Author Topic: Using catalog functions while "offline"  (Read 1025 times)

Offline krubin

  • Newcomer
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Using catalog functions while "offline"
« on: June 06, 2019, 05:20:17 PM »
I did a scan to see if this issue has been raised and didn't see it.  Forgive me if it is duplicative.

It would be very helpful if some of the core rating/sorting/classifying functions were available on images even if the originals are offline.  For example, I would like to be able to star-rate and/or color-categorize images based on thumbnails or preview pics without necessarily having the RAW images directly accessible.

In my workflow I "import" and transfer images to external drive media, but often do my review and sorting remotely.

Ideally this could be supported, with any edited changes queued until the offline media is available.  When media is available (perhaps automatically, or perhaps next time I'm in that particular view/contact sheet/etc., I would expect a dialog box asking if I want to "synch" or apply those changes to the now-available files.  Alternatively behaviors could be a setting/user/catalog preference.

Thanks for considering.  I wasn't sure whether to log this as a bug or feature request.

Offline Luiz Muzzi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 675
    • View Profile
    • Luiz Muzzi Photography
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2019, 05:37:04 AM »
Hi,
I am not sure but I think this is already possible if you have generated preview and thumbnail proxy images for offline or remote use (there is an option in Catalog Management). I do not use it because this way catalog takes a lot of space of my disk.
Regards,
- Luiz Muzzi

Offline krubin

  • Newcomer
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 11:35:56 AM »
I may be doing something wrong.  I did create the thumbnails and am able to browse all of this content offline, but when I try to change any of the color tags or star ratings I receive an error indicating that the images are not accessible.

Offline Kirk Baker

  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Superhero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 20262
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits, Inc.
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 12:15:31 PM »
I may be doing something wrong.  I did create the thumbnails and am able to browse all of this content offline, but when I try to change any of the color tags or star ratings I receive an error indicating that the images are not accessible.

Only locally available images can be edited at this time.

-Kirk

Offline krubin

  • Newcomer
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 05:20:17 PM »
Are these offline features planned?  Limiting the ability to do select/sort/catalog is a serious detractor to the utility of PM+ IMHO.

Thanks!

Offline Kirk Baker

  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Superhero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 20262
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits, Inc.
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 07:16:28 PM »
Are these offline features planned?  Limiting the ability to do select/sort/catalog is a serious detractor to the utility of PM+ IMHO.

We'll have to weigh the benefit vs. delay in finishing the product for those that don't need such a feature.  PM has always made metadata changes to the files themselves (or sidecars) so changing to a de-sync system could be rather troubling for some users.

At this time you're the only one that has requested this feature.  If we get more people saying that the absence of this feature is a deal-breaker for them then we'd have to move towards implementing the feature.  That's really the criteria we use for all feature requests, along with whether the idea makes sense at all to implement.

-Kirk

Offline krubin

  • Newcomer
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 08:57:24 AM »
That is fair.  I would note, however, that you are entering a new paradigm with a catalog-based capability.  Clearly "classic" PM would have no need for offline processing as it was going direct-to-image and managing those files directly. 

Offline Kirk Baker

  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Superhero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 20262
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits, Inc.
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 10:16:20 AM »
That is fair.  I would note, however, that you are entering a new paradigm with a catalog-based capability.  Clearly "classic" PM would have no need for offline processing as it was going direct-to-image and managing those files directly.

That distinction is not lost on me. ;)

-Kirk

Offline carlseibert

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 96
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2019, 12:03:45 PM »
My $.02 here is that I would tread very lightly here. I like to see as little data as possible stored in the database, as opposed to embedded in the files.

One of the biggest strengths I see for PM+ is that all your data is embedded safely in the files. You don't have the Lightroom database of Damocles hanging over your head. If the database dies, there's no big worry, just trash it and rebuild it. (Apart from loss of the collections, and, frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing them stored in separate flat files, like Snapshots.)

Interoperability with other programs would take a hit, too. If users are storing their assets in Photo Mechanic's DAM, that means by definition that they are using something else as their processing application. I think it's critical that when an edit is made in any part of Photo Mechanic, Plus or not, that it should read in any other program without requiring any machinations in Photo Mechanic.  (Notwithstanding that, depending on the destination app and file type, there may or may not be a command to issue there to read the edits.)




Offline Hayo Baan

  • Uber Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2433
  • Professional Photographer & Software Developer
    • View Profile
    • Hayo Baan - Photography
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2019, 12:27:22 PM »
Hi Carl,

That's basically what PM+ will be is doing :)
All metadata is (always) stored within the (sidecar) file, interoperability with other programs is straightforward (that is as long as those programs also write their changes to the files, or can be instructed to do so – like Lightroom).
Hayo Baan - Photography
Web: www.hayobaan.nl

Offline krubin

  • Newcomer
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2019, 07:29:46 AM »
I absolutely understand this perspective, and the interoperability concerns that are raised with other packages (I'm an IT guy). 

