Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Managing Your Media With WiFi File Explorer
So it basically all revolves around a media scanner within the Android OS that scans the file system for media-type files, and then adds any it finds to the media database on your Android device, or removes any from it that no longer exist. This media database can then be used by Android applications to determine what media is stored in the file system and then use it within those applications, so for example, the Gallery can show all the pictures you have.
Typically, this media scanner only kicks into life when the Android device is switched on or if you take the SD card out and then slot it back in. But also, applications can invoke the media scanner whenever they need to and WiFi File Explorer just so happens to be one of those applications! So whenever you upload, delete, rename, copy, unzip or move a file using WiFi File Explorer it will set the media scanner off on that file so that the media database is kept bang up-to-date at all times. So unlike some other file management applications, if you were to upload a picture to your Android device from your computer using WiFi File Explorer, it will be instantly viewable in the Gallery application ... some other file management applications don't do this so you have to turn your Android device off and on again, or take the SD card and slot it back in again ... what a pain!
In addition to perfectly and automatically managing the media database on your Android device, there are some other options in WiFi File Explorer to give you greater control over it where required. Firstly, you have the Rescan Media button which forces the media scanner to go and rescan all the files on your device in case they have become out of sync with the media database for any reason. And secondly, you have the the Hide Media or Unhide Media button which will either add or delete a ".nomedia" file in the current directory. By adding this ".nomedia" file to a directory it tells the media scanner not to add any of the media in this directory to the media database, so if you had some audio files in a certain directory that you didn't want appearing in the Music application then just click the Hide Media button and they will no longer appear in the media database and so won't litter your Music application any longer. Useful huh? This could also be helpful if you wanted certain pictures to not show up in the Gallery application, depending on what you take pictures of ;)
But of course you don't just want to manage your media using WiFi File Explorer, you also want to consume it. WiFi File Explorer gives you a number of ways to do this so that you can stream your media from your Android device into your web browser. If you click the file name link of any media-type file, it will open up via the web browser into your media player of choice to directly start streaming. Or, you can click the Media Playlist button which will give you a playlist file to open in your favourite media player on your computer so you can play a whole album from your Android device on your computer for example. Warning: If you use the Media Playlist button, make sure you turn off the password functionality otherwise the media player using the playlist file won't be allowed access to the files via WiFi File Explorer!
Also, if you click on the file name link or the thumbnail of a picture (or click the Slideshow button) it will bring up the Gallery Viewer which allows you to quickly scroll through all the pictures in that directory, or just hit the Play button and sit back to a slideshow of all those pictures streamed directly into your web browser.
Finally, with regards to the media database, WiFi File Explorer lets you view the contents of that database by simply clicking the Picture, Video or Music icons to the left in the top navigation bar of the web UI. This then allows you to see, for example, all the pictures that are on your Android device regardless of which directory they may be in, just like the Gallery application on the Android device itself. Very handy!
See, you didn't even know all that was happening in the background, and now you can see just what a good job WiFi File Explorer does with regards to your media database without you even realising. I hope this gives you enough information so that you can go and fully enjoy all the features to get the best out of the media on your Android device.