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Old 07-28-2011, 06:18 PM   #1
Iskariot
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ORIGINAL_EPUB problem

I have encountered the following problem twice and lost days of work because of it.:

I was proofreading some epub books (dostoyevsky) that needed heavy restructuring and reformatting. I use Sigil.

After I finished the books and everything was ok, I decided I wanted to insert a new cover. I use Calibre to do this kind of stuff.

To my shock all time consuming reformatting and restructuring of the books was reverted to the original chaotic state. This never happened to me before. Calibre has always been reliable and the results quite predictable.

The only cause I can imagine is that in the latest version of calibre an original_epub file is created that has priority when changes are made and the book is rebuild. This always overwrites everything you have done since then. Any new changes you make in calibre (like inserting a new cover) are done to this backup file instead of the present and correct epub and then this overwrites the epub file you have been working on for hours, destroying all editing in the process. That way every change made is gone and unrecoverable.

How can I disable this feature. Because since this is implemented it has caused me to loose valuable and time consuming work. Now I am forced to manually backup, to circumvent and protect my work from the backup feature. For me and my workflow this is a disaster. I perceive this backup file, the way it is implemented, as dangerous.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:13 PM   #2
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Cool kovid's answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskariot View Post
I have encountered the following problem twice and lost days of work because of it.:

I was proofreading some epub books (dostoyevsky) that needed heavy restructuring and reformatting. I use Sigil.

After I finished the books and everything was ok, I decided I wanted to insert a new cover. I use Calibre to do this kind of stuff.

To my shock all time consuming reformatting and restructuring of the books was reverted to the original chaotic state. This never happened to me before. Calibre has always been reliable and the results quite predictable.

The only cause I can imagine is that in the latest version of calibre an original_epub file is created that has priority when changes are made and the book is rebuild. This always overwrites everything you have done since then. Any new changes you make in calibre (like inserting a new cover) are done to this backup file instead of the present and correct epub and then this overwrites the epub file you have been working on for hours, destroying all editing in the process. That way every change made is gone and unrecoverable.

How can I disable this feature. Because since this is implemented it has caused me to loose valuable and time consuming work. Now I am forced to manually backup, to circumvent and protect my work from the backup feature. For me and my workflow this is a disaster. I perceive this backup file, the way it is implemented, as dangerous.

Thanks in advance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Go to preferences->tweaks and turn off the saving of the original.....
here is kovid's answer to that very question.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskariot View Post
I have encountered the following problem twice and lost days of work because of it.:

I was proofreading some epub books (dostoyevsky) that needed heavy restructuring and reformatting. I use Sigil.

After I finished the books and everything was ok, I decided I wanted to insert a new cover. I use Calibre to do this kind of stuff.

To my shock all time consuming reformatting and restructuring of the books was reverted to the original chaotic state. This never happened to me before. Calibre has always been reliable and the results quite predictable.

The only cause I can imagine is that in the latest version of calibre an original_epub file is created that has priority when changes are made and the book is rebuild. This always overwrites everything you have done since then. Any new changes you make in calibre (like inserting a new cover) are done to this backup file instead of the present and correct epub and then this overwrites the epub file you have been working on for hours, destroying all editing in the process. That way every change made is gone and unrecoverable.

How can I disable this feature. Because since this is implemented it has caused me to loose valuable and time consuming work. Now I am forced to manually backup, to circumvent and protect my work from the backup feature. For me and my workflow this is a disaster. I perceive this backup file, the way it is implemented, as dangerous.

Thanks in advance.
I update the Calibre cover using Sigil.
Have the desired cover Display in Calibre Book Details.
Find (display)the Existing Cover in your Book.
Insert (add New Image in the GUI View) the cover found in the Book (Author-Title) folder of Calibre.
Switch to Codeview (seems cleaner this way) and remove the OLD cover<img>...</img> tag.
In the Book browser: delete the OLD image file.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskariot View Post
How can I disable this feature. Because since this is implemented it has caused me to loose valuable and time consuming work. Now I am forced to manually backup, to circumvent and protect my work from the backup feature. For me and my workflow this is a disaster. I perceive this backup file, the way it is implemented, as dangerous.
May I suggest that in the future you review the What's New area before you upgrade calibre. If you had you would have seen the below and understood that it would wreck your work flow (blue) and the method required to disable this feature (red).
Quote:
Release: 0.8.11 [22 Jul, 2011]

