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JulianL
2005-08-20, 16:07
Despite all the great help from this forum, I've managed to make one stupid mistake in ripping/tagging my collection so I need to decide what to do. Critical to my decision will be the upcoming <sort albums by year> feature so I have a few questions (and a suggestion).

First a bit of background. When I'm browsing by artist I want to see the albums for each artist listed in chronological order. To achieve this I set the ALBUMSORT tag to things like "Bowie, David, <year>" for each David Bowie album so that they sort in year order. So far so good but, like an idiot, I only set the ALBUMSORT tag for artists where I had more than one of their albums. This now means that when I browse by album I get neither a list in alphabetic title order (which I would have got if I hadn't used ALBUMSORT at all) nor a list in artist/year order (which I would have got if I had set ALBUMSORT on all my albums), what I get is a useless pretty random mixture of the two of course.

So, I need to fix the above and, with today's features, that means setting ALBUMSORT for everything. The thing is, if sort by year is pretty close then I'd prefer to just delete all my ALBUMSORT tags and wait for the problem to be fixed properly. Before I do that though, I'd just like to make sure I'm heading in the right direction and understand what is coming. Specifically.

1) Is sort by year in the beta release yet? If not then any idea when it will arrive?

2) How exactly will it work? Will there just be a server-wide setting that if not enabled then, while browsing by artist, albums sort alphabetically as now but, if set, then albums sort by year?

3) When sort by year is set, what other browsing modes (e.g. browse by genre, browse by album) will be affected and how? Does it just affect browse by artist (which is how I hope it works)?

Now, assuming I have it sort of correct as to how it will work, I have a pretty important request. When sorting by year, please do a textual sort not a numeric sort. I say this because there are a few artists who are sufficiently prolific so as to have released more than one album in the same year and I would like to make sure I have the ability to force the sort order to be correct on those albums by tagging them "1998a" and "1998b" or "1998-01" and "1998-12" (for instance). Just doing an ASCII sort would enable both schemes to work and regular 4 digit years would still sort correctly of course. A numeric sort would presumeably fail with my proposed tags because the string to integer convertion would break when it hits one of my non-numeric characters.

I hope the above makes sense and I'd be grateful for the answers to my questions.

- Julian

JulianL
2005-08-21, 11:16
Well, I was a bit more successful with my second attempt to search for this and I eventually found my way to Bug 112 in Bugzilla that relates to this. By my reading of Bug 112 I deduce the answers to my own questions as being:

1) It's not implemented yet and I can't see any timescale. It's P2 which I guess makes it a fairly high priority RFE. At least it's not P4 or P5. It does seem to have a few votes for it.

2) There doesn't seem to be much detail as to exactly how it will work so I guess it's not really been speced out in any detail yet. I've taken the liberty of adding my suggestions to Bug 112's comments as follows:

<Beginning of my comments>
1) I would only want this to affect the sorting of albums when browsing by artist. When I browse by album or genre I would prefer to keep alphabetical sorting by title. I guess this means that for me I would like to see seperate preference settings for browse-by-<artist/album/genre> so that I can set browse-by-artist to be sorted by year but leave the others as being sorted by title.

2) When albums are sorted by year I would really encourage whoever implements this to do the sort as a textual sort and not a numeric sort. I say this because there are a few artists who are sufficiently prolific so as to have released more than one album in the same year and I would like to make sure I have the ability to force the sort order to be correct on those albums by tagging them "1998a" and "1998b" or "1998-01" and "1998-12" (for instance). Just doing an ASCII sort would enable both schemes to work and regular 4 digit years would still sort correctly of course. A numeric sort would presumeably fail with my proposed tags because the string to integer convertion would break when it hits one of my non-numeric characters.
<End of my comments>

If anyone from the development team does have any info that isn't reflected in what I have read then I would love to hear about it.

- Julian

JJZolx
2005-08-21, 12:40
One "problem" I see with this request (and I may well be on the voting list for the enhancement) is that it's an interim fix, and one that requires at least one new server pref. Eventually I hope that the browsing modes become more flexible in their ability to sort by different columns and that a reasonably simple interface in the web UI is figured out for doing this. Of course, there's not a lot of UI correlation in the remote interface unless you start to do some unintuitive button mappings. From a design standpoint I'm not sure how the web UI and remote UI browsing are tied together, but I suspect there's something there that limits the flexibility in the web interface.