Configuring bliss for the first time

So, let's organise some music files! Let's begin by downloading and installing bliss. You can download it by clicking the button below and running the installer. If you're using a Mac, you can just open the .dmg file and run that direct.

Now start bliss from (Windows) the Start menu or desktop, (Mac) the Dock or the downloaded .dmg file, (Linux) the menu, desktop or the command line. Once started, visit the user interface (UI). Either click the bliss icon in the system tray or open a Web browser and point it to http://localhost:3220 An external link (if you are running bliss on the same computer as the browser).

You configure bliss on the settings page. The first time bliss runs you have the option to show the settings page. Otherwise, click the "" link on the home page. The settings page allows you to specify where your music is and allows you to specify and configure your rules.

first screen settings
The settings pane expanded, on the first use of bliss
As bliss is delivered in your Web browser, the exact appearance depends on the Web browser you use. The Web browser used for the screenshots in this tutorial is Google Chrome.

First, locate your music. This is the root music folder I discussed above, and contains of all your music files. For instance, you may have your music files in folders for artists or albums. Choose the folder that is the parent of those folders. On Windows and Mac, this will be pre-populated to the default music location, but you may wish to change it. Use the 'Browse' button to navigate through the folders on the computer bliss is installed on. If you have your music on a NAS, you will have to 'map' or 'mount' the NAS folder to location of your hard disk, such as a drive letter (on Windows) or some other folder (on Mac or Linux).

Remember: bliss might be installed on another computer in your network, so the 'Browse' button shows the folders on the computer bliss is running on, not the folders on the computer you are accessing bliss from.

Now, time to configure the file organisation rule. Under 'Rules' and then 'File paths' click the 'ON/OFF' button. This opens a new box for you to configure your rule.

Music file organisation rule - simple view
File organisation rule

The rule is fairly simple. You specify the pattern that determines the structure of your music folder. There are a few pre-populated patterns or you may specify your own. For instance, "artist-album/tracknum-trackname" means: store a parent folder named after the artist of each recording followed by the recording name in the root of the music folder, then within those folders store separate track files for each track, beginning with the track number, then a hyphen, and then having the track name (bliss automatically adds the file extension, e.g. .MP3). Whitespace-handling is also determined by this pattern, although more implicitly. For example, whitespace will be replaced by an underscore. This is the default behaviour, and can be altered by specifying a custom rule. Capitalisation always follows the capitalisation of the relevant information (e.g. album, artist or track name).

This is a good example of how bliss is configured to manage your music collection in a 'declarative' way. It is tempting to think of this configuration as setting up a 'batch job' which, initially, it pretty much is because all the rules are applied in batch when bliss runs. However, what you're really doing is telling bliss what it means in order that your music be compliant, i.e. "my music is compliant if all file locations match this pattern. If they don't, fix it so they do (or suggest a fix to me)". It re-applies these rules when albums are added or they change.
Custom variables for file organisation pattern

If none of the pre-populated patterns are applicable, you can specify your own. Choosing 'Custom' reveals an extra text field into which you can type your pattern, and also shows a reference of the available variables. Each variable has a few variations. For instance, "album_name" can be replaced by "albumname" or "album-name" which either removes all whitespace or replaces it with a hyphen, respectively. Type the pattern into the text field, with each variable enclosed by < and > characters. Any other characters you add in are used literally, for example you could move all music in your music folder into a sub folder "subfolder" with the rule subfolder/<artist-name>-<album-name>/<tracknumber>-<track-name>.

The available tokens are:

Token Description
<album artist> The album artist for the album, with spaces
<albumartist> The album artist for the album, with no spaces
<album_artist> The album artist for the album, with underscores instead of spaces
<album-artist> The album artist for the album, with hyphens instead of spaces
<album name> The album name, with spaces
<albumname> The album name, with no spaces
<album_name> The album name, with underscores instead of spaces
<album-name> The album name, with hyphens instead of spaces
<discnumber> The position of the media of this track, for example the second CD
<genre name> The tagged genre of the file, with spaces
<genrename> The tagged genre of the file, with no spaces
<genre_name> The tagged genre of the file, with underscores instead of spaces
<genre-name> The tagged genre of the file, with hyphens instead of spaces
<fileextension> The file extension for the music file being assessed
<group:var,size> Forms groups of folders of the given size using the first character of var
<track name> The track name, with spaces
<trackname> The track name, with no spaces
<track_name> The track name, with underscores instead of spaces
<track-name> The track name, with hyphens instead of spaces
<track artist> The artist for the individual track, with spaces
<trackartist> The artist for the individual track, with no spaces
<track_artist> The artist for the individual track, with underscores instead of spaces
<track-artist> The artist for the individual track, with hyphens instead of spaces
<year> The year tagged inside the music file
? Uses the subsequent token if the preceeding token evaluates to a string
| Placed either side of a group of tokens, treats them as if they are one token

The file extension of a music file, for instance .MP3, is implied by the custom pattern, meaning that whatever you type in the custom text field your music file paths will always be suffixed with the correct extension. However, the fileextension variable is still there for your use. You could use it, for instance, to organise music files by file type.

You can also specify whether the file organisation rule automatically moves and renames music folders or files to their compliant form. This will save you a lot of time, but I recommend using this after you've fully understood how bliss will suggest the files and folders be renamed. Set "Move files and folders" to "Manually" for now.

Now, click the 'Apply rule' button and bliss begins the assessment and automatic fix cycle.



blog comments powered by Disqus