Monthly Archives: April 2005

The MetaBrainz Foundation launches!

After many months of hard work, the MetaBrainz Foundation has been launched!
We have just issued a press release to announce the foundation.

I am excited to announce our all-star board of directors:

In the past few weeks a number of people have gone through great lengths to help me launch MetaBrainz. I’d like to thank: Dave Evans, Matthias Friedrich, Alex Dupuy, Gavin Clarke, Don Redman, John Carter, Nikki and Tarragon Allen. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Read on for the full press release!


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Wikidocs server release

We just updated the main server with improved and updated documentation and improved news item handling. This release allows us to delegate the documentation tasks of MusicBrainz to a greater number of people, which should keep our documentation more up to date.

Wikidocs

A number of static web pages for documentation and other content that goes stale over time, has been replaced with a set of wiki pages. To accomplish this, we’ve created a separate new wiki that is accessible to a handful of brainerz who have volunteered as documentation experts. All of the pages in this wiki are camouflaged so that the end user doesn’t really see that it is a wiki. Visitors with an untrained eye should not notice that our documentation is now served via a wiki — the end user will just see that the wikidoc pages have a prefix of /wd.

Blog news and release notes

The Movable Type blog software is now used to publish release notes (such as this one) and general news entries. This centralizes the news into one convenient place where we can give measured access to various people in the community. It also removes some of the clutter that has built up in the main web page.

MetaBrainz and financial pages

The MetaBrainz web page has been launched and all financial pages have been moved there. More on this tomorrow during the official launch!

Changes of interest to developers

Dave Evans says:

Replication: changed DB_IS_REPLICATED to REPLICATION_TYPE – finer degree
of control. When importing data into a slave, refuse to import
non-replicated tables. Rewrote the replication slave code to be more
robust, and slightly faster.

Other minor fixes for when running as a slave.

committed a patch by Lukas Lalinsky to avoid a server trip when changing
artist type

Fixed very minor date-related error in RelationshipBox

Advanced relationships released!

Some will say that hell froze over today…

We just updated the main server with Advanced Relationships (AR)!

After nearly two years of brainstorming and several months of tinkering, the new feature is finally live! (see the release notes for details)

This new feature takes MusicBrainz into a new direction towards becoming a music encyclopedia — as opposed to a simple music metadatabase. While the server team does not believe in version numbers for the server (we prefer to use dates), this could be considered MusicBrainz Version 1.75 — its not quite MusicBrainz 2.0, but we’re getting really close. Now that we have Advanced Relationships in place we will be able to easily add on Concerts and Record Label support in future releases — that would bring us to MusicBrainz 2.0. :-)

A few more notes about this release:

  1. IMPORTANT if you have a replicating server (!!): Due to a small bork-up in the release process, you must do a full import on your database to kickstart the replication process again. Sorry for the hassle! :-(
  2. If the site hassles you about an unverified mail address, simply log out and back in.
  3. If you’re adding AR links and think up new link types or new instruments/vocals, please add them to this wiki page
  4. How does AR change the styleguidelines? Should you still do silly things like ‘feat.’? Yes, please continue to follow the style guidelines. I’ll work with Tarragon to update them with respect to AR.

Big thanks for helping with this goes to: Dave Evans and Don Redman. Thanks to everyone else who helped brainstorm and test the new feature!

Server Updates

(This change log includes all changes made to the server since the date
of the last release.  Some of these changes are new as of the
above date; some were introduced between the previous release and this one).

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Users

Advanced Relationships

The much awaited Advanced Relationships feature is finally complete. Advanced Relationships allows
the user to create a relationship between an Artist, Album, Track or URL. Each relationship may
have optional attributes (e.g. instrument performed, guest performance) and/or a date range
for which the links applies.

This feature is best explained with some examples:

  • Artist – Artist relationship: The Edge is a member of U2
  • Album – Artist relationship: Incendio has acoustic guitar performed by Jim Stubblefield
  • Artist – Track relationship: Symphony No. 5 was conduced by Herbert von Karajan
  • Artist – URL relationship: Morcheeba has a home page at: http://morcheeba.net/

To see a good example of what is possible with Advanced Relationships, take a look at the album Incendio.
For complete documentation on the AdvancedRelationships feature, please see the Advanced Relationships Documentation on the wiki.

