The Pain of Directories

As we are preparing for the first alpha release of elisa the question of file locations came up. In a media center solution you have IMHO halfway lost if you have to expose disk directory layout through the userinterface. Cause since the primary tool for using the GUI is a remote navigating directories and choosing files based on it is simply painful. In the set-top box situation this is not to big a problem as we can enforce certain defaults. But since we also want people to be able to run Elisa on their normal server/desktop systems we need to also consider how these are laid out.

There has been some long discussions about this in the GNOME community about defining special ~/Music and ~/Movie directories for instance that all applications default to. If this was the case we could just have Elisa default to parsing those directories too. Unfortunatly the progress on this has stalled due to what I guess is a combination of issues, one is how to handle localizations (on disk or in GUI) and if the especially the first who does the work to make it happen.

For Elisa we will set specific directories for this first alpha release that can be changed in the elisa.conf file. What the long term solution will be will depend on what happens elsewhere in the community. I just hope we don’t need to have a file manager/chooser module in Elisa long term. At least not one many people would need to use.


#1 Anthony Batchelor on 07.08.06 at 01:54

Instead of selecting a directory, why don’t you use beagle or crawl ~/ to find the media and add it to the media library, no questions asked.

I understand that you would then get some extra hits, but it is probably nicer to remove the odd unwanted result than have to add the directories of your media.

Did I mention that I would like a global store for all media information for Music, Video, Photos etc… where it is stored, how many times has it been accessed, the medias rating/tags etc.? Then I would never have to add it again when I swap music players\video players\set-top box style media centres. More importantly I would never lose the associated meta-data and context of a piece of media just because I want to use a different viewer.

I guess that would be a better way to solve the problem, but would require a community effort to get the media players to join forces and develop a standard for them to follow…

#2 Emmanuele Bassi on 07.09.06 at 03:51

there was an initial approach, especially for ISVs, for common “desktop places” using bookmarks, on the wiki:

I’ll revamp the page and lay out a coherent proposal, not that we have the API for it.

#3 IHD on 07.18.06 at 05:53

~/Music, ~/Pictures, ~/Movies, etc. are dumb. As Anthony said above, beagle (or one of the other indexers) is definitely the way to go.

You will (hopefully) never want to browse and list the files according to their directory in Elisa. Instead, you will want to do it by metadata, and that is exactly what the indexers are good at.

Try to switch to using the indexers as early in development as you can, so you never have to worry about browsing directories.