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Various questions on exporting
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2010, 11:26:15 pm »
Originally posted to lost topic Exporting questions in August and September 2008...

It may seem we're a wee bit off topic, but... It's interesting to note the relative abundance of excellent music versus video cataloging software. The existence of some reasonable standards for music media tagging must have a lot to do with that. I think the ultimate success of software like PVD may depend on it's ability to respond to the emergence of such standards for video media—if that ever happens.

I'm just a user, but I'm sure nostra would be happy to put that on his todo list.  

While you're waiting (for a very long time), you could use a custom language file to change all the field names, menus, etc. to accommodate a music database (series could be bands, seasons albums, and episodes tracks). Then create your own scripts to download music information. Let us know how you make out.  

In case you're new to music cataloging... I think it's a good idea to master the tagging of your files first (e.g., with something like Mp3Tag). Once they're tagged, just about any media player/manager can use the information. If it's a good one, it can take over the tagging function as well. If you're serious about organizing all your media, I recommend J. River Media Center.

so i guess that the lack of a standard is just a blessing...

Thanks to the standards, there have been things like iTunes and millions of users doing things like cataloging collections of 20,000 songs. Collectively, they produce enough demand for software that overcomes the limitations of the standards. While not perfect, the existence of tagging standards allows for enough portability that users can migrate their collections to the best software with relative ease. This, in turn, makes the market very efficient and drives development.

...lets keep it that way for videos at least.

But you may be right. There's always the possibility PVD will become the standard. And if everyone were so loose with their 0.1 eurocents, that would suggest 6.8 million euro in revenue.  I'd be concerned nostra would be tempted to retire.  ;)  

is there any way to export posters in original title names?

Not directly, but this technique should suffice if it's a one-time requirement.

...not all of my movies have path...

Then use field 2 (Title) or 3 (Origtitle) instead of 27 (Path). A list of field name/variables is here. [Update: Fields are now referred to by name. See the reference provided.]

The purpose of the Excel worksheet is to create an OS Command to rename each image file—a separate command for each image file. The Excel formula means nothing to the OS. That command is parsed using the formula, as described. The worksheet should look something like the following (except for the second line, which I have inserted to show how it works). When copying the formula, make sure it begins with "=". You should see the results of the formula, not the formula itself. Copy the third column (starting with "rename image1.jpg...") to a text file. That should result in only a list of valid rename commands.

Code: [Select]
Poster                  Path                                            Formula
{%value=63}             {%value=27}                                     ="rename "&{%value=63}&" """&{%value=27}&""""
image1.jpg              E:\Video\Metropolis (1927).jpg                  rename image1.jpg "E:\Video\Metropolis (1927).jpg"
image2.jpg        E:\Video\On The Waterfront (1954).jpg        rename image2.jpg "E:\Video\On The Waterfront (1954).jpg"
image3.jpg        E:\Video\Rebecca (1940).jpg                rename image3.jpg "E:\Video\Rebecca (1940).jpg"
image4.jpg        E:\Video\Some Like It Hot (1959).jpg        rename image4.jpg "E:\Video\Some Like It Hot (1959).jpg"
image5.jpg        E:\Video\Wall-E (2008) 8.8 #26.jpg        rename image5.jpg "E:\Video\Wall-E (2008).jpg"
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 11:30:47 pm by »


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Web search
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2010, 12:02:34 am »
Originally posted to lost topic Add db search sites in December 2008...

To add a Web Search, select Preferences - Web Search and follow the directions at the bottom of the dialog. The URL you want is the same one that's used to execute a query when using the target website directly. Often that is not visible because the site uses POSTs rather than GETs to execute the query. You can fix that by using this... [alternate explanation here]

Code: [Select]
javascript:(function(){var x,i; x = document.forms; for (i = 0; i < x.length; ++i) x[i].method="get"; alert("Changed " + x.length + " forms to use the GET method.  After submitting a form from this page, you should be able to bookmark the result."); })();
Save this as a bookmark, and use it when at the search page of the website. Then, when you do a search, the search URL it uses will appear in your location bar. Copy & paste this into the URL box of your Web Search configuration and make the appropriate changes (e.g., change your test search word to "%s%u").

