PR15821 (create empty artist info folders)
#1
I found this a little confusing in operation.  In the past export to separate files required the designation of the  "destination folder" on this same settings dialog.  Now the new options of  "artist folders only" and I guess changed behavior of "to library folders"  send the export to the "artist info folder" which is set elsewhere, and not to the "destination folder" that used to be set here.  It seems like it should be possible to use the "destination folder" for these options as well, also needs to be made clear to user (maybe in wiki if not in the settings help textbox) that the "artist information folder" must be set elsewhere.  I do see that if the artist info folder is not set it will popup a yesnodialog to take the user to the appropriate media music setting.

Also now I see we have a button on the dialog window where the onclick is a noop.  I assume that doesn't cause any problem.

scott s.
.
maintainer of skin  Aeon MQ5 mods for post-Gotham Kodi releases:
Matrix see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Martix release thread
Leia see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Leia release thread
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#2
I have just finished testing this.

It became apparent from some user feedback that using the option To library folders prevented users from easily further curating their library once the Artist folders had been created. The Artist folders only option alleviates this problem by creating empty artist folders without the NFO Files and artwork that prevented online lookups. These folders must be created in the Artist Information folder location. Adding the facility to allow users to select a folder may cause them to become confused and inadvertently select a different location and then wonder why their library is not working.

You could never set a Destination folder using the To library folders option in prior versions of v18.

The Separate files for each item should be seen as kind of a portable backup. Export it to where you want, do with it what you will as it won't affect Kodi in any way.

To clarify...

Single file... Export to a single xml file containing all albums and artists additional info. No artwork is exported. This can be imported by Kodi
To library folders... Export nfo files. Artist NFO Files to the Artist Information folder. Album nfo files to the album folders. This is scanned by Kodi
Separate files for each item... User selected location and Artist folders are created with album subfolders. NFO's and artwork are saved to relevant folders. Cannot be used by Kodi
Artist folders only... Creates empty Artist folders to populate the Artist Information Folder used by Kodi. Can be run everytime new albums are added to the library to create the new Artist folders.
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#3
So I guess we can say that we will never export nor scan the "source" folder tree for artist nfo or art?   Or if the user does nothing in settings, we still can get artist art/nfo from the "source", we just can't export artist nfo/art there?

scott s.
.
maintainer of skin  Aeon MQ5 mods for post-Gotham Kodi releases:
Matrix see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Martix release thread
Leia see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Leia release thread
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#4
Thanks for nice explanation @Karellen, but disappointed you found operation a little confusing @scott967. Actually I don't understand how hiding unused fields, and adding some text that explains what an option does can make it more confusing, so surely this is better and you were even more confused before? Lets try to dig into this - not to prove my rightness, but to try and see if things can be improved further.
 
(2019-03-28, 00:35)scott967 Wrote: In the past export to separate files required the designation of the  "destination folder" on this same settings dialog. 
And it still does, this has not changed.
 
(2019-03-28, 00:35)scott967 Wrote: ...I guess changed behavior of "to library folders"  send the export to the "artist info folder" which is set elsewhere, and not to the "destination folder" that used to be set here. 
Again I think you misremember, "To Library folders" has never allowed entry of destination folder here. Its function is to export artist stuff to artist folders in the Artist Information Folder and album stuff to the folder containing the music files for that album (providing it is unique to that album). This has not changed.

 
(2019-03-28, 00:35)scott967 Wrote: It seems like it should be possible to use the "destination folder" for these options as well,
Yes it is. Using "To separate files" you can export NFO, art or nothing (for artists only) that makes empty folders, to a destination of your choice.

 
(2019-03-28, 00:35)scott967 Wrote: ...also needs to be made clear to user (maybe in wiki if not in the settings help textbox) that the "artist information folder" must be set elsewhere. 
Yes the functionally rich export facility needs a clear wiki. I strongly believe in giving expert users the power to do things in Kodi, but the trick is doing that without confusing the novice. Export is on the border of this, and I'm sure some people would remove it because of that. I hope we can work to make it as intuitive as possible instead.
 
(2019-03-28, 00:35)scott967 Wrote: Also now I see we have a button on the dialog window where the onclick is a noop.  I assume that doesn't cause any problem.
No problems as far as I know.

 
(2019-03-28, 22:22)scott967 Wrote: So I guess we can say that we will never export nor scan the "source" folder tree for artist nfo or art?
The intention is to encourage users to use the Artist Information Folder because it offers so many advantages, but not to compel. This means that scanning is backwards compatible and will look for album artist nfo and art in a folder above the album folders providing a folder unique to the album artist can be found.

