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401 - Final CCC Configuration <- IMPORTANT!!!

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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401 - Final CCC Configuration <- IMPORTANT!!!

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

TL;DR:

CCC needs to be running all the time, to support CMC sync requests, and to automatically export changed data from My Movies. With a few settings, this automation is easy to setup!

In CCC go to Settings > Startup Options

Click "Schedule CCC to Launch when Windows Boots", enter your current Windows User Account password, then find the UAC prompt and "Allow" CCC Admin rights to create the scheduled task.

Enable the option to "Autostart Export on CCC program start", then Save.

On the Metadata Export tab are some settings for adjusting the frequency for exporting data from My Movies. We Highly Recommend you keep the default values, but you can adjust if needed (please read our guidance below before making any changes).

:!: Do NOT close CCC when you're done configuring - CCC should always be running, including the "Auto-Export Jobs". Instead of closing CCC, just minimize it - it will minimize to the System Tray.



Final Configuration of CCC for Automatic Operation
In chapter 104, you were guided through the "Initial CCC Configuration", which involved setting the password for CCC's network shared folder, and connecting to the My Movies API.

This was just enough to complete the first Full Export, after which we demonstrated how to browse your newly exported collection in CMC, and the utilize User Accounts to take CMC to the next level.

Now that you've gotten the hang of using CMC with CCC, it's time to revisit CCC's configuration to get things working for you automatically.

But first, you need an overview of the two main ways CCC syncs data from My Movies, and when they need to be used.



Auto-Exporting My Movies Collection Changes
On CCC's main control panel, there are two main buttons; "Run Full Export Now", which you previously used to perform the Full Export, and "Start Auto-Export Jobs", which quickly processes any My Movies changes you make to your collection data:

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Now that you've completed the Full Export, the Auto-Export Jobs will keep it up-to-date with any My Movies collection changes.

:!: The CMC + CCC solution is designed with the expectation that you will keep the Auto-Export Jobs running, all the time.

The Auto-Export Jobs will check the My Movies API for changed data at set intervals. By default, the scanning interval is set to 5 minutes, and it will be scanning for changes since the "Last Run". These parameters are set on the "Metadata Export" tab, though we DO NOT recommend changing them - these default values are the best values for most users.

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We have found that scanning more frequently than every 5 minutes has a tendency to overwhelm the My Movies API - especially if you are actively making collection changes in My Movies Collection Management - and this can cause hangs in all app (My Movies Collection Management, CCC, and CMC if it is syncing to CCC).

And do not change "Last Run" to another option unless you have a special need to export changes from a different timeframe (extremely rare).


Automatic Full Export Scheduling
While the Changes Only logic used by the Auto-Export Jobs is really good, it's not perfect. Due to limitations in the My Movies API, sometimes changes go unreported. And sometimes a change is processed, but CCC makes a mistake in how the change alters the previous data.

For this reason, CCC has been designed to run automatic Full Exports at regular intervals. This ensures that your exported data in CMC is always an accurate representation of your My Movies collection.

For now, we are recommending a Full Export once a week, though we may refine this recommendation in the future after we've had more user feedback on the Changes-Only accuracy. For this reason, we have scheduled a Full Export to run automatically on Thursdays at 2am. This day and time were chosen so that processing occurs in the middle of the night when you are probably asleep, and is ready to use before you get to the weekend, a popular time for watching movies.

If this day and time does not suit your preference, you can easily change the schedule on the "Metadata Export" tab:

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Keep in mind that CMC cannot sync to CCC while CCC is processing a Full Export. For this reason, try to schedule the Full Export to run at a time of day when you will not be using CMC. Of course, CMC will still operate in the "Offline" mode if CCC is busy performing a Full Export, so don't stress about this too much.

If your My Movies collection is fairly static, meaning you rarely make changes, a weekly Full Refresh may not be needed. You can change the schedule to Monthly if that suits you better, or completely disable it in the schedule options and run it manually using the "Run Full Export Now" button only when needed.

At the other end of the spectrum, while you can schedule the Full Export to run daily, we don't think this is needed, and since it exports Gigabytes of fresh artwork data each time, a daily Full Export may shorten the lifespan of your data drive.

