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CMC and CME/CCC workings

Post here to suggest ideas for future versions.
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GaryReeve
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:22 am
Interests: Electronics engineering, Audio visual systems, control systems

CMC and CME/CCC workings

Post by GaryReeve » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:27 am

Hi Paul

I have a suggestion on the way CME and CCC is implemented.
When I first installed CMC on my PC it took a bit of searching to find out what CME is and does. I found references to it in CMC and and assumed it was something to do with importing titles and sync required it. For someone new to CMC there was no way to tell where CME was and if it was another program I should download and a search of google and your forum showed me it was a file to run.
After searching the folder I found it - a separate exe file.
I give this preamble because to the uninitiated this can be a moment to say "it doesnt work, try another program"
What I am thinking is this process can be put inside CMC under settings under "Sync" or something similar where a radio box can be "Use CME" or "Use CCC" and this fires up CME or CCC accordingly ready to be configured and launched into the taskbar. When done like this the user does not have to be a person savvy with folder Exe files, it just works.
As CME and CCC are quite important to the inner workings of CMC I feel it takes a bit of understanding to what these programs all do, so making it simple is important for the uninitiated.

Regards
Gary

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Pauven
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Re: CMC and CME/CCC workings

Post by Pauven » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:06 am

Hey Gary,

You make some good points, though I feel the situation is a bit too complex to just have a button to run CME inside CMC.

The problem is that CME should really only run on a single PC in your home, to maintain your entire collection. The same goes for CCC, though for CCC this is more of a hard-limit versus just a strong recommendation.

Adding a button to CMC to run CME/CCC might give the false impression that it should be running on every CMC HTPC - it should not.

Hopefully this situation has become slightly clearer with CCC - In CMC I have added dedicated settings page for CCC, where you specify your CCC PC and test connectivity. Plus there's the into screen for v4.0 that announces CCC.

You're absolutely right that this could be clearer, but I'm struggling with how to accomplish that without providing a false narrative.

Several users have asked for some video tutorials, and so far I've been reluctant because things in CMC land have been changing so fast that my tutorials would be obsolete before they're viewed. I've primarily been waiting on CCC, this is a big change that is over a year in the making, and is the intended primary path forward for most users (though I always maintain legacy/alternative functionality like CME and even mymovies.xml metadata files). Now that CCC is nearing release, I think it is finally time for me to provide some video tutorials, plus some implementation diagrams on how to architect your setup.

My big challenge here is that CCC elevates CMC from just a data browser to a client-server-client solution. Not a typo, yeah this thing is complex, and I've worked hard to make it relatively easy to use for what it does.

One user had a nice suggestion for me to add a setup wizard in CMC, and that's a great idea that I've avoided for the same reason as the video tutorials. Now it's probably time to think about how to do that.

I've also thought about posting CME and CCC as separate downloads that are not included in the CMC download. I do like bundling them, as it provides a way to ship compatible versions together - this was important with CME but is now critical with CCC - but as you point out it's not exactly obvious the newcomers that I've bundled them. I've thought about adding update functionality to CCC and hosting it separately for download, and I've even thought about flipping things on their head and making CCC the primary download, and have CMC ping CCC for updates instead of the website. That way each CMC PC updates only after CCC updates and provides the new CMC version files.

Probably my biggest challenge is that I just have too many ideas floating around in my head, and not enough time to get them all implemented asap.
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GaryReeve
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:22 am
Interests: Electronics engineering, Audio visual systems, control systems

Re: CMC and CME/CCC workings

Post by GaryReeve » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:19 am

Yea I know its a massive project with many people wanting many things. I guess this is a good thing considering that lots of people are embracing your project. And that's a great thing. We need your project!
I agree with your assessment needing an install wizard. For one thing, a shortcut to the desktop for CMC installed as part of the wizard so users dont have to create one themselves. I know its silly but you would be surprised how many people get stuck on simple things like this.
What about the same sort of wizard that comes with My Movies? Where it asks if this is a client or a server or both? Or is there a way that CMC can interrogate the install of my movies to check its configuration and setup according to a client or server, and setup CCC/CME accordingly removing options as necessary from menu items?
As I see it, CMC should mirror the My movies as a client, and CMC CCC/CME should run on the proposed server that My movies is on?

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Pauven
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Re: CMC and CME/CCC workings

Post by Pauven » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:52 am

GaryReeve wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:19 am
For one thing, a shortcut to the desktop for CMC installed as part of the wizard so users dont have to create one themselves.
I hadn't thought of this, didn't realize this was even a need.