Exporting to a source folder can get very messy, hence discouraging it. To do the reverse of the backwards compatible scanning could be so confusing e.g. only album artists with unique folders (containing all music by them and only them) could have nfo and art exported. What to do with the rest?

However if the user wants they can limit themselves to one music source, set the AIF to be that source and have music in artist folders immediately beneath it named precisely, and containing music by that artist and only that artist. Then export "to library folders" will in effect put the output in the source tree. Likewise they can use "To separate folders" to achieve the same.

What export in v18 (not new to recent PR) won't do is put artist stuff in the folder above albums regardless of folder name. It will scan from there, but not export to it. It means that while users can fetch album artist stuff from the original places, they can't easily put it back there using export, but they can easily put it somewhere better.
 
(2019-03-28, 22:22)scott967 Wrote: Or if the user does nothing in settings, we still can get artist art/nfo from the "source", we just can't export artist nfo/art there?
Having set an Artist Information Folder does not prevent scanning from finding artist art and NFO in the source tree, but it will look at the AIF first and only then fallback when art and NFO not found. Export no, but as I explained users can get near (if they really, really want to) by imposing the AIF structure into the source tree.

We are using export as a "cheap" media management utility to help users transition from the original limited artist stuff in source tree approach to the more versatile AIF approach. However it can be so hard to explain, and also avoid the export facility just looking too cluttered and confusing.

I see the benefits of an Artist Information Folder approach to artist art and nfo being worth this complexity:
  • Allows local art and nfo for all artists, not just album artists
  • Handles artists that have collaboration albums (with other artists)
  • Supports having multiple music sources - an easy way to organise and access your music
  • Liberates music from a strict artist/album folder hierarchy previously essential for local art and nfo
  • Avoids all the "where did that wrong art come from" issues that users used to get because their music was more mixed than they realised.

So how does that seem to you Scott? Anything that can be improved?
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#5
Firstly, I have been using the "artist info" folder as the source for scraping, and the destination for export since you first provided it.  It saved a massive amount of work that required extracting exported data from the single file export.

Prior to the PR, there was always a 2-step process in setting up a Kodi client
1.  Add the location of the artist info folder (read) in the music settings
2.  Add the location of the destination folder (write) in the export settings

I should note that my personal use is to leave all the album data in the traditional (source folder aka library) location as all files associated with a single album are located in a single folder (and no other data in that folder).  But I don't think that changes the principles of how the settings are used.  [As an aside, my main motivation for this is that I have a lot of art duplicated between music and video (music video) so I have identical source folder trees for music and music video.  That facilitates managing the art better.]

I _thought_ it was still possible to export artist data back to the source/library folders (album parent folder) with default settings.  I admit haven't tried this in at least a year.

Now the change with this PR:  with the new option to create empty artist folders this option changes the previous 2-step process, as step 1 now controls the location of both read AND write (but only for this option; not the existing option).  I don't have any problem with this; actually it seems the most logical method.  But it is a change.

My general feeling, and I think the most typical use case, would be default to using the artist info folder for all separate file exports, and allow use of a different export destination as an option for both the separate file export and the folder-create only "export". 

scott s.
.
maintainer of skin  Aeon MQ5 mods for post-Gotham Kodi releases:
Matrix see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Martix release thread
Leia see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Leia release thread
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#6
Scott I don't see all the changes that you describe. You say what we have after PR seems most logical so I'm not taking it as a problem, but I am confused and I like to be clear on what changes I have made! It is also possible that others may be confused, so worth seeking clarity and this reply is not just aimed at Scott. But sorry to all it is a long post, make a coffee and grab a sandwich Smile
 
(2019-03-29, 22:03)scott967 Wrote: Prior to the PR, there was always a 2-step process in setting up a Kodi client
1.  Add the location of the artist info folder (read) in the music settings
2.  Add the location of the destination folder (write) in the export settings
Both before and after this PR the location of the Artist Information Folder only needs setting once, and that happens on the Settings>Media>Music screen. When kind of export output is "To library folders" the user does not enter a destination on the export dialog. Before this PR it was a disabled control labelled "Destination Folder", after this PR the control is used to describe what this kind of export does. Both before and after the PR if the user clicks export and the AIF has not been set then they are taked to the setting to enter it.

So the PR change here is visual not functional - the user can not see where the AIF is or if it is blank from the export dialog (whereas previously they could in grey). Instead they are reminded that this kind of export will put artists in AIF and albums in music, I think that is more useful information.

