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Documentation & User Guides | Fotoware

Introduction to creating custom fields

Read this before you start making and using custom metadata fields in your Fotoware DAM system.

Metadata scalability

The ability to define and use custom metadata fields in your configuration makes your DAM system endlessly configurable with regard to metadata. There's virtually no limit to the number of custom fields you can create and you can define their content types to control the types of metadata users can input.

This topic aims to give you an overview of how the metadata schema Fotoware uses is laid out and to highlight any considerations you should take into account when planning to implement custom fields.

How metadata is structured in Fotoware

Fotoware applications all draw their metadata configuration from a so-called schema file. When installing a Fotoware server application, the schema file is installed in the ProgramData\Fotoware\Metadata folder on the system drive, and it is called MetadataConfiguration.xml. (The ProgramData folder is hidden by default, so you may need to adjust your folder options in Windows to access it.)

Fields are collected in namespaces

The metadata configuration file consists of a number of namespaces.  A namespace is a way of grouping related fields and avoid name collision between fields with identical names. You may recognize several of the namespaces that are included in the Fotoware installation from Photoshop or other XMP-compliant software, since they typically use some of the same fields.

Every namespace has a URI, a Unique Resource Identifier, sometimes also referred to as a URL (Unique Resource Locator) because it can resemble a web address or url. (Technically speaking, a URL is a type of URI but that's slightly beside the point.)

Because each namespace's URI is unique, the fields within a namespace can have names that are identical to fields that belong to another namespace without getting confused.

Things to know about the namespaces that are included in the Fotoware installation

The namespaces that are incuded in the Fotoware installation cover all the original fields that were part of the IPTC standard, a standard that was developed in the early 90's to accommodate metadata in pictures. Some Fotoware-specific namespaces are also included - read on for the details on these.

XMP has now taken over as the de facto metadata standard and offers several advantages over IPTC, some of which are:

  • Limitless expansion of the schema through the creation of custom namespaces and fields
  • Field type definitions to control the type of input allowed in a field (date, text, numbers only, boolean etc)
  • Multi-language support

Should you create a new namespace or edit an existing one?

Since several namespaces are included in the Fotoware installation, it may be tempting to simply modify one of the existing ones and add new fields to it. However, we do not encourage modifying existing namespaces unless you know that the new field definitions you add are exactly in accordance with the standard created by the entity that defined that namespace.

In other words, if you're planning to create a handful of new fields to use internally in your organization only, we generally advise creating your own, custom namespace and optionally distributing this specification to other parties you intend to to exchange data with.

When opening the metadata configuration you will notice that there are some Fotoware-specific namespaces there: Fotoware Custom, Fotoware User Defined and Fotoware Reserved.

Provided you need to maintain compatibility with the IPTC standard you can repurpose the Fotoware Custom fields by re-labelling them and using them in your system, but you will not be able to change the content type of those fields, which may be reason good enough to rather create a custom namespace and define your content types precisely as you see fit.

The Fotoware Reserved namespace should under no circumstances be modified as we reserve the right to use fields in this namespace to provide special functionality in the Fotoware product suite.

Steps involved when creating new fields

  • Creating a new namespace (unless you're expanding an existing one - see remarks above)
  • Adding fields to the new namespace
  • Distributing the metadata schema file to all clients and servers
  • Restarting all Fotoware server services, including the Operations Center service, and then rebuilding indexes (required for Index Manager to "see" the new fields)

Learn more about each step in the following topics.

What's next

Having read and understood the above, you may want to get an overview of how the metadata configuration works.

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