Publishing catalogs

If you have created catalogs and saved them locally on your hard disk you need to publish them to make them available to other users via the shared database.

Once they are stored in the shared database you no longer need the local catalog files, though you may choose to keep these files somewhere as a backup or in case you need access to them should the server be unavailable. Once published to the database you should make all your changes there, however, rather than in the local files, as the local files will not be kept in sync with the database.

You publish a catalog by opening it in CatDV Pro and then using the Server > Publish Catalog command. This will publish the catalog from the current window (even if you have just created it and it has never been saved to disk – if you don’t require a local copy you can then close the window without saving changes).

You can also publish an entire directory full of catalog files directly from your local hard disk by using the Server → Bulk Publish Catalogs command (previously this command was known as “Publish Folder”).

(Note that initially the “Publish Catalog” command, and other commands that modify or delete data on the server, are disabled on the client application. You need to enable them via the Advanced tab of CatDV Preferences. This is a safety feature to prevent inexperienced or occasional users of CatDV from accidentally overwriting data on the server.)

Opening a remote catalog

Use the Server > Browse Database command to view a list of all the catalogs in the remote database, including a short summary of the contents of each catalog. You can open a catalog by double clicking its name in the list. From this window you can also delete catalogs, or search for all the catalogs containing a particular keyword. This will search in both the catalog descriptions and the individual clip details.

Managing catalogs

Although all the clips on the remote server are stored in the same database, for convenience they are still grouped into logical groupings called catalogs. You should normally create a separate catalog for each tape, or perhaps each shoot or each project, rather than trying to store all your clips in one large catalog.

This will make it easier to manage your clips. For example, you can use the Delete Catalog button in Browse Database to delete a catalog from the database. You also minimise the risk of creating a catalog that is too large to open reliably if you only have limited memory available on the client.

Once you have opened a remote catalog you then work on a local copy of the clips and thumbnails from that catalog, held in memory on your machine. If another user on your network edits these same clips and publishes their changes to the database you can use Server > Refresh Window to update your window with the latest version from the remote database. The time at which the contents of the window were last synchronised with the remote database is shown as part of the window title. If you have had a window open for a long time it’s a good idea to refresh the window before starting to make any changes.

Publishing changes

When you open a remote catalog, or perform a query and are working with the query results, you can edit the clips in your window exactly as if you were working on a normal local catalog file. However, rather than saving any changes to disk with File > Save Catalog, you normally want to update the clips in the remote database instead. For this you use the Server > Publish Changes command. (When working on remote catalogs the Cmd/Ctrl-S shortcut activates Publish Changes rather than Save.)

You can add logging notes, change clip names, make selections, select new poster thumbnails, delete unwanted clips, split a clip into two or create new secondary clips, and all these changes will be saved when you use Publish Changes.

If you have opened a remote catalog you can also create brand new clips, eg. by importing a file or using New Log Entry. You can’t add new clips if you are viewing query results, though, because in that case it’s not defined which catalog the new clips belong to.

Resolving conflicts

If two users try to make changes to the same catalog or clips at the same time then only the first set of changes that are published will be saved to the remote database.

The second person who attempts to publish changes will receive a warning message stating there were conflicting edits (eg. trying to add a comment to a clip which the previous user has just deleted).

All the changes which can be saved without conflict are saved, and the main window is refreshed to show the current contents as per the remote database. Any clips which weren’t able to be saved are displayed in a new “unsaved changes” window. The second user then needs to manually re-apply those changes in the main window, deciding whether and how to resolve any conflicts before trying to publish the changes again.

Re-publishing a catalog

If you publish a catalog with the same name and creation time as an existing catalog in the remote database (and your local catalog is newer than the one in the database) then you will overwrite that catalog in the database with the newer one. Normally, however, you should always use Publish Changes, as this automatically merges your changes and attempts to resolve any conflicting edits.

There are two main situations where you may want to overwrite an entire catalog by re-publishing it with Publish Catalog, rather than just publishing the changes:

  • If you need to rearrange the order of clips in a catalog. (Publish Changes will insert, delete or update clips in the database but not change their order.)
  • If you saved a remote catalog locally for offline working and now want to publish the changes that you made to the local files.

In both cases note that any change history associated with the old catalog will be lost, and if another user has the same catalog open they will be unable to publish their changes.