default settings lead to contradictory behaviour.

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CameronD
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:28 pm
Location: Australia

default settings lead to contradictory behaviour.

Post by CameronD » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:29 am

This post relates to several settings whose default values do not make sense to me, and lead to erratic behaviour in some cases where the same images are accessed/manipulated by more than one program,or by xnview with multiple database instances (running on more than one PC or with multiple users).

I refer to:
  • file modification date is not set correctly: Settings->general->file operations "Keep original date/time for saving"
  • file modification date is still not set correctly: rotation, or edit IPTC/XMP: same setting , different context.
  • Settings->Metadata->IPTX&XMP-> "Export Rating/color in XMP metadata"
The problems arise because the default settings are asymmetric:
  • by default xnview will import ratings and colours but not export any changes, even if it knows the value in the file is in conflict with the db value. I can have a screen of XnviewMP showing both values at the same time in different windows.
  • xnview detects changes to file modification date as an indication to reread metadata from a file, but if it makes changes to a file, it does not adjust the file modification date to indicate this to other programs.
The consequence is that two versions of xnview running on two PCs looking at the same files shared over a network (or a usb drive I suppose) will probably end up disagreeing with each other. Some examples (assume default settings):
  • Xnview reads an image with an embedded rating; user changes rating using xnview; user changes some other metadata in another program, which updates file mod time; xnview rereads file and restores old rating
  • Xnview running on systems A and B read an image and save metadata to respective dbs; xnview A updates some data, and modifies file; system B does not see a file change and so does not reread the file to update its db.
Suggestions:

Saving XMP ratings and Colour

I can understand many users not wanting to write extra XMP details to a file, even though my personal preference is for as much metadata as possible to be within in the file, especially if it can be understood by other programs.
A compromise would be to have a third option, which is to not create new XMP entries, but always synchronize existing values. This would be a better default as it would avoid the potential for creating conflicting values.

File modification date/time

This has me baffled - I cannot think of any reason why the current default would be useful. The default says "make the file modification time not the file modification time". I have various file backup and synchronisation operations that rely on the assumption that the file modification time is what it says. Xnview itself relies on this for database updating.
OK, so you can probably guess that I would like the default option to be reversed.

If the current default is to be retained then is it possible to have a reminder prompt during system initialisation? In fact there are several options that could do with maybe being put on a second setup window as they can have major influence on the future operation.

Confusing options for File modification date/time

Irrespective of the default setting on the main settings menu, I have so far found three places saying something like "Keep original date/time for saving":
  1. settings->general ->file operations
  2. settings->Browser->misc->rotation
  3. edit IPTC window
The first problem is that even if I find the first one, there is no indication that the others exist, and therefore no hint to the user that selecting the main option will only do part of what is expected. In fact, I do not even know if the first version overrides the other ones. In particular, the iptc edit window "option" tab was not even visible the first time I opened it, because the window was too narrow to show all tabs.

I suggest that all options relating to tinkering with file modification time be placed on the same page under general-> file operations. I think these options are something users would not want to change repeatedly and so they do not need to be in the other locations.
Last edited by CameronD on Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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xnview
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Re: default settings lead to contradictory bahaviour.

Post by xnview » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:20 pm

CameronD wrote:
  • file modification date is not set correctly: Settings->general->file operations "Keep original date/time for saving"
  • file modification date is still not set correctly: rotation, or edit IPTC/XMP: same setting , different context.
  • Settings->Metadata->IPTX&XMP-> "Export Rating/color in XMP metadata"
There was a thread, and a lot of users don't want this by default...
Pierre.

CameronD
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:28 pm
Location: Australia

Re: default settings lead to contradictory behaviour.

Post by CameronD » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:45 am

xnview wrote:There was a thread, and a lot of users don't want this by default...
I had several purposes in this thread:
  • If the current defaults are to remain then to suggest improvements to the option layout.
  • to ask if the defaults chosen for classic are still appropriate for MP - I can't answer that because I do not understand the original reasons
  • to point out the problems with contradictory ratings/colours, and to suggest an improvement that should not be controversial.

In the classic forums, I have found a request for the option in 2006 and a statement that the default has been discussed in 2007.
But I still have not found the main discussions, which could give me an understanding why people want it that way.
All I have found are several posts where people have been confused and made mistakes because the default behaviour is not expected, and because the option appears in multiple contexts.

One possibility I can think of for the original preference is that XP was really bad at picking DateTaken out of a file, so using that as the sort column was very unreliable.
However, win 7 file explorer seems to have no problem with the date-taken column so it may be that the earlier reasons are less valid these days.
In any case I would have though Xnview provides a far superior browser for images.

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GeorgD
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Re: default settings lead to contradictory behaviour.

Post by GeorgD » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:18 pm

CameronD, thanks for your investigation :) This might the explanation for "mysterious" behavior I observed in the past.

What I consider major is that XnView(MP) seems to use file system modification date as a trigger to update it's database, but does (per default) not change the modification time when changing the file content. That leads to problems when multiple systems (e.g. Laptop+PC) access the same files (e.g. on a NAS) - a constellation that is not any more special for home use, as DSL routers have USB ports, TVs offer LAN & USB ports etc.

@Pierre: Please re-think about changing the triggers or the default settings so they harmonize with each other - thank you :)
In the XnView Wiki, you can improve the user guide / documentation / F1-help for XnView (classic/Windows) and for XnViewMP

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