Demonstration

Does PTOMMI offer anything of value to you? PTOMMI tries to make finding the answer to this question a little easier by letting you try things out while running the real code, and not just presenting lists of features or showing you a small number of static screen captures. So if you're ready to give it a whirl, read on.

2.1 Quick Start

If you're the impatient sort and just want to get started, click on the link below. Log in with any name and password (that hasn't already been used), and you'll be taken to the main browse screen. Then just try out the controls. For some additional information about how things work, you can continue reading further.

2.2 Contents

The remainder of this document is organized as shown below. You can skip around however you like, but if you want to run the demo alongside your reading, be sure and start the main application first with the link provided under the Browse Mode section.

2.3 Conditions of the Demo

There are a few conditions of the demo which should be pointed out.

The remainder of this page gives some explanations concerning application controls and the different screen modes, which you can refer to during your exploration of the applications.

2.4 Browse Mode

Browse mode is the first screen shown after logging in. This mode allows the user to easily navigate through the directories and files which the application has been configured to display, and to select songs for inclusion into playlists. There are three frames shown in this mode: a menu frame on the left, a navigation bar on top, and a directory content frame in the lower right corner.

If you haven't done so already, you can fire up the MPS application in Browse mode by clicking on the link below.

2.4.1 Directory Content

In this frame, clicking on a directory name link will change the view to the contents of that directory. Clicking on a song file name link will cause a single-entry playlist containing a URL to that song to be sent back to the browser client. If the browser has been correctly set up, an MP3 player application should start up and begin streaming the song data from the server. This allows a user to quickly preview and identify many songs by just listening to their opening notes and not having to first download a number of large song files.

Clicking on the checkbox located to the right of a directory entry will select or unselect that entry. At the bottom of each listing for directories and song files are two labelled convenience buttons for either selecting all entries or deselecting all entries in that listing.

2.4.2 Browse Navigation Bar

This frame shows the current path that is being viewed in the directory content frame. Clicking on one of the links in the current path will change move the view up to that part of the path, enabling the user to quickly move back up the directory tree while browsing.

2.4.3 Browse Menu

This frame allows the user to perform commands on items that have been selected in the directory content frame. Commands include sending a playlist of selected items back to the client browser for playing, saving selected items in a named playlist for later use, and adding selected items to an existing playlist.

Before playlists are sent or saved, the user can choose to resort the order of songs in the playlist by selecting up to three sorting criteria to be applied. The first criteria is used to sort all songs, while later criteria are applied only in case of ties with earlier ones. For instance, choosing to sort by artist name as the first criteria would ensure that songs were arranged in groups according to the artist names. Adding a second criteria of sorting by album name would ensure that all songs from the same artist would be grouped by the album they appeared on. Adding a third criteria of sorting by track number would ensure that the songs on each album were played in the order they were originally recorded in. However, setting the third criteria to random would change the order of songs within each album group to a random setting. Many variants in song ordering are possible with the application of different sorting criteria.

One option is available on the menu form. The Use ID3 tag info option causes song entries to be displayed with additional information obtained from ID3 tags.

2.5 TreeView Mode

Application modes can be switched by clicking on one of the five buttons labelled Browse, TreeView, Search, Edit, and Report. For now, let's change to TreeView mode by clicking its button at the bottom of the screen, or by clicking on the link shown below.

TreeView mode allows the user to view the parts of a directory tree containing MP3 files all at the same time. Selecting individual songs or entire directory trees from multiple branches is easy to accomplish in TreeView mode.

There are two frames shown in this mode: a menu frame on the left side and the directory tree frame on the right side.

2.5.1 TreeView Directory

In this frame, clicking on the boxed +/- symbol to the left of a folder icon will close/open that directory's contents for viewing. Clicking on a song file name link will cause a playlist containing a URL to that song to be sent back to the browser client, allowing for easy previewing of songs.

Clicking on the checkbox located to the right of a directory entry will select or unselect that entry, as well as all entries contained within the directory. This enables rapid selection and deselection of songs in whole tree branches.

2.5.2 TreeView Menu

Just as in the Browse mode, this frame in TreeView mode allows the user to perform commands on items that have been selected. Commands include sending a playlist of selected items back to the client browser for playing, saving selected items in a named playlist for later use, and adding selected items to an existing playlist.

The user can also choose to resort the order of songs placed in the playlist in the same way as described for the Browse mode above.

Now, we can change to Search mode by clicking its button at the bottom of the screen, or by clicking on the link shown below.

Search mode allows the user to find songs based on the contents of song information fields. This field information may either be stored in special ID3 tags (either ID3v1 or ID3v2 ) attached to an MP3 song file, or derived from parts of the file name and directory location. MPS currently supports searching on nine different field types: artist, album, title, genre, track, year, comment, filesize, and length.

There are three frames shown in this mode: a search results display frame in the lower right corner, a query info frame above the result display frame, and a menu frame on the left side.

2.6.1 Search Results

A list of songs found from the last search query are shown in this display frame. Songs will be displayed as either a simple list of file paths or with additional song information fields, depending on state of the ID3 info option set in Browse mode.

