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Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
28-03-2019, 13:22
Post: #1
Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
I have noticed a behavior that seems inconsistent (or, at least, unexpected) to me when browsing a music collection. The behavior is probably best explained with an example and a few screenshots. Let's say, I am browsing the works of B. Britten

[Image: Screenshot_2019-03-28_123236.jpg]

and select the string quartet No. 2. There is only one album in my collection that contains this work and the next screen is

[Image: Screenshot_2019-03-28_123244.jpg]

Notice that I am presented with three single tracks and that there is no direct way of playing them without opening a further dialogue. Contrast this situation to the following

[Image: Screenshot_2019-03-28_123901.jpg]

Here, I am browsing through F. Schubert's works. Selecting the string quartet No. 14 yields

[Image: Screenshot_2019-03-28_123908.jpg]

because there are two albums in my music collection that contain this work. Selecting "2 albums" in the above screen indeed yields

[Image: Screenshot_2019-03-28_123912.jpg]

Selecting the second album yields the following screen

[Image: Screenshot_2019-03-28_123927.jpg]

Notice that now I can now directly play the four tracks by tapping the cursor arrow in the middle of the screen. Why cannot I do so for Britten's string quartet No. 2?

It seems that MinimServer treats the leaves of a browsing tree in a branch-dependent fashion. This seems inconsistent to me and is the motivation for this post. Specifically, I would like to see the album artwork and the "play now" cursor control also in the case of Britten's string quartet.

Best,
nbpf
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28-03-2019, 14:44
Post: #2
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
I don't see the screenshots in your post, just some filenames.
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28-03-2019, 15:41
Post: #3
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
(28-03-2019 14:44)simoncn Wrote:  I don't see the screenshots in your post, just some filenames.
But if you right click on the file names you can select "View image" (in Firefox) or "Open image in new tab" (in Chrome), can't you? I have inserted the links using the "Insert image" button above, is there another way of embedding a screenshot? Thanks, nbpf
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28-03-2019, 23:12
Post: #4
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
In the first case, the parent container of the selected work is not an album-specific container, just a generic container that could contain anything.

In the second case, the parent container of the selected work is an album-specific container that is known to contain files from a single album. This kind of container is populated with additional metadata by MinimServer and it appears that BubbleUPnP uses this additional metadata as a trigger to show the special view that enables direct play.
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29-03-2019, 08:20
Post: #5
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
A solution is to add GROUP tags to files that are part of a musical work (see this section). When you are browsing, this creates an extra container representing the work as a whole and the extra container appears in BubbleUPnP with an arrow button for playing the complete work.
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29-03-2019, 10:17
Post: #6
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
(29-03-2019 08:20)simoncn Wrote:  A solution is to add GROUP tags to files that are part of a musical work (see this section). When you are browsing, this creates an and the extra container appears in BubbleUPnP with an arrow button for playing the complete work.

Thanks, I'll try that but I am convinced that what we see here is a MinimServer bug, not the expected behavior: the problem is that, in terms of metadata, there is absolutely no difference between the first and the second case.

In both cases, we have to do with subsets of exactly one album with full-fledged metadata. The reason why MinimServer treats the first case differently from the second case is that it reaches the first one through a slightly different search path: after selecting Britten's string quartet No. 2, MinimServer does not display a screen with something like

1 album
3 items
...

because it finds exactly one match and hence (intelligent browsing) it avoids presenting redundant information. The fact that this information is not shown to the user does not mean, however, that it should be neglected: the next screen should contain full album information just as in the Schubert case.

The fact that the three tracks of Britten's string quartet No. 2 are part of an album with full metadata can be easily verified by selecting "complete album" in the screen that presents only loose tracks.

I have also reproduced this behavior throughout my collection: all searches that are matched by a single album end up in a Britten-like screen. All searches that are matched by two or more albums behave as one would expect. This can be very confusing and my wife, for instance, finds it very annoying.

Wrapping up: I believe that MinimServer should create an extra container representing the work as a whole both in the second and in the first case. The fact that, for searches that are matched by exactly one album, certain redundant information is not presented to the user, should not prevent MinimServer from creating a suitable container for the album that matches the search. At least, I do not see any logical reason why it should not work this way.

From a different perspective: the MinimServer browsing scheme is designed in such a way that it is not possible for a user to obtain an empty result. Under these premises, I would expect that any result that is a subset of one or more albums with associated full metadata is treated in the same way. This is not the case in the current MinimServer implementation.

