The App Panel at different scales

App Panel Scaling

IMatch apps are designed to be responsive and adapt to the current screen resolution. But sometimes this may not be enough, for example, when you want to use very small App Panels to maximize the screen estate available for other panels or the file window. Or when you use IMatch on a small tablet or notebook while on-location.

Scaling

Under Edit > Preferences > Application: User Interface you can control the global scale for information rendered in App Panels. You can reduce or increase the scale in 16 steps between -8 (smaller) and +8 (larger).

App Panel Scaling Control

Using the Apply button allows you to see the change in all open App Panels immediately. The App Panel on the left uses a scale factor of 0 (default). As you can see, the buttons in the panel need to wrap because the panel width is too small to display them in one row. By reducing the scale factor to -3, the data and control elements fit neatly in the available panel.

The App Panel at different scales

Summary

The global scaling for App Panels enables you to size the contents precisely to your requirements and liking.

See also the related article Configuring IMatch for High-DPI Screens and Easier Reading.

IMatch Logo with Cloud

IMatch and Cloud Storage

IMatch Logo with Cloud

Services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and others make it very easy to backup files into the cloud. This is often used as a second or third tier backup strategy. In addition to local backups of all your important files for easy and quick recovery.

This know-how article explains how your can integrate cloud storage with IMatch.

 

Keep It Local

All of the above cloud providers allow you to use a mode where you keep a local copy of all the files managed in the cloud. This makes these files accessible for all applications on your computer — without any special software and also very fast. If you change a file in one of the cloud backed folders, it is automatically synchronized with the cloud storage. If you change files on another computer which is synchronized with your cloud, the changed files are automatically downloaded to all your other computers.

Integrate with IMatch

This is exactly the way to do it when you want to manage your files in IMatch and use the cloud to store your files.

Image of Dropbox folder in Windows Explorer

You just include the folders in the local copy of your cloud storage (e.g., the Photos sub-folder in the Dropbox folder) in your IMatch database.

This way you can manage the files in IMatch, search, view, edit metadata etc.

Whenever you change a file in IMatch, the file is synchronized back into the cloud automatically. And when you change files on other systems and the cloud synchronizes your local copy with the cloud afterwards, IMatch detects the new and updated files and updates the database.

This gives you the best of both worlds. IMatch and integrated cloud storage.

 

 

IMatch Databases in Cloud Storage

As a backup, great. Just copy your IMatch database(s) into your cloud folders at regular intervals or let Windows do it with a scheduled task. Keeping a live database in cloud storage, however, can be problematic and sometimes even dangerous.

When IMatch has a database open, it creates temporary files, lock files and short-lived transaction journal files. These files come and go as needed by the database system. They enable IMatch to cleanly undo failed database operations, to recover from catastrophic events like power failures and to handle multi-user scenarios. And of course IMatch updates database file several times per second.

When IMatch closes a database, all temporary files are removed and only the .imd* database file remains. The database is then in a clean state and ready for backup.

Not Recommended for ‘Live’ Databases…

But when you keep your ‘working’ IMatch databases in the local Dropbox folder, this is what happens:

Dropbox recognizes that the database file has changed and that temporary files have been added, updated or removed. It then starts to synchronize these files into the cloud. While Dropbox is doing this, IMatch continues to update the database, creating and removing temporary files. Whatever ends up in the cloud is most likely outdated and inconsistent. Nothing you can rely on as a backup.

And there might be a performance penalty, too. If Dropbox is locking files while it processes them, IMatch may be slowed down or even run into timeouts.

For these reasons, it is not recommended to keep ‘live’ IMatch databases in Dropbox. You can copy a closed database into a Dropbox folder for backup purposes. But not while IMatch (or IMatch WebServices™) have the database open.

I used Dropbox as an example here, but the same behavior can also be found with Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.

 

Find other interesting articles in the DAM Knowledge Base.

 

IMatch Anywhere Logo

Activating IMatch Anywhere CAL Licenses

After installing IMatch Anywhere on a computer you have to activate the included Client Access License (CAL) once. After the CAL has been activated, IMatch WebServices are ready to use. CAL licenses are linked to a specific computer. After activating the CAL you cannot activate it on another computer for at least 90 days.

How the activate a CAL for the free 30-day trial version of IMatch Anywhere is explained in the video tutorial Installing IMatch Anywhere in the IMatch Learning Center.