To download from a site, you would need to write a script. Instructions are [url]here[/url].


You must have created a favorite for this page. Copy the code I provided, right-click on the favorite you created (or any favorite you want to use), select Properties, and paste it into the URL box. Rename the favorite "Change POSTs to GETs." Go to the search page you want to examine and select the favorite. You should see the message, "Changed x forms to use the GET method. After submitting a form from this page, you should be able to bookmark the result." Then do the query (i.e., "submit the form"). The query will work normally, but the location bar will now display a search URL that you can adapt for use as a web search query. Have a look at the query URLs already set up in Preferences if you want an idea of the different forms they can take. Most are very simple, a few somewhat finicky or impossible.

Originally posted to lost topic Web search in May 2008...

How does one determine how a particular website takes search parameters?

My trial-and-error approach is wearing thin. If the obvious doesn't work, I usually try creating a Firefox "quick search" to see how the search url is constructed. While the quick search usually works, the search url often does not reveal the search parameters. For example, for, I get just "". Adding "?%s" or "?q=%s" etc. is futile. In this case, I used my Google toolbar to create a "custom search" which indicated the search url to be "" (finally, I changed "%s" to "%22%s%22%u").

So, how could I have determined this directly? How can I find out how to pass additional parameters?'s "advanced search," for example, includes the usual "any words," "all words" or "exact phrase" option, and some categories to choose from.

In an effort to answer my own question, I used the same technique to discover the advanced search url is "". But I feel lucky getting this—sometimes I'll see something like this, other times just the root url. Examining the page source, I think I see the reason for this—a "hidden form" is being used. Attached is a screenshot of Firefox with the "Page Info" panel showing. From that, I suppose I could deduce an effective search url.

So, I suppose my question should be—Am I on the right track, or is there an easier way? It would be nice to be able to complete a search form, and then just cut and paste the resulting search url into PVD.

For such cases I use a "Web Developer" Add-on in Firefox...

Ahhh...much better. Thanks! And I promise I won't ask what all those other commands are for.   


Nostra, Web Developer Toolbar got the job done, but I only used the one command. Afterwards, I realized I already had a bookmarklet that does the same thing:

Code: [Select]
javascript:(function(){var x,i; x = document.forms; for (i = 0; i < x.length; ++i) x[i].method=%22get%22; alert(%22Changed %22 + x.length + %22 forms to use the GET method.  After submitting a form from this page, you should be able to bookmark the result.%22); })();
I deleted the alert part and put this on my bookmark toolbar for easy access. So now I just click this before doing a search, and I can see all the parameters in the URL.

This exercise suggested a few refinements for PVD:

• The accuracy of IMDb (and probably some others) title searches is greatly improved if " (YYYY)" is appended to the title. It would be nice to have a "%y" variable to facilitate this.

• This may be unique to North American sites, but many handle foreign language titles very badly (like if it hasn't been renamed to English, it doesn't exist. It would be helpful if the PVD search term box were populated with whatever field is "selected" (no, I'm not sure what I mean by that) or highlighted in PVD, rather than always being the original title of the selected movie. I realize I can cut and paste anything into the search box, but I'm lazy.

Rick, could you tell me what web sites are most popular among those queries you created?

I'm not sure what you mean by "popular," so I've provided following the Google PageRank and my subjective rating for each site. My rating is based more on the site's usefulness for use within PVD than its popularity, or what I may think of the overall site. As good as some of them are, part of the reason I use PVD is so I don't have to go there. I tend to prefer sites that provide information not otherwise in my database. So, for example, AMG is not the most popular site, but it does have movie synopses of reasonably consistent quality—something I do not get from my IMDb download. MRQE is not very popular, but it provides a comprehensive list of links to all popular reviews, so it's all I really need for movie reviews.

