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Old 05-06-2010, 02:10 PM   #1
chaley
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Beta test of major new features

Brave souls are invited to beta test a release of Calibre containing several major new features. This release is being made available for testing and for comments. Feedback via either the forum or tickets is encouraged, but please be nice. Telling me that the changes are junk and that you hate my cat will depress both of us. When my cat is depressed she chews her fur off, and you don’t want that on your conscience, do you?

All the features will be moved into the standard Calibre release some time in the future, that time to be determined by the feedback.

We have made extensive changes to Calibre. Kovid has graciously provided *many* hours of help and underlying implementation work, but even with his fixing things behind me it is probable that something I broke has slipped out. Please don’t be a tester if having Calibre fall over dead is something you really don’t want to encounter.

VERY IMPORTANT:
  1. Please backup your library before trying the beta. Although we don’t expect a meltdown, it is possible.
  2. If you use the beta and add custom columns, then you won’t be able to go back to the standard 0.6.x releases with the same library. Extensive database changes were required for the user-defined columns. Although some of the compatibility issues will be addressed 0.6.52, it's still not a good idea to depend on backwards compatibility. To keep the same library, you must continue with beta releases until the code is integrated into the standard release.

Still with me? Like I said, brave soul…

The major changes are:
  1. User-defined columns. You can now create new columns in the library display. Columns are created by going to Preferences, Interface and clicking on the ‘+’ icon shown next to the list of columns to display. When creating a column, the ‘lookup’ name is what is used to search for items in the column, the column heading is what appears at the top of the column, and the column type determines what will be put in the column. The column types available are:
    • short text. These columns appear in the tags browser
    • tag-style text (comma-separated words). These columns appear in the tags browser.
    • ratings (stars). These columns appear in the tags browser comments-style text.
    • dates
    • floating point numbers
    • integers
    • Yes/no (boolean). See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80473 for discussion of 2- vs 3-state yes/no columns.
    You can hide and reorder the user-defined columns in the same way that you can hide predefined columns, by using the Interface tab in preferences.

    User-defined columns are integrated into the tags browser. Searching and sorting on these columns is implemented.

    The ability to make these columns into collections has not yet been implemented.
  2. Virtual libraries. A saved search can be used to create virtual libraries. When you choose a search in the ‘Restrict to:’ box, the library will show only books matching this search, the tags browser will show only items that appear in the matched books, and the books count will change to reflect the restriction. The search box is left empty, and can be used as normal to further refine what is being seen. See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...6&postcount=20 for more discussion.

    One note: when you add a book, it will appear in the virtual library even though it does not match the restriction. However, if you do a search or otherwise cause the restriction to be recalculated, new books will disappear unless they actually match the restriction. If the new books are intended to be matched, you should correct their metadata immediately after adding them to avoid having them drop off the list because of some other action. And no, we aren’t planning to automatically change the metadata of new books to match a restriction, because the reverse analysis of the restriction search is very hard to do correctly.
  3. User-defined tag categories. You can now create a top-level category in the tag browser pane, and then put items into that category. For example, you could create categories for Favorite Authors, Favorite Genres, Spouse’s Stuff, or what-have-you. A user-defined category can contain items from any built-in or user-defined column except Ratings and News. There is a button below the tag browser that opens an editor to create or change these categories.

The release also contains several less intrusive features and bug fixes. Some are:
  1. Panes such as the tags browser and metadata display now can be resized. There is a special toolbar for hiding and restoring the panes. Double-clicking on the separator will also hide/restore a pane.
  2. Date searches can use special names to specify a day. The names are ‘today’, ‘yesterday’, ‘thismonth’, and ‘Ndaysago’ where N is some number.
  3. Calibre now saves the last three sorts and replays them when it restarts. A ‘tweak’ is available to override this behavior and force a specific search on startup.
  4. You are now asked for confirmation when deleting a saved search.
  5. Ratings have been added to the tags browser
  6. Checks for an update have been moved to a separate thread, making them less intrusive if the network is slow.
  7. The regular expression tester now works across lines.
  8. Lots of bug fixes taken from the standard release.
There is a long list of other changes and bug fixes, most of which will shortly appear in the standard release.

Source is available at http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~kovid/calibre/custom-cols/. This branch will be kept up-to-date until the features are integrated with the standard release.

Binaries are available at http://calibre-ebook.com/downloads/betas/. It isn’t clear how often new beta binary releases will be made, or indeed if more releases will be made. The answer depends on how well the beta goes.

Have fun.
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:25 PM   #2
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awesome! you are god thanks. downloading now.

Custom Columns! Virtual libraries! yay!

EDIT:
fingers crossed for user customizable icons for virtual libraries x-x
sorry dont mean to be superfluous. it is just that i like gloss

Last edited by rollercoaster; 05-06-2010 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:30 PM   #3
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Let me just add that the betas are numbered 0.6.9x while the normal releases are numbered 0.6.5x

On windows if you try the beta and want to go back to the normal releases, first uninstall calibre then install the normal release. And remember not to do this with the same library.

On linux do the following (assuming you are using the calibre binary from the calibre website)

Code:
cd /opt/calibre
tar xvjf /path/to/calibre-0.6.90-i686.tar.bz2
This will replace your current calibre install with the 0.6.90

And a big round of applause to chaley for getting this done

Last edited by kovidgoyal; 05-06-2010 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:23 PM   #4
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Just a check - if I want to use the beta is it only the metadata.db file that has changed dramatically and that would need restoring to revert to te non-beta release? Are the ebook files and folder structure unchanged?