New Features
  • When doing a conversion from some format to the same format, save the original file When calibre does a conversion from the same format to the same format, for example, from EPUB to EPUB, the original file is saved as original_epub, so that in case the conversion is poor, you can change the settings and run it again. The original is automatically used every time you run a conversion with that format as input. If you want to disable this, there is a tweak that prevents calibre from saving the originals in Preferences->Tweaks. You can easily replace the converted version with the original in the Edit metadata dialog by right clicking on the list of formats in the top right corner.
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:11 AM   #5
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Thank you all for your responses.

Dwanthny,
I did read the new features, but not careful enough. Indeed, my mistake.
So I knew there would be a backup file, but I did not realize the backup would always automatically be used as a source for a conversion.

Well, I sure learned the hard way.
I'm, still recovering from the shock of loosing many days of hard work.

I like the backup feature, but perhaps it would be nice if calibre asked what file to use for a new conversion in case there are multiple files of the same book in the library.

That would be best of both worlds I think, because that way you can add to previous changes, or you can make a completely new conversion from the start.

For now, I have disabled the backup feature.
I already keep multiple backups of my libraries.
So I do not need the feature.
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskariot View Post
I did read the new features, but not careful enough.
I'm glad you check out the What's New feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskariot View Post
So I knew there would be a backup file, but I did not realize the backup would always automatically be used as a source for a conversion.

I like the backup feature,

For now, I have disabled the backup feature.
I think this may trip up others too. This isn't a backup feature, it is a way to preserve the original book prior to conversion. If the conversion went bad all you have to do is change the conversion settings and try again. If you want to use this feature and Sigil either edit the original or delete the original as soon as you start editing something other than the original.
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskariot View Post
Well, I sure learned the hard way.
I'm, still recovering from the shock of loosing many days of hard work.

I like the backup feature, but perhaps it would be nice if calibre asked what file to use for a new conversion in case there are multiple files of the same book in the library.
You have my condolences for losing your work. Quite reasonably, you relied on the way Calibre worked in the past, and you got burned.

The problem has always been that doing an EPUB->EPUB (or any same format to same format conversion) destroyed both the source file format and the destination file format. The source and format files were the same file, and neither was left after the conversion finished. Calibre would preserve a lot of the destination format file by incorporating it in as the source, but anything inconsistent with the conversion options would be lost.

It's logical to expect the source format to be unchanged and the destination format to be overwritten when going from format A to format B. The changed code now makes it so that going from format A to format A works more like other format conversions. The source is now preserved and the destination is still overwritten.

Unfortunately, you hit it at a bad time. You had a bad source, then made all your changes in the destination, then overwrote the destination with the bad source. You know all this, but it's worth explaining how this makes the conversion process more consistent. Conversions should never destroy or overwrite the source format. They should only affect the destination format, and now that's how they work, even when going to the same format.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:32 PM   #8
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But I see his point, if there are more than one version, why shuold not Calibre ask which one to use?

Fits all instances much better.
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
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Starson17,

Thank you for your explanation. I agree with you that the conversion process is more logical and consistent now.

But , as Pinecone already stated, why not have Calibre ask you which file to use as a source. I think that would be a nice feature because it is not unusual to also use other software for the editing of, in my case, ePUBS. I even use a great calibre plugin that makes the use of external software easier. So the chance this disaster happens again is not that small, if the feature is enabled.

I personally use Sigil all the time to clean up ePUBS that I have converted with Calibre. So, all the time the target files get edited outside of Calibre.
Because of that it would be nice if the existing target files get some extra protection.
Asking what file to use as a source would give that extra protection.
In most cases, I would want to use the target file as a source and not the original source.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:27 AM   #10
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Because that is one extra click/step which is useless/confusing for the vast majority of calibre users, who do not tweak their files in external programs. If your workflow is not suited to original_* simply turn it off.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:00 AM   #11
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I think what would work seamlessly for this case is to make one more extension to this feature - have Calibre write an MD5 hash to the database for the documents when they're added to the DB, and updated any time Calibre manipulates the actual file. If a format->format conversion will overwrite a hash that matches the database then commit the conversion without prompting the user. If the hash doesn't match then this is an indicator that the user did some outside manipulation to the file, and this could then prompt a warning/selection choice to click through.