Both before and after the PR when kind of export is "Separate files for each item" then the user can enter the destination and it is remembered next time. Perhaps this is what you are remembering as 2)?

 
(2019-03-29, 22:03)scott967 Wrote: I should note that my personal use is to leave all the album data in the traditional (source folder aka library) location as all files associated with a single album are located in a single folder (and no other data in that folder).  But I don't think that changes the principles of how the settings are used.
Yes album NFO and art in the album folder with the music files is the best place, in fact it is the only place that Kodi will look when scraping. Exporting them anywhere else is a test feature (see what it makes) or allows the user to do whatever else they want without impacting their library.
 
(2019-03-29, 22:03)scott967 Wrote: I _thought_ it was still possible to export artist data back to the source/library folders (album parent folder) with default settings.  I admit haven't tried this in at least a year.
Yes but it depends on what your source folder structure is. Again a v18 change but not this PR which I think has just made it more obvious what it has been doing since I implemented the improved export facility. If your structure is MyMusic/<artistname>/Album, and <artistname> matches what Kodi thinks that name should be then setting AIF to "MyMusic" then doing a "To Library Folders" export will put artist data into those folders. Similarly so will setting "MyMusic as the destination folder and doing a "Separate files for each item" export.

However if the <artistname> of the folder is different (unicode issues are most likely here, or using artist sortname) then you will get an extra folder for that artist instead, and with "Separate files for each item" the album data will be under that not in the one with the music files. If you export more than just album artists, then you will gain a lot of folders with just art and NFO and no music files which some will consider clutter. So using the folders in that way can be tricky, but I fear users will be attracted to it initially because it seems exactly like before when in fact it is different.

Previous versions of Kodi didn't use <artistname> for the artist folder, it could be called anything, but analysed the location of music files to try to deduce what it thought could be the artist folder (for album artists only) somewhere up the "source tree" [interesting term by the way but useful]. It sometimes got that wrong with confusing effects, and limited what artists could have art etc. In v18 we have sacrificed that dynamic (but flawed and restrictive) approach for something that can cover all artists accurately. I hope we can encourage users to transfer to using the AIF approach, especially those whose source folder structure is not exactly music/<artistname>/album

And to repeat it is only export that does not use artist folders determined by location of music files, scraping is backward compatible. There is no need for existing users to panic.
 
(2019-03-29, 22:03)scott967 Wrote: Now the change with this PR:  with the new option to create empty artist folders this option changes the previous 2-step process, as step 1 now controls the location of both read AND write (but only for this option; not the existing option).  I don't have any problem with this; actually it seems the most logical method.  But it is a change.
No, step 1) always controlled the (write) destination of "To library folders" and so now controls both that and "Artist folders only" output.
 
(2019-03-29, 22:03)scott967 Wrote: My general feeling, and I think the most typical use case, would be default to using the artist info folder for all separate file exports, and allow use of a different export destination as an option for both the separate file export and the folder-create only "export". 
Where the need for empty artist folders came up in the workflow was when users wanted to add local art and nfo for artists the scrapers didn't find anything for. They wanted to get the artist folder names right, and wanted to put data where the NFO scraper would find it (hence library folders). However exporting nfo for unscraped artists also meant having blank artist.nfo in many folders which would then prevent remote data being scraped. Hence the PR provides a simple way to create the empty but cotrrectly names folders in the AIF.

But if you for some reason do want these folders located somewhere else then that can be achieved by exporting "Separate files for each item" to that destination with only artists picked as "Items to export" (not albums), and both "Output information to NFO files" and "Include art work such as thumbnails and fanart" disabled (possible when items not include albums).
 
Is the probelm how kinds of export are named?
@Karellen has reminded me that having "To library folders" and  "Separate files for each item"  as kinds of export may be causing confusion, but I am at a loss how else to name thes things. To reiterate:

"To library folders": Export nfo files and/or art. Artist NFO Files to the Artist Information Folder, album NFO files to the album folders (along with music) - the primary locations scraped by Kodi.
"Separate files for each item": Exports nfo and/or art under an <artistname>/album structure  in a chosen destination. This is a diagnostic utility more than anything (see what export will do without impacting your library), but could be used to mimic older export behaviour if the music files are arranged in suitably named folders.

In previous versions, and still in export of video library, there is no choice of destination with "seperate files per entry", the NFO are put along with the media files which many would think of as the library folders. So "Separate files for each item" probably gets the user thinking what will happen is exactly the same as before as long as they pick their music source as the destination. As I have explained above it isn't, and neither is "To library folders". 