As I said before, this is very much a matter of personal preference. I think the best you can do is offer a selection that suggests to users the potential of web searches. Here's another idea: move this thread to a more suitable location in the forum (maybe its own group), and add a "Web search forum" link to it as the last web search in PVD. Maybe that would help convey the idea this is a user-configured tool—not something they should be bugging you about it if it does not work to their liking. Not that you're the least bit concerned about that possibility, of course.   

I do not think it is a good idea to add all of them to the standard installation package as there too many.

What's the problem? My Web search menu has already turned into a scrolling list, and that works great!  ;D
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 09:49:19 pm by »


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Importing from Excel
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2010, 08:13:23 pm »
English => Support => Importing from Excel

Post by: on May 23, 2008, 04:59:37 pm

I tried testing the Excel import plugin—to see if I could replicate ruffa's problem and to answer some of my own questions about how it works. This is what I have learned...

It seems the plugin is not dependent on headings in the Excel file. As long as the configuration has the correct sequence of columns specified, it will work even if there is no heading row. On the other hand, it does recognize the first row is headings, if that's what they are. So I'm not sure what the implications are of excluding it. My preference is to include headings to help keep track of what I'm doing. Attached is a screen shot illustrating how I view my Excel file while entering the configuration. The Excel headings are not necessary for the plugin, but I do need to list the fields in the configuration in exactly the same order as the columns in Excel.

When importing additional information to existing records, the attached confirmation dialog appears. It may seem straightforward, but can be a little confusing when one appreciates the import works on a field level, not just for each record as a whole. This is what each option does:

Update adds source (Excel) field if destination record exists (as determined by matching ID, Title/Year or URL); otherwise does nothing.

Merge adds source (Excel) field if destination field (PVD) is null; otherwise leaves destination data intact.

Add adds all the source fields to a new duplicate record; the existing record is unaffected.

Do not add skips the record; continues the import with the next record.

Overwrite replaces the destination field with the source field; if the source field is null, the destination field is left unchanged.

Cancel terminates the import.

This dialog will appear for each record already in the database unless "do not show again is checked"—then the response is applied to all records imported.

It's easy to assume all records will be "updated" when choosing Overwrite. It can be important to recognize blank fields in import records will not cause existing data to be "deleted." If this is what is intended, blank cells in Excel should be changed to "null" or "delete me," which can be deleted in PDV after importing (if available for the field, using multiple movie editor).

Now, back to ruffa's problem: I was unable to replicate the problem with any combination of blank cells or special characters (like common field delimiters) in the data. Once the import was properly configured, it worked without error both initially, and when used again to add or change data. I only found this kind of error (data in wrong field for some records, not others) when changing columns the Excel file and not making the same change in the plugin configuration (or vice versa). For the reasons already mentioned, the corruption resulting from this can be difficult to interpret because some records are affected and others are not (e.g., a record is not updated because the import field is null, or the destination is not). Furthermore, for the same reasons, if the configuration is then fixed, running the import again will not fix the corruption unless all the affected fields are included, none of them are null, and the overwrite option is used. In most cases, it would be easier to restore from backup or start a new database than to "undo" an import that has run amuck.

Post by: ruffa on May 24, 2008, 12:43:47 pm

Ok, so i just tried importing from excel again, this time using only 27 rows of data. Problems i found...
  • The 'Length' category was not imported at all, even though i asked it to while configuring the excel plugin.
  • This time the data does appear in the correct fields but the 'length' column is missing completely,
  • I also now realize that the spelling of the column titles does not matter, and i see that regardless of the title of your columns in excel, the excel plugin configuration function is just used to select the column titles in order 1-2-3... of your new database. I previously thought that the plugin configuration was asking for words to recognize as titles in your excel database but this is not the case, the plugin configuration is just a way of selecting how many columns to import and what title you'd like to select for each column.

