebird Server is no less efficient and does not require significantly more resources than Embedded. So if you have any need for it, use it. Once installed, you may connect to your database using either method. In most situations, it's best to always connect using the Server. Embedded will cause the database to be locked—and other users/applications will be unable to connect.

 For those using Firebird Server, there is one circumstance in which you must switch to Embedded. That is when running Tools>Optimization. The "garbage collection" part of that routine cannot be completed because the Server is unable to backup and restore the database.                    


Firebird Server Manager
  • Download and install Firebird Server. Choose "Windows executable installer for full Classic or Superserver, recommended for first-time users," and either 32 or 64-bit—as appropriate for your system. In normal circumstances, you should not be concerned about studying it's documentation or changing the default configuration.

  • Start the Firebird Server Manager. Once you are satisfied it's working correctly (step 4), we recommend you set it as shown, click OK—and forget about it. It will run as a Service, and always be available to PVD (and other applications).

  • In PVD, select File>Open and select a file other than your active database. The point of this step is to force Firebird Embedded to release your active database so Server may connect to it. If necessary, use File>New to create an empty or test database for this purpose.

  • Select File>Connect to... and specify your database as:
    [computer name|IP address]:[local path]
    Success will be indicated by this connection string (followed by "Network") appearing in the Title Bar.

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Support / [SOLVED] Number of movies doesnt match
« on: September 08, 2010, 06:38:29 pm »
If the number of movies in PVD doesnt match with the number of folder (= number of movies) - how can i find out which it is? Without doing it manually... :)

I assume you've run Scan folders... and resolved any issues it reveals (e.g., a video file is found, but not properly matched to a record in the database). If you're sure the numbers should match, this might be a good time to roll up your sleeves and fine-tune your File Scanner configuration. The most direct way to do that is to do what you're trying to avoid—determine exactly why there's a difference. The files that account for the difference should suggest what the problem is and how to fix it. For example, you may find the discrepancy is caused by some files with unusual names that are not recognized by your regex. You can either amend your regex so those filenames are recognized, or change the filenames to something that will be recognized. Either way, you will have eliminated those particular causes of potential future discrepancies.

Feature Suggestions / Integrated Help Forum
« on: August 29, 2010, 05:20:21 am »
I think, I will implement some kind of tutorial or online help in version 1.

I hope that will be along the lines of what was discussed early this year in In Line Help.

To summarize, what I advocated there was the use of an HTML compiled Help file created using HelpNDoc. The program would be able to launch the Help and display a contextual topic. That topic could be any HTML resource, which I suggested could be the applicable wiki topic. This approach has three very significant advantages...

1. You would only have to provide the context "hooks" and the code to use them in calling contextual help. There would also be, of course, help menu items linking to more general "how to" topics or tutorials. When adding a new feature in the future, you would just add a new hook, add the corresponding topic to the help file, and link that to an online resource. That resource would likely only be a placeholder at first—because real programmers don't do documentation ;) —but then that resource would be updated by users.

2. All of the help topics would be resources created and maintained online. Instead of being cold, static and becoming obsolete, all topics would be up-to-date and naturally integrated with the online user community.

3. Interested users could install HelpNDoc and modify the help file any way they like.

And now for the best part... The ideal place to host those online resources is right here. You would just create a new "Help" forum that contained a topic for each topic in the help file. The first post in each topic would be the "official" help contact, and would be maintained by moderators. Any user, however, would be able to post to these topics—to ask for clarification, suggest improvements to the topic, post their movies, whatever. I think this would be a great way to integrate the program with what goes on here, and make resources more accessible to all users.

I doubt there would be a flood of user-created documentation, but I can't imagine a system that would make it any easier for everyone to use and contribute to. I imagine each topic being an ongoing discussion—obviously some more active than others. It would be very easy for moderators to copy useful parts of messages posted to the topic and add them to the first post. Users wanting more information than is available in the first post can simply read on. If they still need help, they can post a question right there.

This, of course, begs the question, "What about the wiki?" Well, will version 1 coming and it not being actively maintained, I think we have reason to be concerned. While I very much appreciated the effort that went into it, I believe the lesson has been we really need to find ways to integrate things here. The existing content of the wiki can be used for the initial Help forum topics here.

