Workflow and Data Management

A question about how to best manage different versions of an Mz3 Title was asked in the forum.

Instead of a lengthy answer it will be best to summarize the suggestions and answers in a special post: This post ūüėČ

This addresses more aspects than the details provided in the blog post “MegaZine3 Variants and Folder Structure” (see the last paragraph “Folder Structure”).

mz3Tool: OUT path, Destination Folder

All data is saved in a special folder named _mz3Data.
In several sub folders all the configuration data like

is saved (in sub folder configData)

In other folders all data needed for the Mz3 Title(s) is saved:

  • Additional “elements”, i.e. video, sound, images; separated by Mz3 Title name (in subfolder contentData)
  • All Mz3 Title relevant data, separated by Mz3 Title name: the converted pages, the mz3 file, search index, thumbnails, … (in subFolder offlinePackage)
  • The data for Internet use, collected for a server upload. All Mz3 Titles are sharing one copy of the MegaZine3 Software (in subfolder onlinePackages)
  • The data collected for distribution as single ZIP file per Mz3 Title (subfolder zippedMz3Titles)

The base path (OUT folder, Destination path: the folder where the _mz3Data folder is located) is set by default to the folder the PDF file is located in, but can be adjusted manually.

This structure offers all options for individual strategies. Some typical use cases are presented now.

Use Case: keep all Mz3 Titles separated

To not “mix up” Mz3 Titles, PDF files should¬†be located in different folders: one folder – one PDF file.

It is up to the user to implement a folder structure that addresses his needs.

Version Management

In case of managing different verions, a base folder named after the main title can hold different versions of that title in subfolders named after the PDF title and a version number (or just the version number; up to you).

The PDF files all could have the same file name; the differentiation is achieved by the sub folder name.

mz3Tool will save by default data of different versions in different folders (in the _mz3Data subfolder of each version subfolder). The OUT path needs not to be modified.

Once the “golden” version is built (the final version), that PDF file together with the _mz3Data folder (i.e. everything in that “golden version” subfolder) can be copied to the base folder, .

This stratagy helps to keep several different versions for later reference. If the version folders (and optionally the PDF files) are consequently named with increasing version numbers, it will be easy to go back to a former version, to compare versions, delete version… i.e. in gerneral: manage versions.

Management of Magazines or Catalogues

PDF files of a same kind like issues of a magazine or summer/winter collections of a catalogue, could be collected in a base folder that is named after the common criteria: the magazine or catalogue name.

Management of “books” in general

Also books can be orgainzed that way. Libraries e.g. have very detailed schemata on how to file books. A similar order structure could be implemented with folders and subfolders.

Summary of “keep it separated”

There are good reasons to separate PDF files: it is easy to manage and maintain different versions/issues. Each subfolder holds it’s own copy of a _mz3Data folder, and with that separating the configuration data: Each Mz3 Title has it’s own set of parameters: no side effects, complete independency. But with a bigger effort: all parameters have to be set again and again (unless you copy on folder level ūüėČ

Use Case: combine MZ3 Titles

You also can have several PDF files in one location.

If you accept the default OUT path, only one _mz3Data folder will be created in that location.

The general configuration data, i.e. everything located in the configData subfolder, is shared between the different Mz3 Titles. The resulting advantages:

  • parameters only have to be adjusted once and are used for all Mz3 Titles.
    Of course an Mz3 Title must be “created” agaiun so the changes are¬†used.
  • Online Packages share one copy of MegaZine3 Software.
    Different Mz3 Titles are identified by an index file that is named after the Mz3 Title.
    To create an Online Package with a single Mz3 Title, the folder onlinePackage can be deleted. After a new “Online Publish” of the desired Mz3 Title only that Mz3 Title will be copied into¬†the “onlinePackage folder”.
    Hint: additionally to the named index files also a file named “_index.html” is created. The last published Mz3 Titles wins and uses that file.¬†That file can be renamed to “index.html”, and the Mz3 Title can be openend in just using the¬†domain name; without any reference to an index.html file (that one is used as default).

All other data is still separated by Mz3 Title: the “elements” added to pages (video, sound, images, links), the ZIP Packages and also the data in the offlinePackage folder.

Summary: Combine Mz3 Titles

Once that logic is understood, it should be easy to implement the desired structure. If Mz3Titles should use the same parameters, the “combined” approach is best. To have fulls control and transparency the “keep separate” strategy will work best.

mz3Viewer: What Mz3 Titles are found where?

mz3Viewer helps to find mz3Titles that can be shown. This makes it easy to view Mz3 Titles without the need of knowing where the files are located. For best user experience a compromise between speed and completeness had to be found.

The actual strategy is as follows:

  • All Mz3 Titles located in the documents/mz3Viewer are found
  • All Mz3 Titles located in subfolders of documents/mz3Viewer that contain “mz3” in the folder name will be found
  • All Mz3 Titles listed in the “Recent Destination” lists of mz3Tool and mz3Demo are found

Additionally all Mz3 Titles that had been opened in dragging an mz3 file over mz3Viewer or opening mz3Viewer with such mz3 file will be remembered and shown in the list.

Also “Offline Zip Packages” dragged over or opened with mz3Viewer will be¬†unpacked and saved¬†in the documents/mz3Viewer folder. And automatically listed¬†the next time mz3Viewer starts.

These strategies provide a high level of comfort and flexibility.

The columns in the list with all collected Mz3 Titles can be sorted, which helps to identify Mz3 Titles of interest in a fast and easy way.

You even can enter a substring of the name of an Mz3 Title, and mz3Viewer will open the first found Mz3 Title that contains such string in it’s name.

How to Manage all those Lists

As explained both mz3Viewer and mz3Tool do a lot autoamtically in the background to make things as easy as possible.
In case of unexpected results or list entries are no longer needed or wanted, there are ways to get rid of those:

  • mz3Tool offers deleting the complete lists via the “trash icon”

  • If the path the list entry is pointing to is renamed, moved or deleted, i.e. if it cannot be found under the saved path, it will be taken off the list

And on top of that, you always have the option to delete complete folders. But only after you worked a while with the system and have an idea about the consequences ūüėČ

mz3Tool supports¬†in finding folders of interest in offering “browse buttons” like these ones:







Categories: General, Technical, and Tips & tricks.