Posts Tagged ‘catalog’

Lightroom Crash Worries Me

December 15, 2009

Perhaps this integrated approach to image management has its downside.

I was using my newly acquired skills with the Lightroom Adjustment Brush to try “dodging” an over-exposed portion of a picture.

From This ...

Without any warning the image portion went completely black and Lightroom hung. It was unresponsive to keyboard or mouse.

To This

I had to terminate the Lightroom process. I rebooted my machine (Windows XP, Lightroom 2.5). Everything seemed fine after I restarted but I backed up and optimized my catalog to be on the safe side. The incident wasted 10 to 15 minutes and increased my blood pressure.

I expect Lightroom ran out of memory: a memory leak. I’d been using it for some time without restarting. I read somewhere that the advanced editing tool use a lot of memory. I had not used them much before.

The problem started me thinking that maybe it is not a good idea to combine my photo management database and most of my photo editing in one application. If the editing component crashes it could easily corrupt the catalog database. For performance reasons database applications often delay writing their buffers to disk. The corruption may not show up for some time.

In the old days when I used Thumbs Plus I would edit a picture in Photoshop. Photoshop was a separate operating system process. So it was very unlikely that a Photoshop crash could affect the Thumbs plus (Microsoft Access) database.

Almost 30 years after the PC was introduced software is still unreliable and always will be. It’s written by humans and it’s fiendishly complex. I wonder if I am putting too much reliance on one piece of software (Lightroom) and it will come back to haunt me one day.

As the Thais say, I “think too much.”

50,000 Pictures in Lightroom

November 7, 2009

This evening I imported my 50,000th picture to my Lightroom 2 Catalog (database). That’s a year’s photography.

Lightroom 50000 Photos

Lightroom 50,000 Photos

Much to my surprise Lightroom didn’t burst into flames or otherwise have a meltdown. There’s an old joke about an undocumented IBM S/360 opcode: HCF – halt and catch fire.

I was heartened by the fact that Jeff Friedl told me he has over 77,000 photos in a single catalog.

I’d love to know what database tweaking Adobe did / plan on Lightroom 3 to improve its scalability.

Browsing the Lightroom Catalog

October 20, 2009

I have not given up on my quest to be able to generate reports on my Lightroom database catalog. I talked about my reasons for it here and here.

The imaginatively named SQLite Database Browser I found at sourceforge.net is very slow.

SQLite Database Browser About

SQLite Database Browser About

But yesterday a poster to this blog recommended a better one. It’s called SQLite Spy. It’s free for non-commercial use. I like free! You can download it here.

SQLiteSpy About

SQLiteSpy About

It is very fast – even when examining my 1GB main Lightroom Catalog. (I am living in fear that it will break soon. I’m approaching 50,000 pictures catalogued. See here and here.)

Here’s the SQLiteSpy display of the table “Adobe_images” that has one row for every photo (or virtual copy) catalogued by Lightroom.

SQLiteSpy Adobe_images - click to see full sized

SQLiteSpy Adobe_images - click to see full sized

Of course, this is an extremely powerful tool. I must be very careful, especially with my “production” catalog. I read a cautionary tale here about how a Lightroom user / database geek made Lightroom behave very strangely by making a change to the database using SQL.

He deleted references to some sidecar files by replacing the contents of the field with NULL. But Lightroom started acting strangely and would not display thumbnails consistently. It turned out that he should have used an empty string rather than NULL.

That distinction is a classic database programming error but it is very obscure to most people. Try explaining the difference between NULL and an empty string to a child! Actually, I thought that using NULL was better programming practice as database are optimized for NULL checks. But the Adobe engineer who wrote that part of Lightroom used an empty string and never imagined that anybody would mess with her tables.

I should spend the time to reverse-engineer the Lightroom Catalog schema. That’s the database geek word for the tables and most importantly the relationships between them. But my database knowledge is rusty and it would take me weeks. Adobe will release Lightroom 3.0 before I’m satisfied.

Also …

The ability to execute arbitrary SQL on the database is useful and it may save me from some problems that cannot be fixed using the Lightroom client. Maybe there’s something wrong with the database that causes my “Ever Changing Status” problem. Every time Lightroom crashes I worry the catalog will be corrupted.

But – it isn’t what I want. I have yet to find a fully functional ODBC driver that will allow me to attach SQLite tables to Microsoft Access. Then I can do the database reports that I crave. There’s so much good information in my metadata but I cannot present it as I would like.