It’s been roughly two years since I took a look at ncmpcpp, and I’ve promised more than once since then to take another gander at it.
Not because it has changed that much — in fact, after a quick glance, it seems not much has changed at all. This time though, I promised I’d take a spin past the tag editor.
Of course, this comes in the wake of finding cursetag, which was almost a viable tag editor when last I tried it. It has its share of small eccentricities, but could probably step in (and actually has, if I must be honest) for EasyTag when I need to do some tag editing.
ncmpcpp has a good grip on the task too though, and I can see where this would be very useful in managing trees of files that need correction. Folders are listed along the left, categories listed down the center and their contents shown on the right. Use arrow keys to navigate, plus the enter key to select certain options or filters, like capitalization tools.
Select a field’s contents at the right, and you’ll get an editing tool across the bottom of the screen. Update, enter, repeat an save. There may be more commands available, but those seem to be the major ones. Navigate away from that folder, and ncmpcpp will remind you that you need to save your changes.
I like the arrangement; it’s a good step away from some other tools, and adds in the direct ability to edit the filename. I also like that you can reset your changes, if you realize you’ve gone and ruined things.
Two things that seem to be missing, from my perspective: First, I don’t seem to be able to mass-set tags, although it’s possible that I’m overlooking it. I can select multiple files with the spacebar, but if I press enter to edit the field, it only changes the highlighted entry. Perhaps I have overlooked it?
And comparatively, what ncmpcpp’s tag editor lacks when compared to EasyTag or some other graphical tagging tools, is a way to mass-set tags that are read from the filename, or vice-versa. Those two features are unfortunately, what keep me installing the huge bulk of GTK3-based EasyTag, which is rather daunting for my decade-old Pentium 4.
Second, and this is partly my fault, but I’m coming up suspiciously empty-handed when it comes to instructions, tutorials or howtos for working the tag editor. I’ve seen the man page, and I inferred most of the major commands. But … isn’t there a blog (gasp) or something out there that explains in better detail than what I’ve cobbled together here? Is there no extended documentation on the web site?
I’m terrifically surprised if there isn’t. But Google couldn’t find me one, even with “ncmpcpp tag editor” as a start.
All told, I like this feature, and if I could make a request, it would be to have some talented coder split that entire business out of ncmpcpp, and make it a standalone application. Given that most id3 tag tools are really just mass-set utilities, and given that the only other competition is cursetag as a proper full-screen id3 tag editor, you have the potential to make a name for yourself.
Because ultimately as it stands, I’m a moc fan, and I’m unlikely to keep both ncmpcpp and mpd installed and configured, just to take advantage of the tag editor function. It’s something I could use, but not so frequently that it would warrant keeping on my machine for roughly a 20 minutes out of an entire month. Carve this out and make it stand on its own, and I’m on board.
No matter: This is a worthy addition, if you already use mpd or ncmpcpp or both, and given ncmpcpp’s other masterful features (like the vertical lines!), it wins big points from K.Mandla. 😉