That way the majority of the users never have to click through a confusing screen, and power users don't need to worry about accidentally destroying work done outside of Calibre.

This hash idea has been discussed before in part to accomplish some of the things this backup feature is trying to accomplish, perhaps it's a bit more relevant to add now that this new functionality exists.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:18 AM   #12
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Now that you know how it works, you don't have to turn the feature off. If you do a conversion and the results are deemed to be satisfactory, then just remember to delete the original using the "remove files of a specific format" option. That way it won't be used for future conversions. The ORIGINAL_* shows up as a separate format in the list.

By all means, turn the feature off if you never want to use it, but otherwise, just include "not leaving the original lying around if you don't need anymore" in your workflow.

You get to enjoy the best of both worlds that way.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 08-05-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskariot View Post
why not have Calibre ask you which file to use as a source.
I'm not really against that as an option, as long as it can be set permanently and not interfere with my normal processing by asking me questions every time.

Calibre and the various plugins were written with the assumption that there is only one of each type of format in each book record. That "single format" limit is now partially lifted and it has created some issues (as you know well), but the purpose wasn't to make it possible to store multiple copies of the same format in a single record.

Anyone who uses the many tools written before the ORIGINAL_FORMAT fix like Tweak EPUB or Edit With, etc. would be well advised to 1) delete the ORIGINAL_FORMAT pseudo format file since those tools were written with the assumption that the EPUB format in your library is the one and only EPUB format in that record, or 2) copy the "best" source format to the ORIGINAL_FORMAT after any editing.

Quote:
In most cases, I would want to use the target file as a source and not the original source.
I assume that's because the "target as a source" is an edited/improved EPUB format, while the "original source" is the poorer quality ORIGINAL_EPUB. If that's the case, then why keep the ORIGINAL_EPUB? If it's no good delete it. If it's good, then delete the EPUB. If both are good for different purposes, then keeping them both in the book record violates a long standing assumption built into Calibre that there's only one of each format. Until that assumption is changed, it would be smart to just move the ORIGINAL_EPUB into another book record and rename it EPUB, then use that new book record for the purpose it fits best.

Many posts have referred to the ORIGINAL_FORMAT file as a "backup," but that's not its purpose. IMO, we should all be keeping our original files in a backup stored elsewhere.

I completely agree with you that the new ORIGINAL_FORMAT file can create problems for users who use third party or plugin tools to directly modify the FORMAT file and don't update the ORIGINAL_FORMAT.

One possible alternative would be to treat the ORIGINAL_FORMATs as a selectable one of the available source formats in the conversion screen (and in the format priority screen). You could choose to convert from ORIGINAL_EPUB to EPUB or from EPUB to EPUB, and any time you were about to do a same format conversion that would overwrite the source, a warning could be displayed asking if you want to use the ORIGINAL_EPUB instead. That wouldn't interfere with my workflow as I don't keep ORIGINAL_FORMAT files after I'm done with my same format processing. Those who want to overwrite originals with EPUB->EPUB formats could do so by accepting after reading the warning message.
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Because that is one extra click/step which is useless/confusing for the vast majority of calibre users, who do not tweak their files in external programs. If your workflow is not suited to original_* simply turn it off.
not really. there's no exra click unless you choose to, there's a default and then if the default is unsuitable you can use the drop-down to change it (if the extra file is included in the drop-down choices).
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:01 PM   #15
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Because that is one extra click/step which is useless/confusing for the vast majority of calibre users, who do not tweak their files in external programs. If your workflow is not suited to original_* simply turn it off
Perhaps off topic, but does have to do with that one extra click and original file.

My default output file is epub.
My default input file is epub because that is what the viewer will open and that is what I want to view after converting.

When I convert the file (any format) to epub next time the input conversion default is set to epub.
If I decide to reconvert the file from the original (any format) than the next time I convert the file the selected input is retained.


Confuses me a bit what on use saved conversion settings really does. Doesn't seeml ike it actually saves the first one?

Helen
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