I’ve started to use the Shareable Drive feature in RM8. The process is described in a Wiki page (ShareableDrive - RootsMagic Wiki) and is straightforward and easy to follow. I am working with a newly created database and wanted to see how media files were handled for the shareable drive.
All my media files are located in many directories organized by surname and sub-directories by individual, I used the Drop New Media option to attach several files to facts for one individual, then from the Publish page, clicked on Shareable Drive to install the read-only version of RM8 and my database to a flash drive. When I opened the new file from the shareable drive, the thumbnails for the media items were there, but when clicking on each of them the message “Media file not found” appeared. The links pointed to a directory on the flash drive. When I opened that directory, it was empty. I copied the missing media files from my hard drive to the directory on the shareable drive and was still unable to see them in the read-only version of RM8. Then I changed the folder settings so that the Media folder in my regular RM8 pointed to the primary directory containing my media files. I checked for any broken links, but didn’t find any. Then I added several more new media files and re-created the Shareable Drive. This time the new media files showed up in the shareable drive, but the media files attached prior to changing the folder settings did not appear. After deleting the original media files, then re-attaching them, all files transferred to the Shareable Drive folder. I came to the conclusion that the only way the Shareable Drive option works for media is to have defined a Media Folder in the Folder Settings tab, before attaching any media files to the original database.
Has anyone else found this behavior? It seems like if all your media was added with no default media folder that the files would transfer when you originate the Shareable Drive. I was also assuming that setting a media folder created relative links to each file and that the media directory structure would be maintained on the Shareable Drive. That does not seem to be the case. Any comments or advice regarding this would be appreciated.
I would have to spend considerable time experimenting with RM8’s implementation of Shareable Drive to be able to answer all your questions. I would only suggest that RM7’s implementation of Shareable Drive did not maintain your media directory structure. Rather, it placed all your files into a single large directory. I would therefore have no expectation that RM8 would do it any differently. Both RM7 and RM8 also place all your media files into a single large directory rather than maintaining your directory structure when you create a backup file that includes media files. So no version of RM does much of anything to maintain your directory and subdirectory structure.
I do know that RM8’s implementation of relative links to media files is considerably more complicated than it might seem, and it is poorly documented or undocumented. Rather, RM8 seems to try to hide the fact that the links are relative. Instead, it presents the links to you in the user interface as if the links were still absolute links. Namely, it presents the full file path to you in the user interface so that the file path looks just like it did in RM7. You can’t tell from looking the full file path which part is the default media directory and which part is the rest of the file path.
Here is my best guess as to how RM8 implements relative file links behind the scenes. Media downloaded via TreeShare all continue to be stored in a single special directory that is a subdirectory of the directory where your RMTREE file is stored. The relative file links to such files are therefore relative to the directory where your RMTREE file is stored. If you link a file into RM8 which is in the directory or subdirectory of your Settings => Folder Settings => Media Folder setting, then the relative link is to that directory. Otherwise, if you link a file into RM8 which is your My Documents directory (or equivalent, whatever it is called) or subdirectory thereof, then the relative link is to that directory. Otherwise, an absolute link is stored and the absolute link can even be to another drive such an E: drive in Windows terms. There is a flag character stored at the front of each media link to tell RM8 which kind of relative or absolute link is in play. You do not see this flag character in the RM8 user interface.
As a consequence of this procedure, changing your Settings => Folder Settings => Media Folder setting is very likely to break a huge number of media links. At this point, you could run the Fix Broken Links tool or else you could move all your media files that were stored in the old Settings => Folder Settings => Media Folder location to the new Settings => Folder Settings => Media Folder location. And as I said originally, I could not be sure without a lot of testing how RM8’s version of Shareable Drive maps the media links from the original RM8 database to the Shareable Drive version your RM8 database.
Thanks for the reply. I’m fine with the media files all being placed in one directory on the Shareable Drive. Just thought it might be a nice feature if the files were organized instead of all lumped into one location.
I did spend a fair amount of time experimenting with the Shareable Drive feature and came to the conclusion that I needed to create a setting for the Media Folder before attaching any media to my database. Otherwise, all files linked before setting the Media Folder appear to not transfer to the Shareable Drive. I found that in order to include them, the link had to be deleted and a new link created. Luckily, I am only just starting to add media and don’t have much rework. Since I didn’t see much activity on the Community regarding Shareable Drives I wanted to point out the issue so that others didn’t have to spend too much time figuring this out. If there is something that I overlooked regarding this I’d be interested to hear it.
Yes, setting the Media Folder before adding media is very important in RM8, even if you are not using Shareable Drive at all. It’s a big issue for all RM8 users who are going to use any media, not just for RM8 users who are going to use Shareable Drive.
Creating a setting for the Media Folder really didn’t matter at all in RM7. Users would ask and fret about the Media Folder setting for R7 all the time. But it really didn’t matter because the media links were absolute. Unless I have missed it, there hasn’t been anything in the RM8 videos nor in the RM8 Wiki about how the RM8 Media Folder setting works nor about how important it is to establish a Media Folder setting before adding any media files. And if you are importing from RM7 where RM7 has media files, it’s very important to establish a Media Folder setting before doing the import.
Let me amend this comment ever so slightly. First of all, it’s important to establish a Media Folder setting before entering any media into RM8, no matter if the come into RM8 via import or if you add the media yourself.
But what if you forget to establish a Media Folder setting. What happens? Actually, it usually works pretty well without you taking any further action. Most links are relative links and they are relative to your My Documents folder or whatever equivalent you have set up in Windows or Mac. There are still two exceptions. One exception would be media files imported via TreeShare which will have links which are relative to the folder which contains your RM8 database. The other exception would be files which are not stored in your My Documents folder or whatever the equivalent is on your machine. They will have absolute links, even in RM8.
But what if you forget to establish a Media Folder setting and subsequently add or import some media files. And what if then you do establish a Media Folder setting. What happens? Well, all the media links that are relative to your My Documents folder or equivalent will immediately be broken.
How can you fix such a problem? One obvious solution would be to run the Fix Broken Links tool. Running the tool can take a while, but it should work just fine. Another obvious solution would be to move your media files from your My Documents folder or equivalent to the folder you have set in RM8’s Media Folder setting. That’s more or less in the spirit of what RM8’s support for relative media links is all about. It allows you to move all your media files from one folder to another and to fix the broken links just by changing RM8’s Media Folder setting. It also allows you to run RM8 on two different machines that don’t have your media files in the same location. The RM8 on each machine could have a Media Folder setting that’s just for that machine and all would be well. I think that running RM8 on two different was the biggest issue in RM7 that drove the introduction of relative media paths into RM8.