AVAIL Behavioral Change.
With the latest update we’ve made significant underlying changes to the way we can identify content being managed on the AVAIL platform.
AVAIL has always relied on using what is known as a Hash to uniquely identify content. The Hash is important in being able to automatically identify and associate metadata with content. This is what allows AVAIL to recognize duplicate content across your file system even if the name of the file has been changed.
Another important piece of information that can be used to identify content is the Location of the file on the host File System. It’s important to understand that files stored on a file system can have only one Path/Address on that file system. That is both a strength and weakness of file systems.
For example, image A is located at \\unc_path\demo\ImageA.jpg. A copy of ImageA.jpg is made, renamed and stored at \\unc_path\another_demo_path\ImageB.jpg.
ImageA.jpg and ImageB.jpg are exactly the same file contents which means they will produce the same Hash. But they are stored in two different locations on the file system which gives each file a unique Location.
File Name | Hash | Location
ImageA.jpg |as3w-wa25 | \\unc_path\demo\ImageA.jpg
ImageB.jpg |as3w-wa25 | \\unc_path\another_demo_path\ImageB.jpg
From this example, while the Location is important in referencing where the file is located on the file system, that information does not tell us that these two files are copies of one another. The Hash, on the other hand, tells us that these two files are exact duplicates of one another.
How Do We Store Data In AVAIL?
Rather than rely exclusively on the Hash of a file for identity in the AVAIL database we are now assigning what is known as a GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) to content indexed into AVAIL. Along with the GUID we then can store a Hash, Location, and other Tags (metadata). This allows AVAIL to reference instances of the same file (Hashes the same) stored in different locations on a file system but assign different Tags.
Why Is This Important?
These changes allow us to develop more robust Tag management capabilities that leverage both Location and/or Hash information. It is also important as use cases for AVAIL expand beyond static content libraries. When using AVAIL to manage project information it is common for content from source libraries to be copied into project-related areas on the file system. On the initial indexing of the copied files, the Hash helps us understand where the source file originated. Once that file is edited for use in a project the Location becomes the most important identifying piece of information.
Sound Confusing? It can be :). Thankfully most of you don’t spend much time diving into the intricacies of file systems. It seems simple on the surface but when you begin digging into different use-cases, identifying and managing content gets complicated.
How Does This Affect Me?
- The upside… If you index files into a Channel of AVAIL and edit those files while they remain in the same location, AVAIL will not treat the edited file as a new reference (GUID) as it has previously. New references will not be created via manual indexing or via AVAIL Stream.
- Be aware… If you index files into a Channel of AVAIL and need to re-index those files from a different location, AVAIL will create new references (GUIDs) representing the new file system locations. As long as the files haven’t been edited, they will Hash the same and any Tags you’ve assigned will be copied to the new GUID. The downside of this change is that you’ll need to manually remove the original file references in the Channel if the originals no longer exist (or let AVAIL Stream do the work for you :).
Randall Stevens, CEO
Major Enhancements to AVAIL
In the sections that follow is a brief summary of the major enhancements for the August Release of the AVAIL Product Suite.
AVAIL Desktop v3.12
- Text Search and Tag Search Now Linked – Text Search and Tag Search are now co-dependent and will update based on the results of each other
- View Websites within AVAIL – Like the PDF preview, you can now view full websites for URLs that are indexed into AVAIL.
AVAIL Database Maintenance
- Search Database Update – Re-engineered the Search Database to increase search performance and in preparation for new search and channel features
- Indexed Content Behavioral Change – Content is now based on location first, hash ID is now second where previously these were combined
AVAIL Release Notes
The following are the enhancements and fixes to the current released version of AVAIL. These enhancements apply to the AVAIL Desktop and AVAIL Browser for Revit
AVAIL DESKTOP – VERSION 3.12
Text Search and Tag Search Now Linked – When using the Text Search Box, the Tags within the Filters Panel will now automatically update per the results of the search. The ‘Clear Search’ options will now clear all selected tags and text. Based on the search and/or Tag selection, Tags in the Filters Panel are highlighted with medium gray to represent that these Tags will not result in narrowing search results. Tags highlighted in black represent that the tag has been selected by the user.
View Websites within AVAIL – Like the PDF preview, you can now view full websites for URLs that are indexed into AVAIL.
IMPROVEMENTS AND FIXES
- Improved UI performance of displaying content and content scrolling in a Channel when viewing in the ‘Thumbnails’ view mode.
- Improved the performance upon switching of Channels
- All search terms and selected Tags will be reset upon launching of AVAIL
- Added ‘Clear Search’ button in Filters Panel upon the text and tag-based search
- Access Channel Details within the Properties Panel by right-clicking on Channel and selecting ‘Edit Channel’. Must have ‘Edit Permissions’. Displays the Channel Owner, date created, and date modified in the Channel Details when ‘Edit Channel’ is selected.
- Fixed latency in retrieving Tags for a selected piece of content that previously caused Add/Remove Tags dialogue not to populate correctly.
- Fixed the process of indexing a file with no extension that resulted in an empty ‘File Extension’ tag.
- Fixed the failure of a large preview not re-loading in the Properties Panel.
AVAIL Browser for Revit
- Fixed the loading of External Type Catalogs to accept the proper encoding
- Fixed the loading of multiple model groups (Details groups) where previously it would only bring in the first
AVAIL Database Upgrade
- Overhauled the entire Search Database to not only improve search performance but to set the stage for upcoming features that support new publisher tools around keyword management and ability to edit/update/change content without re-indexing.