With a number of volunteers helping us to tag albums ripped to the FLAC file format, it is difficult to keep all of the installations of mp3tag identical to a master installation in our offices. This is especially true as we are continually improving the quantity of tags and our tagging methodology for the files we add to our large FLAC-based music library on our servers. Some of our volunteers work from home, and some are in distant locations.
Rather than requiring a complex method of unzipping a configuration file by volunteers inexperienced with the process, it would be better if we could keep all instances of mp3tag synced to the master installation in a near autonomous manner.
It seems to me that all it would take is to make a backup of the master configuration into an executable that we could take or send it to any workstation, wherein each user could simply execute the file which would bring his or her installation into alignment with the master configuration with near hands-off ease.
Requiring that they figure out how and where to unzip a new configuration file that we send to them on a recurring basis is a procedure that it too complex for them to master and unnecessary. Maintaining ten or more PCs in this manner is impractical.
If you installed a "portable" installation on a network drive that is accessible for your users, you could run MP3tag from there.
The "portable" installation takes care that modifications of configurations are stored in the "portable" folder and are therefore available at startup of MP3tag without the necessity to distribute the configuration to many client pcs.
Alternatively, you could use a synchronization program like "Synctoy" (free from Microsoft) to distribute the data. Would require a little discipline to trigger the sync-process after each local session.
Therefore Microsoft or someone else has established the 'special folder' with the name %APPDATA%, which points to the hidden folder, where an application stores user created data, custom settings and other information needed by the application.
Open a command prompt and execute the command: SET APPDATA
The current content of the 'environment variable' %APPDATA% will be displayed.
Write the text: %APPDATA%
... into the address bar within the Windows Explorer or the Internet Explorer and press [ENTER].
An explorer window should be opened in the related folder, ...
whose location may vary depending on the version of the current windows system.
This is a promising idea for our main installations of mp3tag in our radio station. However there is still the issue to solve when each of our volunteers does tagging at home. In fact, all of us do it at home sometimes, and some do it at home exclusively, bringing in the finished files on a USB drive.
In the 'portable scheme' mentioned above, is there a problem running multiple sessions on different machines on the network at the same time?
P.S. I still think mp3tag configurations should be saved as a self-extracting archive.
Mp3tag has always been sorely missing a means of easily importing a saved configuration. I've never understood why that is. It's a very professionally done piece of software except in a couple of key areas such as this one.
MP3tag does not operate a database with a locking mechanism to safeguard internal files.
So, if really several users run MP3tag at the same time with access to the same configuration files then you either get an error when 2 users try to write configuration data at the same time or you experience that the last one wins. THis means that any modifications from other users may be lost.
How do you solve your problem with other applications like word processors that access central templates or data files?
Our users would be instructed to not alter and then save a different configuration. Our administrator(s) would be the only person or persons charged with updating the configuration. Of course that's the plan. Whether or not it works is another story.
Although the portable installation seems like a good solution for those on the LAN at our radio station, it doesn't solve the problem of keeping off-site (at home users) installations in sync. Sending a simple self-installing version of the configuration is still a preferred solution to keeping multiple users up-to-date.
I'm still hoping that the config file can be saved as a self-extracting file that can be run directly from an email (as an attachment) or from the Downloads folder without any special knowledge on the part of the users, many of which are part-time volunteers.
It is very important to us that the files we add to our large digital music library are tagged in a consistent and complete manner. A consistent configuration is important, especially as we expand the number and types of tags we add to files after ripping.
This is exactly what a portable installation will do: instead of having files in the user folder and also in the program folder, you have all files including all configurations and other settings in the installation folder.
You only have to pack that program folder into a self-extracting archive (for email exchange) or copy the whole program folder to a thumb drive and start the program from there and you are done.
if your volunteers are able to operate email programs, they should be able to extract archives with full path definitions in them.
Your system administrator has to take the effort of creating a portable installation as master.
Hmm, if you do need such a functionality of delivering data by a self extracting or self installing packet,
as an essential part of your 'business philosophy', ...
then try it out, how the proposal of creating a self-extracting data file can be integrated into the workflow.
Well, regular applying of WinRAR may cost one license fee.
At no costs 7zip can create self extracting archive (http://www.7-zip.de/download.html).
7zip provides several SFX modules, from which one needs to be combined with the 7z-archive.
But I do not know yet for sure, if the sfx process and the "Installer Config file format" supports automatically installing into a dedicated folder in the end-user environment, ...
for example by evaluating the environment variable %APPDATA%.
This needs further test time.
I think I understand what you are suggesting. Would a user at a remote location have to have a thumb drive upon which to extract the archive? It seems to me that the target location for files that need to be tagged would have to have the same path on each user's machine. Probably the only common location would be a file folder on the C:\ drive. CDs that are ripped would have to be ripped to that folder, say C:\FLAC files\
See there ... A Simpler Way to clone a complex mp3tag setup
... last year ...
there has been described a simple method how to create a deployment package for all the files within the Mp3tag "Mp3tagSettings.zip" using the WinRAR software.