Maybe this should be added to a future help file, explaining that in the excel plugin configuration, the order in which you select what fields to import corresponds to the Column position, for example:
If in the configuration i selected to import Title, Description, and Year in this order, then this would import my excel Column A to 'TITLE', B to 'Description' and C to 'Year' etc.

But what I now don't understand is, it the above Is correct, then if I wanted to Import lets say my 'length' column at a later date to my pvd. So I'd configure the plugin to only import the length, but surely If the above was correct this would then import not the length but column 'a' of my Excel database Into the PVD. So how could I go about trying to import only the length field from my Excel now? (i just tried to import only the LENGTH field but nothing happened, probably because it sees the first column full of titles i guess)

i noticed that there is no need to save the data you have entered into the database, it saves automatically i guess, this is a good thing in some ways but what do you do if you make a big mistake to your database then it autosaves! is there an undo or back button, i guess u just need a backup to hand which u backup regularly, it would be nice to see a save button with the option to turn off+on autosave function.

Post by: nostra on May 24, 2008, 01:38:59 pm

The plugin must always be configure for all fields.

There is no way skip some fields, but maybe I'll add such a possibility in future.

Check your length cells in Excel. Probably Excel made them to have type "Time" and PVD gets wrong data when importing such cells. Change the type to "Text". After your length cells are ok, just re-import the data and answer "Merge" when PVD asks you what to do with the duplicates.

Post by: on May 24, 2008, 02:19:16 pm

The plugin must always be configure for all fields.
That is, all columns in the Excel file.

Change the type to "Text".
Nostra, does it matter whether the text is in the form "hh:mm:ss" or just "hh:mm" or "mmm"?

If the data in Excel is a number displayed as time, then make a new column using =LEFT(TEXT(TimeCell,"hh:mm:ss"),8). Select the new column, Copy it, and Paste-Special-Values it to another column (or on top of itself, if you like). This column will be text you can import (subject to what nostra may say about format).

Post by: on May 24, 2008, 03:23:29 pm

...and what title you'd like to select for each column.
I think you understand, but this is not literally correct. The plugin will ignore whatever titles you put on the first row of the worksheet. The plugin configuration assigns valid PVD fields to each column. All that matters is that those fields are listed in the same order at the columns appear.

So how could I go about trying to import only the length field from my Excel now?
Aside from the matter of this data needing to be converted to text, the simplest import of additional information to movies already existing in the database would require two columns—one to identify the record (Title) and one for the additional information (e.g., Length). Remember what I said about this before...

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.

there is no need to save the data you have entered into the database, it saves automatically
This is not "autosave." This is how "true" database software works—all changes are immediately written to disk. This is not something that can be "turned off." I suppose some kind of "undo" feature is feasible, but it may not be what you expect. Many changes are going to be so pervasive, it would not be possible to maintain reliable undo information for very long. (When you add a movie, about 20 people—maybe many more—will be added. For each of those, a complete filmography may be included. So adding one movie can easily involve 500 records being added to/updated in the database. You're right, frequent backup is probably the only answer. Perhaps some kind of backup reminder can be added.

Post by: ruffa on May 25, 2008, 01:14:29 am

You said if i want to import data to my existing database i need at least 2 columns to import, e.g. title, and length, the title so the database can ID where the stick the times. But i'm still confused, Nostra said i'd need to keep the plugin configured for all fields when importing to an existing database, i understand this and then import it with Merge ticked, then it will fill in the blanks, but i don't understand what you are saying about working only with 2 columns at a time, how would you do this? If i only selected to import title and length then surely the length would end up in my 'B' column which is my description column.

About the 'Length' columns, i have simply typed in the runtime like this: 60mins, 54mins etc. i have not done it like this: 00:01:03:00hrs. I've always manually typed out my database or copied+pasted, i've never altered any settings on excel, does this make any difference? Thanks for the piece of code you typed which would redo the times but i'm not familiar with how to actually use that sum you typed. But like i said the runtime is typed like 60mins.