Activating a CAL

Unless a CAL is activated, the IMatch WebService Controller application displays a warning message (in red) and the service cannot be started:

IMatch Anywhere Controller without installed CAL license

 

Open the License Manager

To activate your CAL you use the built-in License Manager in the Controller application.

Click on the Configure button to open the configuration dialog, and there click on the License Manager button:

Configuration dialog box

 

Automatic License Activation

This is the default activation mode. It requires an Internet connection.

1. Enter the email address used for your purchase and the license key you have received from our distributor share-it on behalf of your purchase. You’ll find both in the email sent to you by our distributor share-it after processing your order.

2. Click on the Activate button to activate the CAL for this computer.

License Manager

3. After a few seconds, the controller application completes the activation process:

Successful activation

Your CAL has been activated and you can now use IMatch WebServices on this computer.

Close the License Manager dialog and also the Configuration dialog. You can now start IMatch WebServices by clicking the Start button. The maximum number of concurrent users included in the activated CAL license is displayed in the dialog. Each CAL allows for one concurrent user.

Controller with activated CALs

 

Manual License Activation

If the computer on which you want to activate the CAL has no Internet connection, you can activate the CAL manually on another computer or from your smart phone.

To do this, switch the License Manager to Manual License Activation and follow the instructions.

Manual license activation

1. Log into the customer portal at https://www.photools.com/customer. You can now see your CAL license in the My Downloads section.

2. Copy the machine key from the License Manager dialog into the input field on the web site.

3. Click on the Activate and Download CAL button.

Activating a CAL on the customer portal web site

 

4. Copy the resulting CAL key back into the License Manager dialog and click on the Save CAL button.

Activating and saving a CAL

This completes the manual license activation. IMatch WebServices is now ready to accept connections from your users.

IMatch Keyword Panel

Free Controlled Vocabularies for IMatch

The IMatch Thesaurus is a very powerful tool for creating and managing controlled vocabularies  – not only for keywords!

What is a Controlled Vocabulary?

A controlled vocabulary (Wikipedia) is basically a list of hierarchical keywords and synonyms. Instead of manually entering keywords, you pick them from the thesaurus. This not only makes keywording (tagging) files much quicker, it also improves the quality and consistency.

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Importing Lightroom Keyword Lists

IMatch can fill the thesaurus from keywords already used in your files (see the IMatch help for details) and it can import thesaurus data in a variety of formats.

In this knowledge-base article I want to show you how you can easily import keyword lists in the popular Adobe Lightroom® text format.

To import a keyword text file designed for Lightroom, open the Thesaurus Manager in IMatch (toolbar button in either the Metadata or Keyword Panel). Click on the Import & Export toolbar button and select the Text format in the format selector box at the bottom.

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Now select the Lightroom keyword file you want to import and click on Open.

Groups and Synonyms

The IMatch thesaurus automatically detects groups and synonyms contained in the file and converts them to the corresponding IMatch Thesaurus objects. See the IMatch help system for more information about keyword groups and synonyms and how to use them in IMatch.

Result

After a short while the Thesaurus Manager shows the results of the import. You can now review and edit the imported keywords as needed. Click OK to save the thesaurus to the database.

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IMatch Default Thesaurus

IMatch includes a default thesaurus with a set of universal hierarchical keywords. This thesaurus is automatically imported into new databases. If you have used IMatch 3 in the past, this keyword list was available as the Universal Catalog category set in that version.

If you already have created your database and you want to import the universal thesaurus, you can do this via the Import command in the Thesaurus Manager. The default thesaurus is named system-en.imths and contained in the C:\Program Data\photools.com\IMatch6\Presets folder.

Free Keyword Lists

In addition to creating your very own controlled vocabulary from scratch, you can start out by using one of the many free Lightroom keyword lists available on the web. Some examples:

Each of these lists has several thousand hierarchical keywords and should get you started just nicely. You can edit the keywords after importing them into IMatch to match your personal requirements and keywording habits. Maybe you export your modified thesaurus later to share it with others.

Commercial Controlled Vocabularies

A very good resource for both information about controlled vocabularies and high-quality commercial controlled vocabularies for many applications is the Controlled Vocabulary web site.

You might also want to check out Photo-Keywords (also has links to other paid and free keyword lists) or Keyword Catalog for additional paid lists of curated keywords.

Other Resources

There are many other lists out there as well. A good overview of commercial (paid) and free lists can be found here:

Find other interesting articles in the DAM Knowledge Base.