CMC includes a MCE remote programmer, and in addition to adding a button (or buttons) to launch CMC, it creates shortcuts. But these shortcuts are stored in the Windows Start Menu - which is a requirement in order for Windows hotkeys to launch a shortcut.

I figured once you have a dedicated remote button to launch CMC, plus a shortcut in your Start Menu, that adding one to the desktop would just be overkill. Perhaps I'm wrong, I'm constantly surprised in the variety of ways users prefer to use CMC.

GaryReeve wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:19 am
What about the same sort of wizard that comes with My Movies? Where it asks if this is a client or a server or both?
That's something for me to think about. So far I've avoided an install wizard - it's just a simple zip extraction to install, and CMC is completely portable.

CCC has completely changed the game, and I'm still coming to grips with it myself.

GaryReeve wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:19 am
Or is there a way that CMC can interrogate the install of my movies to check its configuration and setup according to a client or server, and setup CCC/CME accordingly removing options as necessary from menu items?
If, and that's a big IF, a user puts CCC/CME on the same PC as My Movies, then yes it might be possible to query the Windows Registry for certain data elements, primarily the API Key. But users are free to run CCC/CME on a different PC and connect to their MM PC over the network.

But I think that autoconfiguring CCC buys very little - there's really only two values that have to be assigned: MM PC Name/IP and API Key, and the rest of the settings are good out of the box. CME is a lot more difficult to setup, but that's all related to writing metadata to media folders, which is something that users are very particular about and needed lots of control over the process to get their desired results. All that has very little to do with MM itself, so I can't really query MM to determine how a user wants to configure CME.

And the choice to use CME/CCC is not dependent upon having a particular MM install. Personal requirements and preferences play a much bigger factor.

Another way to think about it is this - CME was a stopgap solution, until CCC arrived. I fully expect 90%+ of all users to use CCC. Going forward, I only anticipate CME being used for one of two scenarios: 1) Users who want to take a portion of their collection with them on a mobile device when they leave the home, for which CMC's Sync process to find and show only the copied data is the best solution. and 2) Users who want to make an external metadata backup of their collection, in such a case that My Movies stops working and external metadata files are the only option. I know #2 sounds apocalyptic, but there are many CMC users who have shared grave concerns that MM won't survive forever, and they want an 'end-of-days' solution.

Beyond that, I can't imagine why anyone would prefer to use CME over CCC. With CCC being brand new, not even released publicly yet, you've arrived in the middle of a big change. It's going to take me a while to get things sorted, including documentation and tutorials.

GaryReeve wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:19 am
As I see it, CMC should mirror the My movies as a client, and CMC CCC/CME should run on the proposed server that My movies is on?
Generally, yes, this is the way I see it too. But as I've learned way too often, one size does not fit all.

I designed CMC to work even if CCC is offline. And I designed CCC to work even if My Movies is offline.

So in theory you could export your collection with My Movies + CCC, with CCC being on a different PC than MM, then turn off your My Movies PC. CCC will continue to work just fine (just no updates from MM), and the CMC PC's will communicate with the CCC PC to keep things in sync with each other (watched status, watchlists, user account changes, etc.). Then once a month you could fire up your MM PC, and CCC can bidirectionally sync all changes from the last month.

Just because this model doesn't fit your intended usage doesn't mean that there aren't many CMC users asking for exactly this capability. For that reason, I'm extremely hesitant to prescribe that there is only one way to do things. Your model is what I consider the "best" way, but like I said, not everyone agrees.
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GaryReeve
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:22 am
Interests: Electronics engineering, Audio visual systems, control systems

Re: CMC and CME/CCC workings

Post by GaryReeve » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:17 pm

OK Cool. Yes I agree, many different installs and varying topologies.
I guess all I see is a need to make the whole current package simpler.
And yes I've jumped in at a critical juncture with CCC and CMC4. It looks very promising.

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Pauven
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Re: CMC and CME/CCC workings

Post by Pauven » Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:28 pm

GaryReeve wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:17 pm
I guess all I see is a need to make the whole current package simpler.
You're not wrong.

3 years ago there was only CMC.

1 year ago it was CMC + CME.

Now it's CMC + CCC + CME.

None of this was planned. It shows...

And while I know I'm still not going fast enough to satisfy some users, I'm going too fast in respect that I'm unable to keep up with documentation. I've stretched myself too thin. Now that v4 is almost out, I need to change focus to improving the new user experience instead of adding new functionality - though that's a tough choice to make, as many years-long loyal users are still waiting for some features to be added. Do I prioritize existing users' needs, or worry about the new user experience? I'm hoping my bandwidth opens up a bit with CCC finally being complete, that was a huge project.
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Author, Chameleon MediaCenter

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