We recently decided not to have a spring 2018 schema change release. As usual, we still have some bits left over to finish up from the last spring schema change. More importantly, we’re making a concerted effort to improve the user experience (UX) of the MusicBrainz site — more on that in a blog post later.
We may decide to do an autumn 2018 schema change, but this depends on how well our UX efforts progress over the course of winter and spring.
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. 🙂
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 –
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Once again, we’re opting to not have a schema change release in the Autumn of 2017. Expect our next schema change release to be on or about 15 May, 2018.
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.
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.)
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.
We have picked our set of tickets and the date for our May 2017 schema change release: May, 15th 2017. This will be a fairly standard and minor schema change release — we’re only tackling 3 tickets that affect downstream users and no other infrastructure changes.
Take a look at our list of tickets for this schema change release. There really are only two tickets that will affect most of our downstream users:
- MBS-8393: “Extend dynamic attributes to all entities” Currently our works have the concept of additional attributes which allows the community to decide which sorts of new attributes to apply to a work. (e.g. catalog numbers, rhythmic structures, etc) This ticket will implement these attributes to all of our entities. Also, this ticket will not change any of the existing database tables, it will only add new tables.
- MBS-5452: “Support multiple lyric language values for works” Currently only one language or the special case “multiple languages” may be used to identify the language used in lyrics. This ticket allows more than one language to be specified for lyrics of a work.
The following tickets are special cases — they will not really affect our downstream users who do not have edit data loaded into their system. We are only including this change at the schema change release time in order to bring some older replicated systems up to date. If you do not use the edit data, then please ignore these tickets.
- MBS-9271: “Prevent usernames from being reused” This ticket does not change the schema, but for sake of minimizing downstream disruption, we’re going to carry out this ticket during the schema change.
- MBS-9274: “Fix the edit_note_idx_post_time_edit index in older setups to handle NULL post_time” This ticket fixes an SQL index on an edit related table.
- MBS-9273: “Fix the a_ins_edit_note function in older setups to not populate edit_note_recipient for own notes” This ticket also fixes an SQL index on an edit related table.
This is it — really minor this time around. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments or on the tickets themselves.
I’m pleased to announce that Yvan Rivierre has joined the MusicBrainz development team! Yvan is not new to our community — he has been participating MusicBrainz development for some time and more recently has been attending our weekly community meeting. He’s submitted several pull requests to MusicBrainz already, and now he joins us as a full time developer.
Yvan’s nickname on all things MetaBrainz is now yvanzo, was formerly yvanz, in case you’re wondering what happened. Expect him to be around even more, helping bitmap to make improvements and changes to MusicBrainz. The MusicBrainz search infrastructure and hosting are no longer core tasks for the MusicBrainz team, leaving yvanzo and bitmap to focus solely on MusicBrainz. This brings us to a new level of dedication to our most important project and should allow us to tackle more issues faster focus new areas of improvement. (e.g. hopefully we can start making improvements in UX/UI this year!)
Welcome aboard Yvan!
We’ve finally released a new MusicBrainz virtual machine! This new version has become a lot more automated and is much easier to create and deploy. Hopefully we will be doing monthly releases of the VM from here on out.
A lot of things have changed for this new release. If you have used the VM before, you MUST read the instructions again. Before filing a bug or asking us a question, please re-read the documentation first!
Ready to jump in? Read the instructions.
So tomorrow is the day when the old servers at Digital West will be put to rest. Our developers and system administrator have been hard at work over the last few weeks (and especially the last few days!) getting everything ready for a hopefully smooth transition to hosting everything at Hetzner in Germany.
The vast majority of our sites and services are in fact already being served from Germany, but the largest one—musicbrainz.org—remains in the US for another night.
Our transition of the final services, such as musicbrainz.org, has already started, but the very last sprint of moving the remaining bits over will start tomorrow, November 8th, at around 6 AM EST / noon UTC / 13:00 CET and will follow the plan laid out in this Google document:
Expect some downtime, plenty of read-only time, and general wonkiness as we get the last gears set in place to hopefully keep us running smoothly for the next several years to come!