Putting Some Smarts Into File Names

Using smart file names can be a key for successful digital asset management. Some users prefer to include dates in file names. Other users include project codes or use a globally unique file naming schema. Whatever naming schema you decide to use, IMatch has tools to make the job easier.

IMatch includes a powerful tool named Renamer. With it you cannot only rename files in smart ways, but also copy and move files, add folders on-the-fly, create automatic backups, and more…

The Problem

Cameras often use file names like _DSC12345.jpg, which are not really informative or useful. You cannot tell anything about the contents of the file by just looking at the file name. And, if you use more than one camera, you may even end up with duplicate file names. And that’s never a good idea.

Although the physical file name is not that important anymore when you use a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system like IMatch. But it’s always better to be able to work with your files properly outside of your DAM, e.g. when you upload files to your web site or send them out to clients or a printing service.

The Solution

The IMatch Renamer tool enables you to create consistent and descriptive file names – automatically, when new files are indexed by your database, or later at any time. Whether you use simple numerical file names or you include additional information like date and time, a project code or even metadata like title or job id is up to you.

Some Examples For File Naming Conventions

_DSC12345.ext This is the file name format used by most digital cameras today. Each image file gets a sequential number and the prefix DSC (Digital Still Camera). A leading underscore is added if the file is in the Adobe RGB color space.
2015-08-01_12345.ext This file name consists of the year-month-day the image was taken, plus a sequential number. This format is pretty common because the file names are not only descriptive but also ensure that the images are sorted by date in software like Windows Explorer.
P8781-00121.ext
P8781-20150801-00121.ext
A file naming schema which uses a project code (P8781) and then a 5-digit sequential number which identifies each file in that project. The second variant also includes the date and time.

The Renamer has a special project code feature which prompts you to input a project code automatically.

20150801-usa-new-↵
york-890.ext
A file name which consists of a date stamp, the country and city name where the image was taken and a sequential number. File names like this are great when you travel a lot.

The Renamer can construct such file names from the location metadata in the image automatically.

Project_Location_Lab_Cond_↵
20150801100501_001.ext
A file name how it is often used for files created in research projects. Each file name contains important information about the object(s) shown in the image.

The Renamer can construct such file names automatically by accessing both metadata stored in a file and global variables, e.g., the project name or the location and lab data.

Your naming convention make be based on one of these examples, or you create your own unique way of naming files. The Renamer in IMatch is flexible enough to handle (almost) everything you can come up with.

The IMatch Renamer

To rename files, select them in a File Window and then bring up the Renamer by pressing <Ctrl>+<F2>. The Renamer has a comfortable user interface which allows you to produce file names by adding one or more steps. There are steps to:

[list_font icon=”check-square-o” list_item_1=”add date and time in various formats” list_item_2=”add plain text and IMatch variables” list_item_3=”converting the case of file names” list_item_4=”including selected parts of the original file name” list_item_5=”replacing or delete text” list_item_6=”removing (leading/trailing) digits” list_item_7=”adding unique or sequential numbers” list_item_8=”copying and moving files” list_item_9=”creating folders on-the-fly, even with names based on variables” list_item_10=”prompting the user to enter a project code when he renames files” list_item_11=”…”]

While you add or change steps, the embedded preview allows you to see the resulting file names. No changes are made to the file system, the Renamer merely simulates the rename operation. It also checks for and indicates duplicate file names you may produce with your steps.

Example: Date and Sequence Number Format

The Renamr user interface.
The user interface of the Renamer.

In the screen shot above we create file names in the format: YYYY-MM-DD-nnnnn.ext format. At the bottom of the dialog box you see the source file name and destination file name. If you rename more then one file, you can click on the Preview… button to see the resulting file names for all files.

Example: Including the ISO Country Code and City Name

To create the more complex YYYYMMDD-Country Code-City Name-sequence number format explained in the table above, we just need a few more steps:

The File Renamer: Renaming files using county code and city name

The first step adds the date in the YYYYMMDD format. Then we add a – and the ISO country code. We follow up with another – and then the name of the city. The country code and city name are retrieved directly from the XMP metadata of the file by using the corresponding IMatch variables. The final two steps add yet another – and a 5-digit sequence number. For the sample image used for this demo, the resulting file name is: 20140321-USA-New York-28190.jpg.

See the Renamer topic in the IMatch help system for numerous additional examples and tips & tricks.

