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204 - Offline Status Indicators

Chameleon CentralController (CCC) is used to export My Movies metadata directly to CMC's Movie DB, and manage User Accounts and Parental Restrictions, and tracks Watch History and WatchLists on a per-user basis.
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Pauven
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204 - Offline Status Indicators

Post by Pauven » Wed Nov 25, 2020 5:18 pm

TL;DR:

If CCC is not reachable to sync, CMC will operate in an "Offline" mode, showing previously synced collection data so that you can still browse and watch media.

CMC will not show any pop-up style error messages, so that non-techy users won't be inconvenienced.
Instead, Status Indicators inside the circular Sync icon will indicate connectivity status:

  • empty icon = Healthy - CCC and My Movies General Service online
  • ! = CCC is not reachable (CCC down, CCC PC down, or Network Issue)
  • MM! - CCC is online, My Movies General Service is down
  • FE = Healthy, but CCC is busy running a Full Export and can't sync now, try again later
  • JPG = CMC is copying artwork from CCC in the background, don't exit until this is complete

Note: The Status Indicator may not represent the current status, and may be old data. It refelcts the last time CMC attempted to contact CCC, which might have been minutes or hours earlier. To see the current status, do a SmartSync.

Skip to the next chapter: 301 - Introduction to User Accounts



What is "Offline" Mode?
If you are a long-time My Movies on Windows Media Center user, you've probably had the experience where you could not access My Movies in WMC because the My Movies services were not running. To resolve this, you would have to exit WMC and get My Movies going again, then restart WMC.

CMC will behave differently.

If CMC cannot reach CCC, CMC will automatically revert to an "Offline" mode, and will still let you browse your collection as a snapshot of the last time it was synced to CCC.

Additionally, CMC will NOT annoy you with pop-up warnings or errors that CCC cannot be reached. After all, how do you expect your non-techy wife, young kids, or new-to-CMC guests to handle a pop-up error complaining about CCC - they simply won't know what to do.

Instead, CMC will just work. You can browse your collection, watch movies and TV shows, manage your WatchLists and Watched History, update your display preferences, etc. Basically, all the stuff you would normally be able to do. And any local data changes will be queued up for the next time that CMC is able to connect to CCC.

Sounds pretty nice, right?

But you as the "system administrator" is probably thinking that you need some way to tell that CMC is running in Offline mode. Luckily,, CMC has you covered with the Offline Status Indicators.


Offline Status Indicators
To indicate several different conditions, the Sync Icon on the top icon bar will display various messages inside the circle.

It is important to understand that in CMC v4.0, these indicators are only updated when CMC attempts to communicate with CCC (see the previous chapter on Syncing to CCC to see a list of these events). If CMC hasn't attempted to communicate to CCC in half an hour, then that Status Indicator is now half and hour old. To refresh the status to get the current state, the easiest way is probably to just run a SmartSync.

Below are the various Status Indicators you may observe:

Successful Connection:
image.png
image.png (13.62 KiB) Viewed 719 times

An empty circle means everything was working normally the last time CMC communicated with CCC. CCC was online, and MMGS was also online the last time CCC connected to MMGS.


CCC Offline:
image.png
image.png (11.85 KiB) Viewed 719 times

An exclamation point (!) indicates that CCC could not be reached the last time CMC communicated with CCC. The CCC app, or the CCC PC, might be down. Network issues might also be a factor. CMC is running in "Offline" mode.


My Movies General Service Offline:
image.png
image.png (14.25 KiB) Viewed 719 times

"MM!" indicates that CCC is online and reachable, but that the My Movies API was down the last time CCC tried to communicate with the API. This usually means that the "My Movies General Service" (MMGS), which is a background service that provides the API service, is not running. Sometimes MMGS has an error and closes on its own. Restarting your My Movies PC is one way to resolve this, but typically it's quicker and easier to open the Windows Services, find "My Movies General Service", and start it back up.

Note that there are other scenarios that might cause this state. For example, if the API Key is wrong in CCC, it will fail to communicate with MMGS, and MM! will show in CMC. For this reason, it can be helpful to review the CCC log output to determine why it is failing to connect to MMGS.

It's also helpful to remember that the MM! indicator can be old data, and is just a snapshot in time. That snapshot is from the last time CCC tried to communicate with MMGS (by default every 5 minutes but only if you have the auto-export running), and that snapshot was sent to CMC the last time it checked in with CCC for updates. It's not meant to indicate the current state, but rather to help you know that a My Movies offline state has occurred and may need your attention.

Once CCC has successfully communicated with MMGS, followed by CMC successfully communicating with CCC, the MM! indicator will be updated to the current state.


CCC is busy running a Full Export:
image.png
image.png (12.38 KiB) Viewed 719 times

When CCC is in the middle of processing a Full Export, it cannot process Sync requests with CMC. CCC will tell CMC it is busy, and CMC will display the FE abbreviation (for Full Export) in the Sync icon.

This is primarily to let you know why any collection changes are not currently showing in CMC. After the Full Export is complete, then the next time CMC AutoSyncs it will automatically perform a Full Sync.

This inability of CCC to handle Sync requests while running a Full Export is the reason we had you wait for the first Full Export to finish before configuring CMC to connect to CCC - it would have failed had you not waited. Perhaps you didn't wait and discovered this yourself!


Background Artwork Sync in progress:
image.png
image.png (10.7 KiB) Viewed 719 times

This last Sync icon status indicator doesn't directly indicate CCC connectivity status, but it does indicate that everything is healthy. JPG, short for jpeg, a common image file format, indicates that CMC is currently busy copying movie artwork from CCC to the local artwork cache. As all the artwork for your entire My Movies collection is often several Gigabytes, it often takes several minutes for this copy process to complete.

Since CMC will only copy artwork after a successful movie data sync with CCC, if you see JPG then you know that CCC is up and communicating.

What you cannot infer is that My Movies General Service is up, since CMC can still sync with CCC even if MMGS is down. Once the artwork sync is complete, the JPG indicator will disappear. At that point, if MMGS is down, then MM! will be displayed.

One last point here worth mentioning is that you should refrain from exiting CMC while the background artwork sync is running. If you exit early, then the local artwork cache may be missing artwork, and the next time you use CMC browsing performance may be slower if it is retrieving artwork from CCC over the network in real-time. If you do exit before the JPG indicator turns off, then you should remember to do a Full Sync the next time you use CMC, which will trigger the background artwork sync to process from the beginning.


Proceed to the next chapter: 301 - Introduction to User Accounts
President, Chameleon Consulting LLC
Author, Chameleon MediaCenter

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