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Old 12-05-2012, 02:36 AM   #1
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Calibre Companion and book location

I just yesterday discovered the Calibre Companion (haven't been keeping track on Calibre since August...)

I already like the application, but I do have two questions about it.

1) I save my files in a folder structure. I presume I can copy the save template I have in my Android driver plugin to the wireless driver window. But what about my plugboard? I don't want to use the "any device" as I have different plugboards for my Sony and Android tablet. Oh, and I presume I can't give a save template when I connect to the content server, but it will download the book in the folder I specified for the format.

2) When I connect my device using USB, I know Calibre reads the metadata file that is on my device. Based on that, it will check which books are on my device. But how does this work with the Companion? Does this use the same file? And if so, won't it mess up my USB connection? If not, how does Calibre sync the books in my library with the books on my device? Because the last thing I need is a full copy from my device to Calibre because Calibre thinks he doesn't have the books yet he can find on my device...
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
1) I save my files in a folder structure. I presume I can copy the save template I have in my Android driver plugin to the wireless driver window.
That's what I did, copied my save template to the SmartDevice App interface.

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Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
But what about my plugboard? I don't want to use the "any device" as I have different plugboards for my Sony and Android tablet.
I don't know how plugboards apply to this driver. The default presentation (see attached) of information is exactly the way I had my Sony metadata plugboard setup so I never looked into this possibility of altering it.

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2) When I connect my device using USB, I know Calibre reads the metadata file that is on my device. Based on that, it will check which books are on my device.
I don't have a device that can connect via the standard Android USB device plugin. Mine connects via MTP. When I connect via MTP calibre does seem to use CC's file on the device to recognize what books are installed as well as scanning the entire device. Since connecting to calibre via MTP using the USB cable is slower than connecting to the device via the wireless connection I never connect to calibre via USB.

Since I don't use the Content server or standard USB I can't speculate about your other questions.

It will be interesting reading chaley's response.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
I just yesterday discovered the Calibre Companion (haven't been keeping track on Calibre since August...)

I already like the application, but I do have two questions about it.

1) I save my files in a folder structure. I presume I can copy the save template I have in my Android driver plugin to the wireless driver window. But what about my plugboard? I don't want to use the "any device" as I have different plugboards for my Sony and Android tablet. Oh, and I presume I can't give a save template when I connect to the content server, but it will download the book in the folder I specified for the format.
You can use a save template. Note that it applies to all formats. You cannot use a different template per format.

The plugboard device is SMART_DEVICE_APP. However, plugboards are of limited utility with CC unless you are not going to use CC's organization functions. Because CC "sees" calibre's metadata and can sort/group on it, there isn't any need to mess with the metadata inside the book (what the plugboard does). However, if you are using a reader app as an organizer instead of CC then you might want to use a plugboard, although even here it isn't clear. For example FBReader and Moon+ both can use title, author, and series metadata from inside the book, reducing the need to use a plugboard to mess with (for example) the title.

Books downloaded from the content server are stored in the appropriate folder for the format using the name "title - author.extension". If that file already exists then a tie breaker number is added to the end.
Quote:
2) When I connect my device using USB, I know Calibre reads the metadata file that is on my device. Based on that, it will check which books are on my device. But how does this work with the Companion? Does this use the same file? And if so, won't it mess up my USB connection? If not, how does Calibre sync the books in my library with the books on my device? Because the last thing I need is a full copy from my device to Calibre because Calibre thinks he doesn't have the books yet he can find on my device...
CC neither reads nor writes the metadata.calibre file. Instead it uses its own database that contains the metadata for all the books that it has downloaded. When you connect CC passes this metadata back to calibre, where it is used to do on-device matching.

You can tell CC to scan the folders it knows about for "new" books when you connect. If CC finds books that are not in its db, it passes them to calibre for analysis. Calibre then passes back the correct metadata for any book that calibre matched in its library. Epubs are a special case: CC extracts the metadata from the OPF in the newly-discovered books and passes that back to calibre.

If your plugboards change the title or authors then this can foil calibre's book matching. Epubs suffer less from this problem because the internal OPF contains the book's UUID. Calibre prefers to match on the UUID over title and author information. As long as the books came from the library you connected to then the UUID should be correct.