Thanks for looking into this issue! Best,
Nicola
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29-03-2019, 16:46
Post: #7
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
(29-03-2019 08:20)simoncn Wrote:  A solution is to add GROUP tags to files that are part of a musical work (see this section). When you are browsing, this creates an extra container representing the work as a whole and the extra container appears in BubbleUPnP with an arrow button for playing the complete work.
I have checked the section, thanks! Still, I do not think that I want to use groups, I have already populated a "work" tag with suitable values. I like the standard way albums that contain more than one work are displayed, I do not wont works to be wrapped in another container. The only thing that bugs me is the fact that, as explained in my previous post, certain album subsets are treated different from certain other album subsets. I think this is a programming error, don't you think so?
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29-03-2019, 21:29
Post: #8
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
(29-03-2019 16:46)nbpf Wrote:  I have checked the section, thanks! Still, I do not think that I want to use groups, I have already populated a "work" tag with suitable values. I like the standard way albums that contain more than one work are displayed, I do not wont works to be wrapped in another container. The only thing that bugs me is the fact that, as explained in my previous post, certain album subsets are treated different from certain other album subsets. I think this is a programming error, don't you think so?

No, I don't think so. For your specific use case (using BubbleUPnP as the control point and wanting to play a group of tracks in sequence without using MinimServer's grouping feature), it doesn't work as you would like. In other cases where the selected tracks are part of one album but were not selected by browsing by Work and would not normally all be played in sequence, adding an extra container for the partial album to the browsing hierarchy would require an extra browsing step before being able to play any of the tracks and I am sure that some other users would not welcome this change.

It would be possible for MinimServer to show a partial album container in addition to the selected tracks but this adds clutter and redundancy for the normal use case (as described above) and would require the introduction of a new kind of browsing container (partial album plus album tracks) that appears nowhere else in MinimServer.

The metadata that MinimServer sends for the tracks is the same in both cases (with and without the intermediate partial album container) and it isn't clear to me why BubbleUPnP shows the album-like view with a play button in one case but not in the other case. I will contact the author of BubbleUPnP to ask him about this.

In summary, this a complex area with various design trade-offs for different browsing use cases. These trade-offs don't just affect the container structure that MinimServer sends to the control point but also produce different results with different control points because of differences in how these control points work. Given this, I don't think it is reasonable to describe the current behaviour as a programming error.
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29-03-2019, 23:05
Post: #9
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
(29-03-2019 21:29)simoncn Wrote:  
(29-03-2019 16:46)nbpf Wrote:  I have checked the section, thanks! Still, I do not think that I want to use groups, I have already populated a "work" tag with suitable values. I like the standard way albums that contain more than one work are displayed, I do not wont works to be wrapped in another container. The only thing that bugs me is the fact that, as explained in my previous post, certain album subsets are treated different from certain other album subsets. I think this is a programming error, don't you think so?

No, I don't think so. For your specific use case (using BubbleUPnP as the control point and wanting to play a group of tracks in sequence without using MinimServer's grouping feature), it doesn't work as you would like. In other cases where the selected tracks are part of one album but were not selected by browsing by Work and would not normally all be played in sequence, adding an extra container for the partial album to the browsing hierarchy would require an extra browsing step before being able to play any of the tracks and I am sure that some other users would not welcome this change.

It would be possible for MinimServer to show a partial album container in addition to the selected tracks but this adds clutter and redundancy for the normal use case (as described above) and would require the introduction of a new kind of browsing container (partial album plus album tracks) that appears nowhere else in MinimServer.

The metadata that MinimServer sends for the tracks is the same in both cases (with and without the intermediate partial album container) and it isn't clear to me why BubbleUPnP shows the album-like view with a play button in one case but not in the other case. I will contact the author of BubbleUPnP to ask him about this.

In summary, this a complex area with various design trade-offs for different browsing use cases. These trade-offs don't just affect the container structure that MinimServer sends to the control point but also produce different results with different control points because of differences in how these control points work. Given this, I don't think it is reasonable to describe the current behaviour as a programming error.
You are right: I have checked with Linn Kazoo and the behavior is perfectly consistent in Schubert-like cases and in Britten-like cases. Thus, this appears to be an error in BubbleUPnP. Sorry for the noise and thanks for your support! Best, Nicola
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01-04-2019, 18:47
Post: #10
RE: Intelligent browsing: inconsistent behavior?
(29-03-2019 21:29)simoncn Wrote:  
(29-03-2019 16:46)nbpf Wrote:  I have checked the section, thanks! Still, I do not think that I want to use groups, I have already populated a "work" tag with suitable values. I like the standard way albums that contain more than one work are displayed, I do not wont works to be wrapped in another container. The only thing that bugs me is the fact that, as explained in my previous post, certain album subsets are treated different from certain other album subsets. I think this is a programming error, don't you think so?

...

The metadata that MinimServer sends for the tracks is the same in both cases (with and without the intermediate partial album container) and it isn't clear to me why BubbleUPnP shows the album-like view with a play button in one case but not in the other case. I will contact the author of BubbleUPnP to ask him about this.

...
Thanks, it would be great if BubbleUPnP would behave consistently with MinimServer! Best, nbpf
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