If that is the case as I start Calibre with custom batch files that explicitly name the location of the:
- Calibre program files
- metadata database
- config files
- ebook files
I should be able to use two in parallel as long as I only add books via one of them? A bit easier than committing myself up front.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:31 PM   #5
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holy cow, i'm impressed ! these new features are brilliant ! karma to you, chaley, i want your cat to be positively blissed-out. and kovid too, for all his work. plus, you've got a cat, don't you kovid ? have to keep her happy too...
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:36 PM   #6
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@itimpi: the folder structure hasn't changed. But

@zelda: My cat's been pretty mad at me for ignoring her these past few days
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:37 PM   #7
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@zelda: My cat's been pretty amd at me for ignoring her these past few days
well good god, man, what are you still doing here ? go scritch her between the ears.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itimpi View Post
If that is the case as I start Calibre with custom batch files that explicitly name the location of the:
- Calibre program files
- metadata database
- config files
- ebook files
I should be able to use two in parallel as long as I only add books via one of them?
I'm considering the same thing. We'd not have access to the "new books" in the other, which is OK for me - I won't add any while testing. No "new books" means recipes will be a problem, we'll have to turn off automatic news fetching in one or both. No new recipes, either, unless we add them to both, they're stored in the db. We'd have to create two sets of program files, config files and the metadata database.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by itimpi View Post
Just a check - if I want to use the beta is it only the metadata.db file that has changed dramatically and that would need restoring to revert to te non-beta release? Are the ebook files and folder structure unchanged?
To the best of my knowledge, you are correct. The changes are to the DB, not to anything stored in the filesystem. Ahh -- I remember some bug reports about EPUB svg covers, but the related changes should be in both the released and beta versions

Quote:
If that is the case as I start Calibre with custom batch files that explicitly name the location of the:
- Calibre program files
- metadata database
- config files
- ebook files
I should be able to use two in parallel as long as I only add books via one of them? A bit easier than committing myself up front.
Again, yes. In particular, the gui.py config file has changed to accommodate the custom columns and user-defined categories, so separating the config files out is a good idea.

I have had some luck with moving between production and beta by deleting and re-creating the config directories, which reinforces your intuition. I did have a couple of situations where I was forced to recreate the config files because columns simply disappeared. These seemed to be related to exceptions in the production version raised when unknown columns appeared in either the saved geometry or the column list.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:50 PM   #10
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No "new books" means recipes will be a problem, we'll have to turn off automatic news fetching in one or both.
I had to give all the warnings, because s**t happens. However, I have been running with the new stuff including news feeds for a few weeks without trouble, and have only had to revert to the standard release to look at a few tickets. I will be very surprised if we have a Chernobyl/TMI experience, but as it is possible, the warnings are appropriate.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
i want your cat to be positively blissed-out.
She is currently sitting on my wrist as I type, purring up a storm, so the good wishes are working! (It is remarkably difficult to type accurately with a cat draped across one's wrists. )
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:11 PM   #12
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EDIT:
fingers crossed for user customizable icons for virtual libraries x-x
sorry dont mean to be superfluous. it is just that i like gloss
I knew you would say that.

I think that your suggestion is very reasonable. However, Kovid is actively thinking about how that space can best be used, where 'best' is defined by where he wants to take Calibre over the next years. There is every reason to believe that he will end up in a place that makes a lot of sense. Rarely in my almost 40 years of SW development experience have I encountered someone who both listens to other opinions and makes quick informed decisions, and it has been a pleasure to work with him. Of course, his version of 'making sense' may not be the same as yours (and isn't always the same as mine), but it will be informed and consistent with some set of principles.
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaley View Post
She is currently sitting on my wrist as I type, purring up a storm, so the good wishes are working! (It is remarkably difficult to type accurately with a cat draped across one's wrists. )
Yes, it is. I speak from experience. I have a Siamese who does the same thing. Karma for your typing skills whilst being paralyzed by a cat.
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:48 AM   #14
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I just found Calibre, and after spending a few hours with 0.6.51, I'm jumping right into the beta (those custom columns are calling me!)

I'm running on an XP SP3 work system that I'm not allowed to install software on. I copied the Calibre2 folder to my key drive, and it seems to work correctly from the drive, except for being able to open Preferences.

Here's the error I get:

ERROR: ERROR: Unhandled exception: <b>KeyError</b>:u'size'

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "site-packages\calibre\gui2\ui.py", line 2225, in do_config
File "site-packages\calibre\gui2\dialogs\config\__init__.py", line 373, in __init__
KeyError: u'size'

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ccayer View Post
ERROR: ERROR: Unhandled exception: <b>KeyError</b>:u'size'

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "site-packages\calibre\gui2\ui.py", line 2225, in do_config
File "site-packages\calibre\gui2\dialogs\config\__init__.py", line 373, in __init__
KeyError: u'size'

Any thoughts?
If you have hidden the sizes column, then yes, I know what the problem is. This is one of those cases where fixing problem A created problem B, and I didn't do enough regression testing.

Workaround: Don't hide any of the standard columns. If you already have done so (and I hope that you have), then stop calibre, edit gui.py in your calibre configuration directory and remove the 4 lines beginning with
Code:
# column map
# Columns to be displayed in the book list
column_map = cPickle.loads(
Restart calibre, and preferences should again be available.

Alternatively, simply delete the file gui.py. If you do this, you will lose a fair amount of configuration information, but you won't break anything.

If you are working from source and are comfortable editing a python file, then see here for the line of code to change.
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