Important: Buddy and Sidecar Files

Most of the RAW processing software in use today (and also image editing software, audio and video processing tools) produce sidecar or ‘buddy’ files for each file you process. A typical example are XMP files which contain the XMP metadata for your RAW fies. If you have a _DSC12345.RAW file, the XMP file will be named _DSC12345.XMP.

RAW processors or image editing software also create a variety of other files with settings, configuration data or history info for each image you process in these applications. Sometimes these files are in the same folder as the image, sometimes in sub-folders.

When you rename an image file, it is important to rename the sidecar and buddy files as well. Otherwise you may break the ‘link’ between the image file and the sidecar files which can have dire consequences.

The Renamer cooperates with IMatch’s unique file relations concept and thus ‘knows’ about buddy and sidecar files – even if these are not indexed by your IMatch database. The Renamer automatically ensures that buddy and sidecar files are renamed together with the image file.

File Names in Digital Asset Management

The Renamer tool in IMatch enables you to create descriptive and consistent file names. It offers easy features to include date and time, arbitrary metadata, text and automatic numeric sequences in file names. By using the embedded preview you can test your rename results without making changes to the file system. The Renamer also cooperates with the unique file relations feature in IMatch to automatically rename buddy and sidecar files when the corresponding image is renamed.

The File Window displaying multiple keywords per row.

Tune Your File Window Layouts

The File Window in IMatch can be customized in many ways using file window layouts. You have full control over whether you use a thumbnail or a tabular layout and over the data to be included for each file.

File window layout customization in the digital image management system IMatch.

This know-how article explains some tricks which you can use with custom templates in conjunction with variables.

See the File Window Layouts help topic in the IMatch Help system for a full overview of all available features and many examples.

Custom Templates and Layouts

When creating a custom layout, you usually just pick the IMatch data elements and metadata tags to display in the file window. Maybe also change the font size, alignment or color. This already gives you a lot of control over the data you see for each file.

Even more options are available when you switch the layout element to use a custom template. This allows you to use IMatch Variables and all related functionality, plus a subset of XAML formatting to control font sizes, colors and other aspects of the output.

You can use custom templates for each of the four headers and 8 footers, mixing them freely with standard elements. In the following example we configured Header 2 left to display the XMP headline. We also changed the font size and the color:

The File Window Layout Editor
The file window layout editor.

The resulting file window layout displays the contents of the XMP headline tag under the file name, in a bigger font and a orange color:

Screen shot of the file window.
We could use any other variable, or multiple variables in the template. Whatever is needed to produce the output you want.

Displaying Lists

Some variables return lists of elements, e.g., the XMP hierarchicalKeywords variable or the Categories variables. IMatch separates list elements with the list separator character configured for Windows (usually ; or , ) . This results in values like “vacation;summer;family;holiday;Hawaii”.

IMatch offers a wide variety of variable functions, which allow you to manipulate the results of variables. By using the replace function, we can replace the default list separator ; with something different.

For example, if you want to display each keyword in a separate row, replace the ; with a line feed {lf}:

{File.MD.hierarchicalkeywords|replace:~;=={lf}}

Note that we use the short code for the variable instead of the full variable name ({File.MD.XMP::Lightroom\hierarchicalSubject\HierarchicalSubject}). The output is identical, but using the short code makes it easier to read.

To make room for the keywords, we increased the height of the footer to 120 pixel. If there are more keywords than there is room in the thumbnail panel, IMatch automatically crops the excess keywords.

The File Window Layout Editor showing the template for the custom footer.

The resulting file window layout displays the keywords assigned to the file in the footer, with one keyword per row:

The File Window Layout with Keywords.
A file window layout which displays XMP hierarchicalSubject values (keywords) in a ‘one keyword per row’ layout.

 

An Alternative: Let It Wrap

The approach to put each keyword on a single line may be a waste of screen space when you increase the thumbnail size. In this case there is likely enough room to fit multiple keywords per row.

To allow for that, we replace the ; separator with something like ,<blank> (a comma followed by a SPACE character). This allows the file window layout engine to fill the available space, automatically wrapping at the SPACE to create additional rows as needed. This variable

{File.MD.hierarchicalkeywords|replace:~;==, }

yields the desired result:

The File Window displaying multiple keywords per row.
The same file window, but with larger thumbnails. This makes room to fit multiple keywords per row. The layout engine in the digital asset management IMatch automatically re-formates the keywords to fill the available space, wrapping into separate lines as needed.