Artist changes

It is now possible to enter multiple artists with the same name. If you are adding an artist with the same
(or very similar) name to an existing artist, you will be prompted to enter an artist comment. This short artist
comment is used to differentiate this artist from other similar artists and will be shown whenever
artists appear in a list and the user needs to chose the correct artist.

Artists can now also be differentiated as a Group or as a Person (via the add or edit artist pages). Artists
can also have formed/born or dissolved/died dates (for groups and persons, respectively).

Moderating and Voting now requires a verified email address

As per discussion on the mb-users mailing list, users must now provide a verified email address
in order to vote or moderate. Hopefully this will increase the communication between moderators
and reduce the number of random voters.

New Preference: “Show ‘Inline’ Moderations”

Due to problems with some new moderators randomly voting NO on moderations, we have
turned off showing random moderations in the inline moderation i-frame. The inline moderation feature
is now only available to moderators who have had their account for more than two weeks
and will be disabled by default.

If you do opt to be shown inline moderations, then they will no longer
include moderations unrelated to the page you’re on.  (Previously
the system would select a moderation for the artist you’re looking at,
or otherwise one of your subscribed artists, or otherwise a related artist,
or otherwise any artist.  Now that final part has been removed).

Miscellaneous

  • JMP3Rename and MP3Tag were added to the related projects page.
  • The completely out of date and improbable design for MusicBrainz II has been removed from the DB Structure pages. Please
    refer to the more up to date MusicBrainz database structure page.
  • The funky “A” graphic that used to indicate an automoderation has been replaced by an (automod) text in a smaller font on the left hand side.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Administrators

InitDb.pl has been cleaned up a bit. 
You can now use it to create the database (and user, and language, etc)
but with no tables in it: ./admin/InitDb.pl --createdb --empty-database.

If you try to import the wrong tar files (where the schema sequence
of the tar file doesn’t match that of your database), then previously
MBImport.pl would decompress all of the tar files, then find the error
(and then delete all the decompressed files).  It now finds the
error much sooner, without wasting all that time decompressing the
tar files first.

The Pending/PendingData tables are now built in to the main SQL scripts;
all MusicBrainz databases (including replication masters, and replication
slaves, and ones that aren’t replicating at all) will always include these
tables.

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Dave Evans and Robert Kaye

MusicBrainz gatherings — coming to a country near you!

I will be making a trip to Europe and as part of that I like to go and visit MusicBrainz contributors/fans in lots of places. This time around, I’ll be making the stops listed below. If you’d like to come join me to have a beer or dinner or whatever, please post a comment here and we’ll work out the details:

  • Karlsruhe, Germany: May 1st
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands: May 3rd
  • London, United Kingdom: May 7th

Let’s meet up, have a beer and talk about MusicBrainz!

Advanced Relationships final testing!

After talking about it for nearly two years, and hacking on it for 4+ months, the Advanced Relationships feature is finally ready for the final test and if things go well, ready for release on April 10th.

To make this happen, we need your help one more time. Please take a moment to use your normal password to log in to the test server and take AR for a spin:

http://test.musicbrainz.org

The notes for this release are here

A few things to keep in mind:

  • The AR links entered will *not* be kept, since its too much of a pain to migrate them to the main server. The AR link types and attribute types will be kept, since those are much easier to move. But this only affects link moderators.
  • The AR documentation is a wiki stub page. Can I interest someone to write that page? The documentation needs to be a general introduction to AR and how to use it for average users. If you’ve been looking for a way to contribute and are handy with english, but suck at coding, here is your chance!
  • Please don’t throw out suggestions for new AR features — at this point we’d like to hear only about bug reports. We’ll start collecting suggestions for how to improve AR after the initial release when people have had a chance to play with it thoroughly.