Feature Suggestions / Command Line Parameter: -selectmoviepath
« on: June 15, 2010, 02:35:28 am »
We already have -selectmovie="title", but it would be nice to also have -selectmoviepath="video_file_path". This would allow adding PVD to the Explorer context menu for video files. 8)

Support / Screenshots in
« on: April 25, 2010, 06:29:42 am »
Thanks for the new release. :)

Unfortunately, there's a problem with the screenshot section. It includes a placeholder for a new image—even when it's not in edit mode. As a result, all my screenshot sections look like the attached. :'(

[attachment deleted by admin]

Support / Manuals!
« on: April 25, 2010, 06:14:34 am »
The following material is now on the Help board...

Please ignore the following posts. Their sole purpose is to add the text of the technical manuals to the forum search engine. If they show up in search results, they may be used to access the manual via this topic.

Feature Suggestions / Filter Presets
« on: April 07, 2010, 06:38:50 am »
I'm musing about how happy I am with my AutoHotkey solution for switching from one set of filters to another, and wondering how others cope without this. I thought it about time I suggest a "filter preset" feature—so all can enjoy this capability. But it seems I've already mentioned it...  :-X

BTW, if any new filters are added, it will become really obvious we need some way to save and recall filter settings. Ironically, I have programmed my remote to do this (e.g., so I can switch between "unseen movies available for viewing" and "unseen episodes available for viewing"), but there is no way to do this in the program. Perhaps this could be implemented by having a Save settings command on the filter menu. This would save the current settings and prompt for a name (e.g. "unseen available movies"). This would then appear on the menu (or perhaps a submenu, along with Reset filters). Or, it might be preferable just to provide for the configuration of such a "filter preset" submenu in Preferences (since there would have to be a way to delete, edit and rearrange the menu items anyway).

I was avoiding the comical aspect of my solution by saying, "I have programmed my remote to do this." It's actually a set of AHK scripts, each of which animate the mouse to change the filter settings using the menu. The remote just sends the hotkey for the desired script. It goofy, but functional and fun to watch. More importantly, I can no longer imagine using the program without it. So I think others would find the equivalent program feature equally useful.

While I don't use them as often, some of my scripts not only set filters, but also group and sort. One, for example, displays movies by date viewed. Another groups movies not yet viewed by genre. So if it's not too complicated to implement, maybe the feature should be for "filter/view" presets. It would be cool to be able to simply select a menu item to "save current filter and view settings." A preferences dialog could then be used to copy the "last saved" settings to a preset, give the preset a name (that would appear on the "preset menu") and to assign a hotkey to each preset (essential if the preset is to be invoked by remote). The new preset menu would then include:

  • Reset filter and view settings
  • Save current filter and view settings
  • Preset 0 = Last settings saved
  • Preset 1
  • Preset 2
  • ...

Perhaps the hotkeys could be configured by selecting some combination of Ctrl, Alt, Win and Shift, and then they would be that plus R, S, 0, 1, ..., 9 (e.g., Ctrl+Alt+R to reset).

Support / Automatic Update
« on: February 08, 2010, 11:51:31 pm »
The new automatic update feature in doesn't seem to work. It downloads the updates to the temp directory, but doesn't unzip them to the installation directory.

Feature Suggestions / Better suggestion poll
« on: January 30, 2010, 04:22:31 am »
One of the problems with a poll is they don't work very well unless the question is clear and unbiased. It's impractical for me to revise buah's poll, but I can add my own. I suppose it's biased too, but maybe we can make sense of the results of the two of them together.

As I stated in the other threads, the fundamental flaw in buah's suggestion is it would adversely affect some users. In case it helps to declare my of them would be me! For reasons I don't understand, buah cannot accept my suggestion his proposed change be optional. But I also had my own suggestion...

It would be nice to have a special dialog that would include all the things that need to be updated after a movie is viewed—date (with same options as current menu), rating, comments, the option to delete the media, etc. It would be particularly useful if it could accommodate custom fields—then it could be adapted to any particular routine/work flow.