Trying to export artist data somewhere deduced from the location of all the related music files is flawed, so v18 does not do it. This is the biggest change to export, and means in v18 it will not always reproduce the same results as previous versions.

If someone has suggestions for better names (that will fit in a selection list) then I am happy to hear, otherwise all I can do is rely on some good wiki and repeat myself many times on the forum. Rolleyes
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#7
OK so I did some more experimenting (more or less black box) to see what happens.  I see the logic now (I think).  Out of curiosity, first I did a scan with default settings.   It seems like the "music folder" is treated as the default "artist info folder"  so if artist-X folder exists in the "music folder" tree it will be searched for nfo.  It seems like the album parent folder (regardless of name) is still searched for artist art?  So I have album with multiple album artist, and one of the artists gets assigned the art.

So next I tried to export artist folders only, and as expected got the yesno dialog to assign an artist info folder.  I assigned the artist info folder to the music source (music folder).   Then repeated the export of artist folder only, and as expected it created new folders if required (IOW if artist-x folder existed no change but if artist-y didn't exist it was created).  So then I did an nfo file export to library folders for all items.  That worked as expected.

However, there's no option to "include items that have not been scraped".  Is there some reason for this?

I then repeated export to library this time just selecting "include art work" and that seemed to work as expected, though I did have one anomaly (art not exported to artist).

Then I created an empty artist info folder and repeated and agin it seems to work logically.

I still see a need to export "template nfo files" when doing an export to library folders.  If I had that I wouldn't have any need to do a separate file export.

scott s.
.
maintainer of skin  Aeon MQ5 mods for post-Gotham Kodi releases:
Matrix see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Martix release thread
Leia see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Leia release thread
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#8
Thanks for testing @scott967 
(2019-04-02, 22:12)scott967 Wrote: It seems like the "music folder" is treated as the default "artist info folder"  so if artist-X folder exists in the "music folder" tree it will be searched for nfo.  It seems like the album parent folder (regardless of name) is still searched for artist art?  So I have album with multiple album artist, and one of the artists gets assigned the art.
For backwards compatibility v18 will pick up artist art from the album parent folder, providing that folder is unique to that artist and only that artist. But no, it is not treating it as the default AIF. If you have an album with multiple album artist then none of the artists gets assigned any art from the album parent folder or any where else in the music source tree.

For example
- if you only have one album by Beethoven/LPO/ Charles Mackerras, no other music related to those artists, and put that album below a parent folder with some art files, Kodi will not pick up that art.
- if you have albums by Alison Krauss all under one folder, albums by Robert Plant under another, and put the collaboration album "Raising Sand" by both of them either in one of their folders or even in a folder of its own, then Kodi will not pick up any art for either artist from the music source tree.

But if you have all the albums by ABBA in a folder, no other albums by ABBA anywhere else and no collaborations (I don't think there are any?) or random albums by other album artists in that folder, then Kodi will pick up art from the parent album folder regardless of how it is named, just like it has done before.
 
(2019-04-02, 22:12)scott967 Wrote: However, there's no option to "include items that have not been scraped".  Is there some reason for this?
Yes. The aim is to minimise confusion for the novice by reducing the options. Once you have added these unscraped NFO files to the Artist Information Folder they prevent bulk rescraping from filling any gaps (NFO is found and applied), and they are hard to spot amongst all the ones with previously scraped data. If done accidentally it is a mess that is difficult to correct.
 
(2019-04-02, 22:12)scott967 Wrote: I still see a need to export "template nfo files" when doing an export to library folders.  If I had that I wouldn't have any need to do a separate file export.
I don't understand this, can you explain more? I actually find separate file exports are superior in many ways, and see the ability to create templates as a minority/expert use editing aid which would be better if worked for just one selected artist at a time.

An expert user is able to send NFO files for unscraped artists using "Separate files for each item" and either selecting the same path as their AIF as the destination, or putting the output somewhere else and then moving the files they want. The functionality is still there but slightly less obvious. But I don't understand the use, why would you want to send NFO files for unscraped artists to the AIF on mass? I assume that if making a "template" NFO file it is because you want to edit it in some way, hence it is going to be worked on and locating it in the AIF when completed is no difficulty.

To single file export does not include unscraped artists or albums - no scraped data means nothing to export/import
 
(2019-04-02, 22:12)scott967 Wrote: I then repeated export to library this time just selecting "include art work" and that seemed to work as expected, though I did have one anomaly (art not exported to artist). Then I created an empty artist info folder and repeated and agin it seems to work logically.
I will check on that.
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