Post by: on May 25, 2008, 04:47:02 am

Nostra said i'd need to keep the plugin configured for all fields...
This really isn't that complicated. What nostra was trying to say, and what I attempted to clarify with my previous post, was you must configure the plugin exactly according to the columns that exist in your Excel file. It doesn't matter whether you have two columns or twenty. The plugin has no way of determining which field the data in each column should be put unless you tell it—for each and every column.

If i only selected to import title and length then surely the length would end up in my 'B' column which is my description column.

Maybe the reason you're not getting this is that you think your Excel file is "fixed." When I suggest you can import just the length field, I'm assuming you will make a copy of your Excel file, delete all the columns except title, year and length, and then save this new file for importing to PVD. If you insist on importing from your original Excel database each time, you will have to be very careful that your plugin configuration is correct. Furthermore—as you have discovered—if anything goes wrong, it's much more difficult to figure out what happened.

About the 'Length' columns, i have simply typed in the runtime like this: 60mins, 54mins etc.
I'm not sure exactly what format the plugin is expecting (i.e., "hh:mm" or "mmm"). I'd be surprised if it understood "60mins" (and, it seems you have already found it does not). I see PVD exports length in minutes ("mmm"), so let's assume the import plugin will recognize that. Since you're not comfortable using formulas, try this: Select your length column, Edit-Replace "mins" with nothing (i.e., delete all occurrences of "mins"), and format the column as text. This is confusing, but... what you want your minutes to look like numbers, but to actually be text.

Post by: nostra on May 25, 2008, 05:39:43 am

PVD accepts length as hh:mm:ss or a number of minutes without text after or before it.

Post by: on May 25, 2008, 10:12:09 am

...So, the most effective way to deal with this sort of situation is to convert the form of the data using Excel. In this case, =TEXT(LEFT(Length,LEN(Length)-4),"0") would do the trick (replace Length with a reference to the cell with length in the form "123mins").

"hh:mm:ss" is another matter. If the data is already in this form, in text, the plugin will recognize it. If it is not text, but a time-value the cell is formatted to display like this, it will need to be converted to text with =TEXT(Length,"hh:mm:ss").

Once the new column with the formulae is displaying the data in the correct format, use Copy-Paste Special-Values to convert it to text. Now that it no longer relies on the original data, that column may be deleted.

Post by: ruffa on May 27, 2008, 10:31:11 am

if it accepts 'number of mins' without text after it then i will try the method of using the replace the word mins with nothing, then try to import again.

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Test: Wiki topic 1
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2010, 01:36:52 am »
Filtering Movies

There are many different ways to filter how you view movies in your movie list. They include:

    • viewed
    • owned
    • loaned
    • movies on hard drives
    • bookmarked
    • movies/series

These filters act as toggles and can individually selected and/or turned on/off. When a particular filter is applied, only those records that match the filter criteria are available for viewing (the rest are all hidden). When you apply the filter by selecting one of the available three (3) options, the list of movies will immediately be updated.

Filtering viewed movies

Viewed movies are those that have the Seen checkbox selected. You can filter by:

    • All
    • Not Viewed
    • Viewed

All basically includes both Not Viewed and Viewed.

Filtering owned movies

Owned movies are those that have the Wish checkbox unselected. You can filter by:

    • All
    • Not Owned
    • Owned

Filtering loaned movies

Loaned movies are those that have a borrower associated with the movie. You can loan a movie using the menu item Movies - Loan. You can filter by:

    • All
    • Not Loaned
    • Loaned

Filtering movies on hard drives

Movies are stored on hard drives, either fixed or removable. To filter by which type of drive a movie is stored on, choose:

    • All
    • Movies on Hard drives
    • Movies on Removable drives

Filtering bookmarked movies

Movies can be bookmarked for quick, convenient access within your list of movies. You can filter by:

    • All
    • Bookmarked
    • Not bookmarked

Filtering by record type

Records in the movie database can be of two different types, either Movies or Series. Your three filtering choices are:

    • All
    • Movies
    • Series

Filtering by poster

A movie can have posters associated with them. By default, filters ignore whether or not a poster is associated with a movie. If you wish to apply a filter so that only movies that do not have a poster is visible, toggle the filter option "No Poster".

