Web Service ver 1.0 (ws/1) will be removed in 6 months!

With the release of the Next Generation Schema in May of 2011 we officially deprecated the use of version 1 of our XML API. Now, 6 years later, we feel that we can finally pull the plug on this version of the API — it receives less than 1% of our Web Service traffic.

On the first release after 1 August 2018 we’re going to remove the Web Service version 1 (ws/1 API endpoint) support. If you are one of the few authors of software that has not updated your software to use the newer ws/2 endpoint, your software’s MusicBrainz functionality will cease to work after 1 August.

We think more than 6 years is enough time for people to upgrade their tools. 🙂

 

 

Inviting testers for MusicBrainz live search

Hello everyone!

So as you might know, I recently joined the MetaBrainz team and my first project was the completion of our long-standing Solr search project to provide live search indexing for the MusicBrainz database.

I am happy to announce that we are finally rolling out an alpha release for you to test out. You can try it at https://test.musicbrainz.org/search or use the webservice end-point at https://test.musicbrainz.org/ws/2/

What this means –

  1. You can now instantly search for entities that have been updated. There should be a maximum 15 second delay between the database update and the entity changes being reflected on the search.
  2. This implies that once we have ironed out the Solr search we can finally retire the direct database search on the main site and use Solr with its advanced search syntax. For details on the new syntax features you can refer to the Lucene query parser documentation. For details on field types you can refer to our Search Syntax guide.
  3. As I said, the Solr search is still in its alpha stage, thus it can be unstable and have bugs. As such do not depend on it for your critical applications.
  4. Speaking of bugs, here’s where we need your help the most! We want testers to use Solr as extensively as possible and file any bugs you encounter at our Solr Issue tracker. You may encounter bugs like –
    • Missing fields in the API output for the webservice.
    • Certain types of queries not working in Solr search that happen to work on the main website.
    • Missing data/edits/updates not being indexed.
  5. Since we haven’t ported our search analyzers in their entirety, Solr might have worse search results than our main search.

I would like to re-iterate – Solr is still in alpha and not everything is perfect. We need your help to make it so.

 

New MusicBrainz virtual machine released

I have recently released a new MusicBrainz virtual machine. This virtual machine includes all the important bits of MusicBrainz so you can run your own copy! I’d been hoping for feedback if people have encountered any problems with this VM, but I’ve not received any feedback. Here is to hoping that no news is good news!

For information on how to download, install and access this new virtual machine, take a look at our MusicBrainz Server setup page. The new VM can be downloaded from here via direct download or a torrent download.

Most of the outstanding bugs should be fixed in this release — if not, please open a new ticket.

Expanding our team

As the world comes back to life after the summer break, we’re making some changes and expanding our team. First, Roman Tsukanov has decided to not renew his contract with us. During his tenure with MetaBrainz, Roman adopted and released CritiqueBrainz and also wrote our new MetaBrainz web page, which is helping us bring in new supporters. His contributions have been far from trivial — thank you for your efforts, Roman!

Due in part to the new MetaBrainz web site, we’ve got more financial support than ever, and this allows us to replace Roman with two engineers! I’m please to announce that we’re hiring two of our Summer of Code students who just completed the program:

Sambhav Kothari AKA samj1912: Sambhav started hacking on Picard earlier this year and knocked Picard out of dormancy, working towards a new release and then making Picard his Summer of Code project. He completed his project with flying colors and is working towards a major upgrade of Picard. On the MetaBrainz team he is going to look after the new search infrastructure and the maintenance and bug fixing of our Web Service in addition to hacking on Picard. A full plate, for sure!

Param Singh AKA iliekcomputers: About the same time that samj1912 arrived, Param arrived. He expressed interest in working on ListenBrainz — he too dove right in and started making improvements. ListenBrainz had quite a ways to go before he could aim to make a Summer of Code project out of it. Param and I embarked on a journey to revamp and improve the stability of ListenBrainz, which culminated in us releasing the new ListenBrainz beta a few weeks ago. Since then he’s been focusing on his Summer of Code project, which is also now complete. On the MetaBrainz team Param will be looking after ListenBrainz and also the new MetaBrainz web site.

Both Param and Sambhav will officially start working on the MetaBrainz team starting October 1, but I strongly suspect we’ll see them around and hacking on the projects as has become the norm this year.

Welcome aboard Sambhav and Param!

 

Picard Ubuntu packages updated

Updated Picard packages for Ubuntu are available over the official MusicBrainz Ubuntu PPAs. For most users it is recommended to use the stable PPA to install the latest stable release of Picard (1.4.2 at the time of writing this):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:musicbrainz-developers/stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install picard

Up-to-date stable packages are available for Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty, 15.05 Vivid, 16.04 Xenial, 17.04 Zesty and upcoming 17.10 Artful.

For users wanting to try out the latest development release there is also a daily build PPA available. Please note that the current Picard 2.0 development releases are a major update to the codebase and everything is still work in progress, so it might be more unstable then usually. Also due to updated dependencies the Picard 2 daily builds are only available for Ubuntu 17.04 and 17.10.

More details can be found in this post on the MetaBrainz Community.