It is probably best to use either CC or USB for android devices, not both. If you do use both, then for non-epub formats it is better not to use a plugboard for either connection so that calibre's book matching has the best chance of succeeding.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by chaley View Post
You can use a save template. Note that it applies to all formats. You cannot use a different template per format.
Where can I put that template down then? I have a save template that is exactly the same for all my devices and formats (that's why I made a field for it, a lot easier to copy than the entire template string :P)

Quote:
The plugboard device is SMART_DEVICE_APP. However, plugboards are of limited utility with CC unless you are not going to use CC's organization functions. Because CC "sees" calibre's metadata and can sort/group on it, there isn't any need to mess with the metadata inside the book (what the plugboard does). However, if you are using a reader app as an organizer instead of CC then you might want to use a plugboard, although even here it isn't clear. For example FBReader and Moon+ both can use title, author, and series metadata from inside the book, reducing the need to use a plugboard to mess with (for example) the title.
I only want to use the companion to move books from my library to my device, I do the management on my Mantano reader. And I mostly have the plugboard for my author and title sort and my tag.

Quote:
Books downloaded from the content server are stored in the appropriate folder for the format using the name "title - author.extension". If that file already exists then a tie breaker number is added to the end.
Can I change that format?

Quote:
CC neither reads nor writes the metadata.calibre file. Instead it uses its own database that contains the metadata for all the books that it has downloaded. When you connect CC passes this metadata back to calibre, where it is used to do on-device matching.

You can tell CC to scan the folders it knows about for "new" books when you connect. If CC finds books that are not in its db, it passes them to calibre for analysis. Calibre then passes back the correct metadata for any book that calibre matched in its library. Epubs are a special case: CC extracts the metadata from the OPF in the newly-discovered books and passes that back to calibre.

If your plugboards change the title or authors then this can foil calibre's book matching. Epubs suffer less from this problem because the internal OPF contains the book's UUID. Calibre prefers to match on the UUID over title and author information. As long as the books came from the library you connected to then the UUID should be correct.

It is probably best to use either CC or USB for android devices, not both. If you do use both, then for non-epub formats it is better not to use a plugboard for either connection so that calibre's book matching has the best chance of succeeding.
Ok, I'll have to see how it works out then...

I do like the companion because I don't even need to sit behind a PC anymore now.. I can connect via remote desktop (on my tablet) to the PC where Calibre is installed, start Calibre, start the wireless connection, start the companion and then send my books via calibre via remote desktop
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:11 AM   #5
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Where can I put that template down then? I have a save template that is exactly the same for all my devices and formats (that's why I made a field for it, a lot easier to copy than the entire template string :P)
In the smart device plugin preferences (preferences -> plugins -> device interface plugins -> SmartDevice App.
Quote:
I only want to use the companion to move books from my library to my device, I do the management on my Mantano reader. And I mostly have the plugboard for my author and title sort and my tag.
I suggest that you give CC's organizer a try. It can launch the mantano reader. Its search/group/sort facilities are much stronger, directly using calibre's metadata including custom columns.
Quote:
(content server file name) Can I change that format?
No.
Quote:
I do like the companion because I don't even need to sit behind a PC anymore now.. I can connect via remote desktop (on my tablet) to the PC where Calibre is installed, start Calibre, start the wireless connection, start the companion and then send my books via calibre via remote desktop
That is an excellent solution to the "must be in front of calibre's keyboard" problem.

Another that works in many cases is the reading list plugin. You can tell reading list to "sync" a list to a device when that device connects. This sync happens without any user interaction with calibre, meaning it can happen at distance.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:50 AM   #6
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I suggest that you give CC's organizer a try. It can launch the mantano reader. Its search/group/sort facilities are much stronger, directly using calibre's metadata including custom columns.
I got the files correctly working now. But you say it has an organizer? How? All I get is a mostly white screen (see screenshot)...
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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I got the files correctly working now. But you say it has an organizer? How? All I get is a mostly white screen (see screenshot)...
You have selected "Books with missing files" on the settings menu. That screen is showing you that there are no missing books; all the books in CC's database have the corresponding book file.