A checkmark will appear by "No Poster" if the filter is applied (or ON). No checkmark means that All movies are available (and no filter is being applied).

Filtering by cover

A movie can have covers associated with them. By default, filters ignore whether or not a cover is associated with a movie. If you wish to apply a filter so that only movies that do not have a cover is visible, toggle the filter option "No Cover".

A checkmark will appear by "No Cover" if the filter is applied (or ON). No checkmark means that All movies are available (and no filter is being applied).

Filtering by screenshot

A movie can have screenshots associated with them. By default, filters ignore whether or not a screenshot is associated with a movie. If you wish to apply a filter so that only movies that do not have a screenshot are visible, toggle the filter option "No Screenshot".

A checkmark will appear by "No Screenshot" if the filter is applied (or ON). No checkmark means that All movies are available (and no filter is being applied).

Advanced Filters

There is an advanced filter that you can apply as well. The advanced filter defaults to Visible so that only those records that are Visible can be seen in the movies list.

Movies that are Not Visible are those that have effectively been deleted. There are also instances where movie records may be in the database and Not Visible in order to keep relationships with other movie information valid (i.e. movies associated with people, for example). This is sort of an advanced PVD topic so don't feel bad if it doesn't totally make sense. ;)

The important concept to understand is that you can view Not Visible records if you wanted to. This is very useful, for example, when you want to undelete a movie record.

Seen movie status     [Top]

The Seen attribute for movies is used to indicate if the movie has already been viewed.

In addition to setting the flag, you can also specify the date the movie was last viewed. The date could be --

    • today
    • yesterday
    • 2 days ago
    • set date — specify the exact date that the movie was last viewed
    • Seen (no date) — set the flag that the movie has been viewed but do not provide a date

Methods for setting the Seen status of a movie
There are several methods for setting the Seen status of a movie. For example,

    • from the Movies menu
    • click on the Seen checkbox in the movie details screen (note that this will automatically set the Seen date to today's date)
    • from the New Movie Master window

Wish movie status     [Top]

The Wish attribute for movies is used to indicate if the movie is Owned or Not Owned. By default, when you add a movie to your database, it is assumed to be Owned (i.e. the Wish checkbox is not set).

To indicate that the movie is Not Owned, you can...

    • select Movies->Wish->Not Owned
    • click on the Wish checkbox in the movie details screen (note that an icon will appear beside the wish box to remind you to purchase this movie. The drop-down button gives you two choices — and eBay — where you can go to purchase. If you click on the Wish button you will be taken to the corresponding web site)
    • from the New Movie Master window
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 02:36:19 am by »


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Test: Wiki topic 2
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2010, 01:57:48 am »
Loaning a Movie

To loan a movie, select Movies - Loan or the Loan button from the tool bar. A window will appear where you can select the individual from a drop-down list box. If the individual does not appear in the drop-down list box, you can type in the individual's name and it will automatically be added to the list. You can also specify how many days the individual should be allowed to keep the movie on loan.

The movie list shows Loaned movies in Red, and a new field will appear in the movie details for Borrower indicating the name of the individual and when the movie was Loaned.

Loan Filter

You can filter the list of movies so that only those that are on Loan will appear in the movie list. To do this, choose Filters - Loaned.

Loans Manager

You can use the Loans Manager to keep track of what movies are currently checked out and a history of Loan activity. The Loans Manager can be found at Tools - Loans Manager or by using the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+L.


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Re: Help Index
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2010, 06:05:30 am »
Added preamble to announce Help board and demise of this topic.