Since there’s a documentation freeze (and it’s not like I’d, uh, get around to doing a great job updating them anyways. :-( ), I figured the next best thing I could do would be to explain somewhere what the deal is with the cover management code for the JuK release that will be part of KDE 3.5.
First off, a screenshot of one new feature: JuK will try to detect when you’re renaming files that have cover art, and if a folder has the album name, JuK will automatically set the folder icon to the cover art. :-)
Anyways, the new cover management code opens some new possibilities for users. In KDE 3.4, the cover for a track was strictly tied to its artist and album name. Although this proved useful enough, and had a few advantages, it wasn’t a great way to organize the covers. If you wanted to use a cover for a different track, you either had to rename the tags in the track, or you had to duplicate the image. And if your track had no Artist or Album information, JuK would prevent you from setting a cover since it had no information to go by. It worked, but it could be better.
In KDE 3.5, it is better. It’s still not perfect, and I’m not really happy with the Cover Manager dialog window. But it works, and it can save you time while allowing you to do more.
So just as an example, let’s say you wanted to set a cover for tracks you just ripped off of your CD. We’ll use Alabama – Greatest Hits III for the sake of discussion. In KDE 3.3, you could simply select any one of those tracks, and import a cover from the Internet by right-clicking, and using the Cover Manager -> Get Cover From Internet command. As a side effect of the way JuK worked, the cover would be immediately applied to all of the Alabama – Greatest Hits III tracks, whether you wanted that or not.
In KDE 3.4, the procedure is exactly the same, with one exception: You should select all of the tracks you want to apply the cover to first. So you would select all the Alabama – Greatest Hits III tracks before using the Get Cover From Internet command. Or if you only wanted to set cover art to half for some reason, you’d only select half the tracks. Don’t worry about duplicating covers, either: JuK is smart enough to re-use the same image, so you won’t get 14 duplicate .png images cluttering your hard drive.
But what happens if you forgot to select all the tracks you wanted to tag? You could select them and repeat the process, but that would leave a duplicate cover on your hard drive (JuK can’t quickly tell whether two images are identical, maybe I’ll do MD5 hashing later or something). But that’s OK, you can tell JuK to use the cover from another track.
There are two ways of doing this: The first is to open the Cover Manager dialog using the Tagger menu (Tagger -> Cover Manager > Show Cover Manager). The Cover Manager will display a list of all the covers JuK knows about on the right, and after they have loaded you can quickly pare the list down using the search line, or by using the list of Artists on the left. Once you see the cover you want to use, you can drag-and-drop the cover onto a track to apply it. It should happen nearly instantaneously since JuK is reusing the same image (and you’ll see the cover while you’re dragging it as well). Unfortunately, it can take awhile to load the covers, and the Cover Manager isn’t really useful for much else besides.
So this leads to the second method, the one I prefer to use because it’s rather easy. All you do is double-click on the track that has the cover you want in order to start it playing. This will cause its cover to show up in the Now Playing bar, and you can drag-and-drop the cover to the track you want to change exactly as you would for the Cover Manager.
Also note that you can use drag-and-drop to quickly apply covers to more than one track. Just select the tracks you want to apply a cover to, and drag the cover onto one of the selected tracks.
So, that’s about it for my introduction to the new cover management code. If you’re wondering what else it’s good for, here’s some more suggestions:
- Applying the same cover to tracks with Albums that have (Disc 1), (Disc 2), etc, which you couldn’t do in 2.3 without duplicating the cover.
- Applying a “generic” cover to tracks if you simply must have a cover on every track, or if you have music that wasn’t released as an album but fits a genre well, you could make yourself a cover for that type of music and apply it to the songs in question.