That said, there is little need for an offline catalog if all of the original files are required to be online to do any activities.

I can see this working as a cache, where "offline" updates are cached until they can be permanently written to the sidecars, which would be the authoritative reference.  I realize that this introduces substantial implementation headaches, but inability to do any work with an offline catalog renders PM+ to basically PM + an offline browser, which I think falls well short of its potential.

- Ken

Offline DaveBurbank

  • Newcomer
  • *
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2019, 07:42:43 AM »
There's some really good discussion in this thread. FWIW, I had hoped that I could create a catalog of all of my images regardless of where they were and whether they were currently online. Furthermore, I hoped (expected?) that I would be able to spend time in PM+ enriching my photos' metadata with additional keywords, ratings, IPTC data even if the images were offline. And then when the images are back online in the future I'd like to save/write all of my metadata changes back to the original photos/sidecars.

I believe this functionality already exists in Lightroom. My hope/expectation was that PM+ would also do this but do it better.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 10:05:41 AM by DaveBurbank »

Offline syncrasy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 93
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 08:06:03 PM »
I am adding another vote for offline catalog editing. I would use the functionality to add new metadata to catalogued images in a "travel/return" scenario.

To test this on PM+, I created a "travel" catalog on my desktop and copied the catalog folder/files to my laptop. When I tried to add metadata (two persons' names) to all the (preview) images using the Metadata (IPTC) Template, I got an error popup that says, "None of the selected photos are in a format that can be captioned by this version of Photo Mechanic Plus." (See attached.)

From a usability perspective, if adding metadata is not possible with an offline catalog, then the error message should state so. Currently the message implies that the photos could be captioned if only they were in the right format or if I obtained a different version of PM+. It doesn't give me any clue that the issue is related to being offline. (Perhaps the current language is so vague because you might decide to add the functionality in the future.)

But I would much prefer that you add offline catalog functionality rather than just fix the message wording.

Here's an example of the value of offline editing... I just returned from a trip with a Media Pro "travel" catalog created expressly for the purpose of editing metadata for hundreds of scanned historical photos using a second computer (my laptop) while interviewing elderly people about the photos (to get names of people, places, historical notes, etc.). When I returned home I was able to merge the new metadata into the original images on my desktop (see attached dialog below). Media Pro saved me dozens of hours (if not days) of rework. If I am understanding the current plans for PM+ functionality correctly, I would not be able to do this with PM+.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 08:45:04 PM by syncrasy »
-- Mark

Offline Kirk Baker

  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Camera Bits Staff
  • Superhero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 20262
    • View Profile
    • Camera Bits, Inc.
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2019, 08:41:47 PM »
Mark,

I am adding another vote for offline catalog editing. I would use the functionality to add new metadata to catalogued images in a "travel/return" scenario.

To test this on PM+, I created a "travel" catalog on my desktop and copied the catalog folder/files to my laptop. When I tried to add metadata (two persons' names) to all the (preview) images using the Metadata (IPTC) Template, I got an error popup that says, "None of the selected photos are in a format that can be captioned by this version of Photo Mechanic Plus." (See attached.)

From a usability perspective, if adding metadata is not possible with an offline catalog, then the error message should state so. Currently the message implies that the photos could be captioned if only they were in the right format or if I obtained a different version of PM+. It doesn't give me any clue that the issue is related to being offline. (Perhaps the current language is so vague because you might decide to add the functionality in the future.)

But I would much prefer that you add offline catalog functionality rather than just fix the message wording.

Here's an example of the value of offline editing... I just returned from a trip with a Media Pro "travel" catalog created expressly for the purpose of editing metadata with a second computer (my laptop). When I returned home I was able to merge the new metadata into the original images on my desktop (see attached dialog below). Media Pro saved me dozens of hours (if not days) of rework. If I am understanding the current plans for PM+ functionality correctly, I would not be able to do this with PM+.

That is correct.  In the initial release of Photo Mechanic Plus we will not support metadata changes to non-local files.  I know this will be disappointing to you but we have to finalize on a feature set that we can complete this year and supporting edits that will sync-up with files when available is not something we can achieve in that time frame.

-Kirk

Offline carlseibert

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 96
    • View Profile
Re: Using catalog functions while "offline"
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2019, 03:09:19 PM »
Mark - You could probably do what you are talking about currently with a spreadsheet and Photo Mechanic's Code Replacement feature. There are several ways you could accomplish the task in regular old non-Plus Photo Mechanic, actually.

-Carl