Tap "back" until you see "Tap "back" again to return to the main display" (should be one tap). Tap back again to get to the settings menu. Tap back once more to get to CC's organizer.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:06 PM   #8
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I kept going from that missing book screen to the settings back to the missing book screen... I forced stopped the app and then it opened the book list...
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:30 PM   #9
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I kept going from that missing book screen to the settings back to the missing book screen... I forced stopped the app and then it opened the book list...
Thanks for letting me know. It will be lots of fun to debug.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:47 AM   #10
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Books downloaded from the content server are stored in the appropriate folder for the format using the name "title - author.extension". If that file already exists then a tie breaker number is added to the end.
Can I change that format?
Apologies for re-opening this thread, but it is directly relevant. I am considering adding two options to CC and would like comments.

The problem: there should be a way to guarantee that books arriving via the content server and via the wireless device connection get the same file names. This would simplify book management by ensuring that only one copy of the book is on the device regardless of how it got there. It would also improve integration with some reader apps that can sync reading position between devices (like moon+). In addition, some people want to use arbitrary path names for books downloaded via the content server.

Option one: an option to CC that tells it and calibre to use the book's unique ID (UUID) for the file name. This option is best for people (like me) who never look at file names. It ensures that the file name will not change even if the authors or title changes. It is also simplest to set up.

Option two: an option to CC that tells it and calibre to get the file path from a custom column. This ensures that the book will have the same file name regardless of which delivery path is used, but it does not guarantee that the book's filename will not change because the column's value might change. Slashes in the path will cause creation of directories. The user would need to ensure that the column's value is not too long. Also, the following characters will be changed to underscores to ensure MTP file name compatibility: |\?*<>":+[].

To forestall at least one question: no, I am not going to attempt to port calibre's template language processor to android, so entering the base template instead of a custom column lookup name won't be possible.

Implementing these options will require changes to calibre. They won't work unless calibre is upgraded to whatever version ends up containing the code.

Comments?
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:58 AM   #11
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@chaley: Why not maintain a uuid->filename map on the device? That way if a file already exists, the filename to be used could be looked up from the map.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:43 AM   #12
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@chaley: Why not maintain a uuid->filename map on the device? That way if a file already exists, the filename to be used could be looked up from the map.
This doesn't solve half the problem, having different names on different devices for the same book. As far as I can tell, in general syncing reading positions requires the file names to be identical on each device; this is certainly true for moon+. Each device can get the file from a different path, so name generation for new books on all paths must result in the same value.

FWIW: we actually built what you are suggesting, then took it out because it invisibly changed fundamental calibre/device/template behavior. It would be easy to put it back, this time as an option, but as I said it doesn't solve the multiple-device problem.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:19 PM   #13
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In that case I would go with option 1, simple and robust.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:06 AM   #14
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Personally, I'd prefer to use a custom column, but that is because I already use one for my path/filename. That way I can very easily keep the file structure the same across all my devices (filesystem, sony, and android) I'm a bit of a control freak considering the contents of my SD card...

But. If it's more difficult or fault prone, I'd say go for the first option. The ability to use the content server and wireless connection together (without getting more than one copy of a book in your library) is more important.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:29 AM   #15
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Personally, I'd prefer to use a custom column, but that is because I already use one for my path/filename. That way I can very easily keep the file structure the same across all my devices (filesystem, sony, and android) I'm a bit of a control freak considering the contents of my SD card...

But. If it's more difficult or fault prone, I'd say go for the first option. The ability to use the content server and wireless connection together (without getting more than one copy of a book in your library) is more important.
I like the theory of using the custom column, but it is indeed more fault-prone. There can be both length and character set problems. The first is somewhat difficult to work around because the template never includes the path of the base folder that the books live in. The character set problem can be worked around, but means that the resulting path might not exactly match the template. There are also issues with accidental slash characters in the path, such as in the (made up) title "The Excitement/Joy of Being Bob". I am still thinking about this option. I like the idea of user-defined constant paths, but I am not happy with the weird errors that can pop up.

The next release of CC (and calibre) will have the first option.
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