:!: NOTE: The scheduled Full Refresh will always run as scheduled as long as CCC is running, even if the Auto-Export Jobs are not running. The only way to prevent the Full Refresh from running is to disable it in the schedule options.


Quick Summary of our Requirements
Before we go back into the settings to make our final configuration settings, let's do a quick recap of our objectives in configuring CCC:
  1. We want CCC to always be running to support Sync requests from CMC
  2. We want Auto-Export Jobs to always be running to export changes from My Movies
  3. We want a Full Export to run weekly (or as-needed according to your requirements)
And that's pretty much it. Not too bad, just 3 requirements. Let's go into CCC's Settings and set these up.


Scheduling CCC to Auto-Start
Open CCC's Settings and select the "Startup Options" tab. Below the blue "Local Windows Account Password" box are two buttons that will add a Windows Scheduled Task to auto-launch CCC:

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The button on the left will auto-start CCC when the PC boots up, even if you have not yet logged in. This is very similar to how the My Movies service is always running when the PC boots up. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND you use this option! When you click this button, you will be prompted for the password for your current Windows account - this is required in order to schedule the task to launch CCC, as it will be launching using your current account. If for some reason, this is not the account you want CCC to run-as, you need to log out and log back in as the appropriate user.

The button on the right will auto-start CCC, but only if you log into the PC first. We don't recommend this, because if you forget to log into the PC after it is restarted, then CCC will not be running, and CMC will fail to sync.

Regardless of which button you click, you will have to respond to the User Account Control (UAC) prompt to allow admin rights for CCC to add the scheduled task.

If the task was successfully created, the text on the button will change to indicate that it will delete the scheduled task, and the alternate button will be greyed out - CCC only allows you to configure one method or the other, but not both:

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Now that CCC is scheduled to Auto-Start on Boot (or Login), that addresses Requirements # 1 and 3 that we listed above. But we still need to start the "Auto-Export Jobs" automatically.


Automatically Running the Auto-Export Jobs
On the same settings tab beneath the task scheduling buttons are several options. The second option, "Autostart Export on CCC program start" needs to be checked. This way, when the scheduled task you configured above starts CCC, then CCC will self-click that "Start Auto-Export Jobs" button for you, beginning the 5-minute scans for changes.

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Click Save and you are done!



Do NOT close CCC
Now that you're done with setup, you're probably tempted to close out of CCC.

DON'T!

If you recall from the first few chapters, CCC should be thought of as a data server, for CMC to connect to and sync on-demand. If you close CCC, it won't be running, and CMC won't be able to sync.

Also, you want those Auto-Export Jobs to be running every 5 minutes, scanning for My Movies changes. Even though you just configured it to autostart that task when CCC starts, chances are it's not running yet since you were just now setting it up.

So go ahead and click "Start Auto-Export Jobs". It should be fairly quick to process, then a countdown timer will display showing how long until the next scan.

Then, if you want to hide CCC's window simply minimize it. It will disappear to the Windows System Tray (where your clock lives). This is how you want to leave CCC each time you open the GUI - with Auto-Export Jobs running, and minimized to the System Tray.

You might also want to test the auto-startup settings you just configured. In that case, go ahead and reboot your PC and have fun checking it out.


Notes on CCC running as a Background Process
After setting up that scheduled task to auto-start CCC when you boot the PC, then when you reboot and first login, CCC will be running as a Windows Background Process. You won't see it in the system tray, or as one of your listed running apps in Task Manager.- though you will see it in Task Manager if you scroll down to the Background Processes section.

This is normal, and working as designed.

If you need to open CCC in GUI mode to work with it, then simply launch CCC.exe again. CCC will auto-detect that it is running in background mode, and ask it you want to close it to re-open in GUI mode. You should click Yes.

CCC will then command the background process to close - though the background process may reply that it is currently busy performing a Full Export. If this happens, then you will be shown a second prompt, informing you that the Full Export is running, and closing the background process will abort the Full Export. You can either choose to wait and try again later, or continue with closing the background process.
President, Chameleon Consulting LLC
Author, Chameleon MediaCenter

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