500 Commits of Summer: My story of FOSS and GSoC

This story of summer started in a dull grey winter at home. Bored, I started lingering around IRC channels and much like the Alice of Wonderland, stumbled into the wonderful world of FOSS. Little did I know, it was gonna be one of the best things that happened to me. Below is a story of bugs, PRs , repos, commits, and some more commits. But it is also a story of curiosity, learning, frustrations (a lot of it), resilience (more than you think) and some amazing amazing people of the community. If I have to sum it up for you, I couldn’t think of a way better than this. So here it goes…

Disclaimer: It was a long journey, hence the long blog. Continue reading “500 Commits of Summer: My story of FOSS and GSoC”

Classical Community Cleanup #1: Debussy

The Metabrainz Classical Music Enthusiasts Team has kicked off to a strong start! If you are unaware about the formation and tasks at hand, you can read more about it on the forums.

It’s clear by the number of discussions and engagements in the forum that a community effort on classical music was long overdue! It’s thrilling and we are eager for the first mission: after some discussion and voting we decided that the first community effort would be a clean-up of all our data for Claude Debussy.

As a composer with a huge influence in 20th century music, yet with a relatively low amount of hard to edit compositions like operas, Debussy is a great first choice for the community of classical editors to start actively working together to improve the data. As such, if you’d like to help out, but are new to classical editing or not too active in the community yet, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask any questions. The classical community is active in its own forum category, and we’re hoping to see a lot of activity there with editors both asking and answering questions.

What will we be working on in this first classical cleanup project?

  • We will review the existing works and catalogues to make sure there are no duplicates and the info looks correct (several very active classical editors have already been working on this in preparation for this cleanup).
  • We will check the release list for anything that doesn’t follow the classical guidelines. Those should of course be fixed to follow the guidelines, and that’s usually a good sign of the recording and relationship info being incomplete as well.
  • We will work on the recording list. The only recordings that should be there by the end of the cleanup are of Debussy himself as a performer. Anything else currently there should have performer relationships added to it if missing, then the artist credits for the recording should be changed to list the main performers.
  • And we will add missing Debussy recordings! If you have enough info to add a release we’re missing that includes works by Debussy, that’s always useful. Just make sure to try to add as much info as possible from the get go, so we don’t have to clean that addition up as well!

Don’t know where to begin? Let us know and we can help find a starting point–or just jump in and help out! We can’t wait for Mr. Debussy to be a great example of how much information MusicBrainz can provide!

MusicBrainz User Survey

It’s hard to stress how much MusicBrainz depends on the community behind it. In 2016 alone 20.989 editors made a total of 5.935.653 edits at a continuously increasing rate.

But while MusicBrainz does collect data on a lot of different entities, its users are not one of them, and the privacy policy is pretty lean.
Unfortunately this does make it fairly difficult to find out who you are, how you use MB and why you do it.

Seeing as this kind of information is fairly important for the upcoming project of improving our user experience, I volunteered to create a survey to allow you to tell us how you use MB, what you like about it and what you don’t like quite as much.

So without further ado, click on the banner to get to the survey: (It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes of your time.)
MusicBrainz User Survey

Now if you’re still reading this blog post, that hopefully means you’ve already completed the survey! I’d like to thank Quesito who joined this project earlier this year and has been a great deal of help, our former GCI student Caroline Gschwend who helped with the UX part of the survey, CatQuest who has been around to give great feedback since the first draft and of course also all the other people who helped bring this survey to the point of release.

If you’ve got any feedback on or questions about the survey itself, please reply to the Discourse forum topic.

Instruments part two: tamburica, hybrids, community links, and growing pains!

Continuing our story from last time

tamburica instrument family tree
tamburica instrument family tree
By now I was starting to get a bit more comfortable in my role as Instrument Inserter. I went about doing a bit more in-depth research, especially for the tamburica, and I made a post on the forum where I asked for input researching these instruments.
Eventually I mean to come back to this group of instruments (and in fact this is what I am doing currently), expanding the family tree I’ve been working on, which is why this “fix” version is still open.

Tamburica: 2017 January 6th to the 25th:

New Feature

    • [INST-64] – add the instruments of the Balkan tamburica orchestra; was: Contratambura
    • [INST-455] – (Indian) tanpura
    • [INST-529] – samica/dangubica/kutrevka
    • [INST-457] – clean out and clarify “tambura”   (still open)

Initially, what I found to be the hardest part of adding instruments was actually the addition of aliases. It was a cumbersome, time consuming and annoying part, and I often clamoured for someone to write some sort of Batch Alias script. Then, in March, loujine came in like a superhero with a batch alias script! Now thanks to this script I can add aliases en masse, which has helped me tremendously!

After reosarevok fixed INST-723, I could link hybrids with the instruments they were hybrids of, therefore a batch of “hybrid” instruments came next.

Hybrids: 2017 February to March:

New Feature

Task

  • [INST-461] – Add the Wikidata link for the mirliton
  • [INST-462] – Add ヴァイオリン alias to violin
  • [INST-463] – Add コントラバス alias to double bass

Improvement

  • [INST-458] – English Horn – Cor anglais
  • [INST-459] – Correct Wikidata link for the three-hole pipe

By this time a community discussion came out about the use of disambiguations and descriptions (instrument exclusive fields, which, unlike disambiguations, are translatable), with some users suggesting they were too long, some pointing out issues with translating and yet others suggesting the description field should be dropped altogether. While this discussion didn’t reach a clear resolution, it’s definitely something we should revisit later.

Stay tuned for part three!