Keyword Format Templates - A more flexible way of working with keywords in DxPL

DxO changed the format of the keywords output to an image, or to an export, in Release PL5.2.0.

This was the first change to the output format which had been in use since at least PL3.0 and the following table shows the result of that change and the compatibility of the old and new outputs with some of the other software that I tested.

The columns marked 1 to 6 show a “template” of what needs to be done with the component elements of the keywords, stored in the DxPL database, to make DxPL “emulate” the format produced by the designated application.

Using this technique there would be no need to adjust exported images to conform to the keyword format of the original image as it was when input to DxPL. After developing the image and making adjustments, then DxPL would take care of aligning the keyword format with the designated keyword format template!

The tests that I conducted were not restricted to the packages shown above and the whole table is shown below but, because some of us considered the PL5.2.0 change took DxPL further away from an “ideal” standard, DxO have promised to restore the original format as an option which means that it is then possible to create outputs which are compatible with IMatch with two different option combinations and Lightroom.

I believe that DxO can do so much better if, instead of “hard-wiring” the formats, the keyword formats are user selectable from a Table of such format templates! That then ensures compatibility with as many packages or scenarios as there is space in the table!

Throughout the development of PL5 much was written in the forum about the “horrors” of using hierarchical keywords!. I believe that these “horrors” are simply because of the differences in format used by the various software packages. If these format differences are made to “vanish” then that can only be a benefit!

So what do the outputs actually look like

A much (much, much) more detailed description of this process is available in the following post Win 10 PL5.3.1 - Use Keyword Format Templates instead of just reverting to the pre-PL5.2.0 keyword format.

But the most important part of using keyword format templates is that with a feature like this users

  1. Do not need to be constrained by the software writers idea of an “appropriate” format
  2. Can interwork between different (DAM) packages, most particularly between DxPL and a DAM package.
  3. Can use DxPL to assist in the migration from one DAM to another, i.e. input in one format and export and/or write back in another format
  4. Can use DxPL to “flatten” hierarchical keywords for images destined for libraries, museums etc. e.g. with an export to disk Template of A-A— (where - represents a blank cell in the table above

In the original post I suggested that the implementation of this feature could (should) incorporate the following options to maximise the flexibility of the feature, essentially the templates would be assigned an identifier and the user would be able to select the keyword format template by this identifier in the following situations

  1. A Global default keyword format template selection in the ‘Preferences’
  2. Export keyword format template identifiers added to (all) the export options, allowing for multiple output options to be created
  3. Added to the ‘Metadata’/‘Write to image’ command to dictate the format to be used (versus the global default) when writing back to the image versus the default in the preferences to be used with AS(ON)

Please see the following pdf for a crude mock-up of the Preferences, Write to image and Export to disk commands changed to use keyword format templates Project1_01.pdf (1.1 MB).

The other export options would all need the same type of additional field added to control the keyword formats in the outputs

My understanding of the request:

User selectable keyword export format

  • Goal: optimal interoperability with other applications
  • Default format selectable in DPL’s preferences
  • Format selectable per output, allows default override

I’m not sure if I’d want this as a normal user, unless it was really necessary. If it should be, I’d want to select from a list of applications, e.g.

Select interoperability with

  • Lightroom
  • Capture One

And again, why should we need this, if we’d stick to SPOD?


@platypus thank you for the opportunity to clarify my post.

Correct, the user gets to choose what layout they want not the software (be that DxPL, Lightroom, Capture One or …,) even configure their own if they so wish!

But you can with a simple identifier.

I believe that what I am proposing is a straightforward development, drop down lists are outside my experience to assess the development impact. But DxO could provide a neat drop down list at every place that I have shown an identifier input and that would certainly be very useful and provide a polished look to the UI.

I am afraid that you cannot dictate what output format you want from any of the packages, unless you put it there yourself using, e.g. ExifTool and then don’t go anywhere near an editing or DAM package with your image, with its immaculately formatted keywords!

Arguably you can if you are @Joanna with her own application but even she will “force” the users of her app to have a keyword format as close as possible to the MWG guidelines, I believe.

There is no such thing as a Single Point Of Definition unless you work in a “silo” when all can be O.K. but if you work with multiple packages then you have to use the keyword format layout rules of those packages, albeit some offer options that I have included in my analysis (wherever I detected them).

I am simply suggesting that DxO also offers options with DxPL, just a wider set of options than any of the other packages, that just happens to encompass all the formats on offer from all the packages, i.e. by asking the users to undertake the experiments I conducted on the packages I could not access and add them to the open ended design I am proposing!

Hence, the feature I am proposing recognises that reality and provides a bridge between the packages and seeks to provide compatibility and “harmony”, with respect to keyword layout regardless of how good, bad or indifferent the format happens to be with respect to the guidelines.

This feature not only improves interworking between packages but allows the metadata features of DxPL to be used and exported for re-import into other packages without the need to re-engineer the keyword layout at any stage, I believe!

Let’s assume the views of two kinds of users

Super User: proficient in setting up technical stuff and might tweak a thing here and there
Other User: Wants things to simply work or select from a list, if necessary.

DxO does not have to dictate what I want. DxO should let me choose, provide a selection of possibilities like optimal interoperability with other top products - and maybe even means for the SuperUsers and Tweakers.

I assume that most of PhotoLab’s users are quite happy with it and that the few who manage keywords has been doing it for a while in a third party application. In a perfect world. keywords and other metadata could be exchanged effortlessly and free of issues, but most apps I know are not part of that world yet.

Ah, you speak of the mythical MetaUtopia :nerd_face:

…I’d not use Meta in the context of utopia though.

@Joanna and @platypus Keyword format Utopia perhaps but it appears that everyone has arrived there already and are completely satisfied with what is on offer.

I must admit that I am “confused” by all the protests and all the fear over what PL5 might write back to the image metadata and all the fuss in all the forum posts about “how hard hierarchical keywording” is and how it should be avoided at all costs!

It appears that no-one really cares so I would like to remind DxO and any other developers that I reserve my intellectual property rights to this material and should you feel the need to use it I would expect the courteously of being contacted at for permission to use the Keyword Format Template Table (which will not be refused) and an appropriate acknowledgement made.

I have started to investigate Python so that I can use this research for my own purposes, i.e. a keyword format convertor and get back into programming, my eldest son uses Python for his architectural modelling and I have found a useful video of it for traversing directories and calling ExifTool to access metadata.

@Joanna I would appreciate a DM to give me the ExifTool command string to access ExifTool to read and write the keywords, if possible, because I am being lazy.

A bit of programming would help fill the “void” of testing DxPL and just imagine how much real code I could create instead of posts to the forum like this one 2022-07-26_104223_Original versus Format Template pseudo-code_W.pdf (4.9 MB)

@platypus & @Joanna thank you for your support with this post and the original “slightly” longer one!