Just as in the Browse and TreeView modes, clicking on a song link will cause a playlist containing a URL to that song to be sent back to the browser client, and clicking on the checkbox to the left of an entry will select that song. As in the Browse mode, convenience buttons are available for selecting or deselecting all songs in the list.

2.6.2 Search Query

This frame shows the search constraints making up the last search query.

2.6.3 Search Menu

Clicking on the Perform Search button in this frame causes a window to pop up for the user to enter the conditions which make up a search query. If you haven't done so yet, please click on the button to bring up this window. You'll see that a search query is formed by combining constraints that songs must meet during a search. Constraints are composed of a field that is being tested, the condition that is being tested, and one or two contraint values (depending on the condition). The rank value of a constraint indicates the order in which constraints are tested against songs.

As an example, enter "1" under Rank, select "artist" under Field, select "matches" under Condition, enter "Shania" under Values, and click on the Perform button. You should then see results returned for your query in the search results display frame. The search query window remains visible, and you can continue composing search constraints and performing search queries until you have found what you wanted. Click on the Cancel button to close the window.

Similar to the Browse and TreeView modes, the menu frame in Search mode also presents command buttons for sending a playlist for selected songs back to the client browser, saving selected songs into a new named playlist, or adding selected songs to an existing playlist.

2.7 Edit Mode

Next, we can move to Edit mode by clicking its button at the bottom of the screen, or by clicking on the link shown below.

Edit mode is used to help manage playlists that have been generated in Browse, TreeView, and Search modes. There are three frames shown in this mode: a playlist display frame in the lower right corner, a playlist identifier frame above the playlist display frame, and a menu frame on the left side.

2.7.1 Playlist Display

A list of songs from the most recently displayed playlist are shown in this frame. Like the Search result display frame, songs will be displayed as either a simple list of file paths or with additional song information fields, depending on state of the ID3 info option set in Browse mode.

Just as in the Browse, TreeView and Search modes, clicking on a song link will cause a playlist containing a URL to that song to be sent back to the browser client, and clicking on the checkbox to the left of an entry will select that song. As in the Browse and Search modes, convenience buttons are available for selecting or deselecting all songs in the list.

2.7.2 Playlist Identifier

This frame shows the name of the playlist being currently displayed.

2.7.3 Playlist Menu

This frame is where the user initiates edit operations that are to be performed on playlists or their selected contents. Available operations are divided into those that work on whole playlists under the label "Playlist Actions", and those that work on songs within the currently displayed playlist under the label "Content Actions".

Playlist actions include:

  1. changing the currently displayed playlist,
  2. removing a playlist,
  3. emptying a playlist,
  4. creating a new empty named playlist.

Content actions include:

  1. playing selected songs,
  2. showing the URLs of selected songs,
  3. deleting selected songs from the current playlist,
  4. copying selected songs to another playlist,
  5. reordering songs in the current playlist.

All operations are initiated by clicking on the menu's Execute button.

2.8 Report Mode

Finally, we can change to Report mode by clicking its button at the bottom of the screen, or by clicking on the link shown below.

Report mode is used to produce descriptions of song files located on the server. Report information can be output in a variety of formats, both for viewing by individuals and for further processing by other applications. There are three frames shown in this mode: a playlist display frame in the lower right corner, a playlist identifier frame above the playlist display frame, and a menu frame on the left side.

2.8.1 Playlist Display

This frame in Report mode uses the same screen layout and controls as the playlist display frame used in Edit mode (described above).

2.8.2 Playlist Identifier

This frame shows the name of the playlist being currently displayed.

2.8.3 Report Menu

This frame is where the user can select groups of songs to include in a report and the type of report to be generated. Reports are generated using song information contained in playlists. These playlists can be created in any of the other four application modes previously described, or can be imported from the user's machine in a simple XML-formatted song list.

To import a song list file, click on the Browse button under Import Songlist, locate the song file on the client's machine, enter a playlist name in the box labelled Name:, and click on the Get Songlist button.

An example song list file is available here . Try downloading this file to your computer and then importing it in Report mode.

Report output formatting is selected by the user. There are two builtin format options, Raw XML and Raw CSV, which simply dumps text files containing all song information for each song in a song list. Additional report formats can be created using an XML-formatted report description.

To import a report description file, click on the Browse button under Import Report Format, locate the report description file on the client's machine, and click on the Get Format button. You don't have to supply a name, since the report description should define one.

An example report description file is available here . Try downloading this file to your computer and then importing it in Report mode.

A report is generated by:

  1. selecting a song list under Choose Songlist,
  2. selecting a report format under Choose Report Format,
  3. selecting whether the report should be displayed or saved to a file,
  4. clicking on the Generate button.

If you imported the example song list and report description files as suggested earlier, you can now try displaying a report by selecting the playlist name you saved the song list under, selecting "compilations" as the report format, selecting output destination as "For display" with file type "HTML", and hitting "Generate".