SuperSync

I wrote in the about me blurb on this blog that I like writing little programs for myself. One of the programs I’m most proud of is called SuperSync.

Back in college when I started developing an interest in music, I got in the habit of only acquiring losslessly encoded files. FLACs mostly. It wasn’t long before my collection outgrew what I could store on my iPod. So I hacked together a little script which I called “Sync” to encode my music files to something smaller, like Ogg Vorbis. I wrote it in Java because that’s what I knew best at the time, and for the most part, it just worked. It kept a flat database of files and timestamps to know what to sync to the iPod without reencoding everything every time.

But unfortunately, as my music collection grew, there were times, like when MusicBrainz would have a minor update for all of my files, which would make Sync think that everything needed to be resynced again. It got to to a point where some syncs would take a week, doing one file at a time.

It got me thinking: I have 10 CPU cores in my house. If I could get them all working together on the problem, I could get those long syncs down to a day or two. And thus SuperSync was born.

Still written in Java, SuperSync adds a distributed client/server architecture and nice GUI over top of Sync. The program takes the same flat database, and when it sees a new or updated file in the source directory, it copies it to the destination directory. If the file is a FLAC, it broadcasts a conversion request to the network. Any server can then respond if it has a free CPU. The server reads the file from my network share and sends the encoded file back to the client where it gets written out to the destination. The whole setup relies on having a consistent global namespace for the source collection. In my case, all of my systems can access my fileserver mounted at /nest in the same way. I can’t imagine many people have such a setup, so I don’t think a formal SuperSync release would be worthwhile.

In any case, the process looks something like this in action:

At the end of the sync, the program can optionally read a song log from Rockbox and scrobble it to Last.fm.

I’m also really proud of the way SuperSync is written. I spent a lot of time upfront to define clean interfaces using good object-oriented style. Feel free to checkout the source code if you’re into that sort of thing. Just ask me first if you want to use any of it.

Now the times are changing, and with Subsonic allowing me to stream music to my phone, I haven’t had to sync my music as much recently. But my iPod still has its purposes, so I’m glad I have SuperSync to let me take my whole collection with me.

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