CatDV Server 7 was a major new release that fundamentally changed the way metadata was stored in CatDV, while at the same time maintaining backwards compatibility with existing CatDV clients.
In all previous versions of CatDV user-defined metadata was provided by a set of numbered user-defined fields (User 1, User 2 etc.) stored against each clip. The definitions of these user-defined fields was stored in the user’s preferences, and could also be saved to the server in the current Production Group’s settings blob. This approach works well if each user is working exclusively in a single Production Group, but becomes difficult to manage when users are working across multiple Production Groups. This is particularly true where some metadata should be common between groups, while other metadata should be specific to a single group.
CatDV Server 7 introduced the concept of ‘Global Metadata’, where the definitions of user-defined fields are no longer stored in a user’s preferences, and tied to a particular Production Group, but are instead stored explicitly in the database and shared across all Production Groups. Similarly the definitions for clip detail panels (tabs) and table views are also stored in the database and can be shared across Production Groups, while new visibility rules allow complete control over what is visible to what Production Groups and users.
Simplified User Field Mapping
To retain backward compatibility with CatDV desktop and CatDV Worker, Server 7 incorporates a compatibility layer that maps global field definitions to numerical user field numbers. Server 7.1 retains this layer, but simplifies the way it works. Rather than maintaining multiple sets of mappings – one for each Field Set – Server 7.1 assigns a single user field number to each global Field Definition and introduces a new synthetic Field Set called ‘All Fields’ that, as the name implies, contains all the user defined fields.
It is still possible to have multiple Field Sets for the purpose of maintaining multiple versions of the other settings held in a Field Set such as Smart Labels – but field maintenance from the desktop client can only be performed when the ‘All Fields’ Field Set is loaded. Also it is possible to hide sets of fields from particular users by setting visibility rules on individual field groups.
Extended Metadata Support
In previous versions of CatDV Server, metadata on clips was handled differently from metadata on source media and import source objects, while catalogs and markers had no metadata stored against them at all. In Server 7 custom metadata is stored consistently across all object types, which allows more flexibility and more efficient searching (less use of inefficient LIKE clauses at the SQL layer).
It should be noted that not all of this functionality is currently available in the CatDV clients, but Server 7 provides the foundation on which future advanced metadata features will be built.
CatDV traditionally uses a set of Path Mapping rules to map between original media and the matching proxy files, and also to handle the different paths required to access the same media from different machines (e.g. mapping between Mac and Windows paths). This mechanism is extremely powerful and flexible, but has been something that users have often found confusing and error-prone. Server 7 introduces the concept of ‘Media Stores’ to provide the same functionality in a (hopefully) easier to understand way.
A Media Store represents a single physical repository for media – for example a shared folder on a SAN. A Media Store may have several paths, each of which targets a particular platform or use. For example a Media Store might have one path for use by Mac clients and another for use by Windows clients. It will also typically define one or more paths where the proxy media for the media on the media store is located, and if appropriate might have a URL where HTTP proxies can be served.
Media Stores currently determine how the server and the various REST API clients (Web Client, iOS apps, Premiere Panel etc.) access media and are managed through the new web-based administration interface. In the future it is intended that other clients such as the CatDV Worker would also make use of these centrally stored and managed media stores, but currently the CatDV Client and Worker still use the current path-mapping approach.
Server 7 now comes with a completely web-based administration interface, that allows a system administrator to configure most aspects of CatDV without needing access to a copy of CatDV itself. Using the web-based administration interface it is possible to administer:
- Production Groups
- Roles and Permissions
- Metadata definitions
- Detail Panels and List Views
- Media Stores
Note that it is still possible to use the familiar CatDV client interface to configure metadata, but for full control over all aspects of the settings it is recommended that the web interface be used.
Extended REST API
In addition to a number of enhancements to the existing REST API, Server 7 introduces a new Administration REST API to support the new web-based administration interface. These new extensions will allow third party integrators to access capabilities that were not previously possible.
Of particular note is that with the new metadata model, and it’s exposure through the APIs, third party integrators can now define metadata fields to support their own custom functionality, and have that metadata be available across all production groups, and without being concerned that their metadata could clash with existing user-defined user fields.