No matter what kind of collection we're maintaining, there's usually a number of things that need to be recorded after a movie has been viewed. For most, this is probably just the date viewed and the user rating. If so, both can be set easily without going into edit mode. There is the possibility, however, that one is recorded and the other forgotten. Some may have a routine of recording other information—like a comment, or who they watched the movie with. So the idea is to put all these things in one dialog, not just for convenience—but to ensure everything pertaining to the viewing is recorded. This dialog would in no way change the existing ways of recording these things. It would be a separate menu item that could be placed on the tool bar.

Please remember nostra has no interest in these polls, so he's not bound by the results. And my money's on "Don't care," but maybe this will be an interesting experiment anyway. ;)

Support / Firefox/forum problem displaying attached images
« on: January 19, 2010, 10:37:12 pm »
Normally, clicking on the thumbnail of an image attached to a post displays that image. This has recently stopped working for me in Firefox (3.5.6, now 3.5.7) running in Windows 7. There's no change in Safe Mode, with the cache cleared and firewall disabled. I can only view them by downloading the image using the link. It works normally in IE and Chrome. I'm wondering if anyone here is having the same problem and/or knows what the solution is.

Feature Suggestions / PVD user ratings
« on: January 19, 2010, 02:18:11 am »
It would be great if PVD could have some option to send anonymous data to online server about PVD user ratings. That's the way how to get PVD Top 250!

This is a great idea, but I'm not sure how it could be implemented without putting an administrative burden on nostra.

Ideas? Volunteers for hosting and/or maintenance?

Support / MOVED: web template cant connect
« on: December 21, 2009, 09:04:20 pm »

Support / IMDb People plugin broken
« on: November 27, 2009, 09:04:19 am »
The plugin is consistently adding <a href="filmogenre"> to Genre. In some cases, half the web page (from div class="info-content"> to near the end) is being saved in AKA and deleting existing Career data. I aborted after 15 records, so I don't know what else it might be doing.

Support / Cannot connect to database
« on: November 21, 2009, 06:05:18 am »
My new computer finally arrived. I'm struggling with Vista x64 while waiting for my Win7 upgrade. (I know, it was released a month ago! I'll never buy a Dell again...) As if that's not enough, I can't get PvdImport working—or PVD to load while it's running. Trying to run PVD when PvdImport is connected to the database causes this error...

1:I/O error for file "C:\Data\PVD\MY MOVIES.PVD" Error while trying to open file
The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.
Unsuccessful execution caused by a system error that precludes successful execution of subsequent statements
Error Code: 24

Trying to run MC/PvdImport while PVD is connected to the database causes what appears to be a similar error...

Failed to open database! Exception: I/O error for file CreateFile (open) "C:\Data\PVD\My Movies.pvd" Error while trying to open file.

Didn't raldo have a problem similar to this a while back? I thought it might have something to do with me using the newer x64 version of Firebird, but I get the same results with the older x32 version.

I suspect PVD is actually connecting via Firebird Embedded, and thereby locking the database. Firebird Server Properties (the Control Panel applet) indicates no database/attachment when PVD is supposedly connected. When MC is running, it indicates one.

Nostra, I'll email a few exception reports, in case they include any useful information.

Development / PvdImport image selection
« on: September 15, 2009, 09:57:13 pm »
Nostra, I don't expect you to know how raldo has coded his plugin (I certainly don't!), but I would like to ask on his behalf...

What is the method for addressing/selecting one particular image associated with a movie? In particular, is there a way of selecting the poster that has been selected ("paper clipped") for display when there are multiple posters? MC can handle only one "cover art" item, and this is the obvious one to import.

From my testing of the plugin, I can only guess the issue of multiple posters has not been addressed. Where there are multiple images, it might select anything—usually a poster, but sometimes a screenshot or cover. I don't see any pattern to this, so maybe it's getting image with the highest or lowest index number. The only way I've found to change the image it's getting, is to delete the image, run it again, and hope it gets a poster. If I re-add the "offending" screenshot or cover again, it may be selected again, or it may not.

Looking at the database tables, I see there's a field for the image type. So I guess the obvious solution is to restrict the selection to posters. It would be desirable, however, if the specific poster selected for display in PVD could be selected. I couldn't determine how this is recorded in the database.

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