Displaying IMatch Attribute Data

Attributes allow you to create your own database inside the IMatch database. They are used to store custom data for each file, independent from the file format or the supported metadata. Attributes are great for purposes like keeping notes per file, submission tracking, billing, etc.

You can store any number of Attribute records per file. The corresponding variables return all values for a given attribute in a list semicolon-separated, just like the XMP hierarchicalSubject variable we used in the examples above.

In a recent post in the photools.community, a user asked how he can display this data in the file window. There may be multiple records per file, and each record may have multiple attributes.

For this example, we use a typical submission tracking Attribute Set. The IMatch user keeps track of which stock photo agencies (or web sites) he has submitted a file to, the state of the submission and the revenue. In the IMatch Attributes Panel, this looks like this:

The IMatch Attribute Panel
A submission tracking Attribute Set in the Attribute panel. Click for a larger view.

See the Attributes topic in the IMatch help system for detailed information about the IMatch Attribute database. The Submission tracking is used there as an example as well.

The file used in the screen shot above has 3 attribute records, each keeping data about one submission. If you want to display this data (or some of it) inside the file window, you can use the same method described in the keywords example above: You use a custom template for the file window layout, and control the data to display with IMatch variables.

But how to deal with the multiple records per file? When we just use the variable

{File.AT.Submissions.Client}

IMatch returns a list of all values for the Client Attribute, separated with a semicolon : DaguckstDu Stock Fotos;Bright Eyes Stock Photography;Whoa! Stock. The same happens for {File.AT.Submissions.Amount}: 280,00 $;450,00 $;250,00 $. Not really helpful. We would like to see the client, the date the file was submitted and how much money we made from it next to each other, in the same row, somehow.

The Trick: Indexing Variables

To achieve this, we use the index variable function, which allows us to access individual elements (aka records) in the variable. For example:

{File.AT.Submissions.Client|index:0}

returns the name of the Client from the first record (variables start counting at 0). With index:1 we get the second record, and so on. Now, after making some experiments in the awesome Var Toy App which is included in IMatch (see the App Panel and the IMatch help), we created this:

{File.AT.Submissions.Client|index:0}↵
{File.AT.Submissions.Date submitted|format:YYYY-MM-DD;index:0}↵
{File.AT.Submissions.Amount|index:0}

We use three variables to access the Client, the Date Submitted and the Amount attributes. With index:0 we tell IMatch to return only the first record. The resulting output is:

DaguckstDu Stock Fotos  2015-04-06  280,00 $

which is exactly what we want. Now, we just duplicate this variable group a number of times to access the 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4th record (we assume that we don’t sell each image more than five times):

{File.AT.Submissions.Client|index:0} {File.AT.Submissions.Date submitted|format:YYYY-MM-DD;index:0;prefix:(;postfix:)}{File.AT.Submissions.Amount|index:0;prefix: : }

{File.AT.Submissions.Client|index:1} {File.AT.Submissions.Date submitted|format:YYYY-MM-DD;index:1;prefix:(;postfix:)}{File.AT.Submissions.Amount|index:1;prefix: : }

{File.AT.Submissions.Client|index:4} {File.AT.Submissions.Date submitted|format:YYYY-MM-DD;index:4;prefix:(;postfix:)}{File.AT.Submissions.Amount|index:4;prefix: : }

Each of these variable groups produces one row in the file window. If a file has only 1 or 2 records (or none), IMatch automatically suppresses the output of the remaining variables., no rows are emitted. Which is of course exactly what we want.

We used the prefix and postfix functions to add ( and ) around the date instead of just adding them as literal text. This means that the parentheses will not show when the variable itself is suppressed.

This may look a bit complicated, but it really isn’t. It’s just variables, but with a neat twist in order to create this advanced example. To give this a try, we created a tabular file window layout and the five groups of variables from above to a custom template:

The digital image management system IMatch upports file window customization.

Each submission is displayed with the name of the client, the date of the submission and the amount of money created from that submission. Awesome!

Summary

File Window Layouts in IMatch enable you to control the data displayed in the file window. You can easily control the attributes or metadata to display, and also choose font sizes and colors.

If you need more advanced layouts, or you want to have fine control over the data to display, and how this data is formatted, you can use custom templates. In combination with IMatch variables this gives you a lot of options to work with.