Concept to enhance presentation of pin protected folders

A great way to customize the way MediaPortal presents content inside the graphical user interface is to take use of folder.jpg files.When you place such a file inside a folder, then MediaPortal will automatically display that file instead of the default folder, CD/DVD, harddisk icon or the thumbnail it automatically creates based on the videos or pictures inside that folder.This proposal here will show you how pin protected folders are displayed currently inside MediaPortal, and how it can be improved.I am using the videos section of MediaPortal to describe the intended change, yet the functionality is meant to be introduced in the video, music and picture sections of MediaPortal.

The idea:

When you start using MediaPortal, you will most likely configure just one folder/source for each of the Music,Video and Picture areas.But there can be reasons to have more than just one folder/source. i.e. when using multiple hard disks, NAS devices or just a combination of both.Another reason for configuring multiple folders/sources can be that you just want to separate certain content in order to group it nicely, or restrict the access to some files.This example here is mainly focused on the idea of restricting access to certain files.

We will have two separate folders for the video section as sources. One that stores the videos the kids are allowed to see, and one that stores videos only the parents are allowed to have access to.

The Configuration: 

So lets go to MediaPortal Configuration, and enter the video section.
There we will now add two folders. Each one pointing to the folder that stores the media for the "kids" and the one for the "parents".

Config 001

Now when go to MediaPortal, and enter videos, we will get this.

MP GUI 001

So far so good!
Parents and Kids sections are selectable individually. But this does not look nice yet. So lets save a folder.jpg in the parents folder, and one in the kids folder, that helps to identify the purpose of each folder instantly, without reading the name of the folder inside the GUI.     

     thumb folderKids    thumb folderParents

When we enter MediaPortal now, we will get this. The used images might not be everyones taste, but you get the idea.

MP GUI 002

Now we have created folder.jpg's, and everything looks good. What is missing is the protection of the parents folder, that prevents the kids to access it.

Let's go back to the MediaPortal Configuration, and edit the parents folder inside the videos section to set a pin code (enter 4 numbers)

Config 003

And now we start MediaPortal again

The Problem:

MP GUI 003

So we placed our nice folder.jpg's in the kids and parents folders before. But now with setting the Pin Code, we no longer see that folder.jpg in the parents folder.

The reason for that is that MediaPortal automatically hides the present folder.jpg as soon as you set a Pin Code. This is done with good intentions, because if no folder.jpg is present, MediaPortal will automatically generate a folder.jpg from video and images inside a folder. And this could lead to having a folder image that shows content your kids should not see.

Yet we have placed a specific folder.jpg in that folder, and we want MP to display that. Also we do not see that this folder is pin protected, because it uses the default folder icon the skin provides.

The Solution:

Finally, lets get to the core of this proposal!

"locked" icon

Instead of displaying the default folder or hdd icon, allow the skin to provide a specific icon (i.e. something like a defaultLockedFolder.png) for locked folders.
This will allow the user to instantly understand the function of the displayed item.

MP GUI 004

overwrite hiding of folder.jpg

Ultimately, we want MediaPortal to display the folder.jpg which we manually created and placed inside the parents folder. To achieve that we need a config option that allows us to tell MediaPortal that we know what we are doing here and that it has to display the folder.jpg inside our configured source.

Config 002

The default option will be to not show a present folder.jpg and have MP display the defaultLockedFolder.png instead. So there is no risk that unsafe content is displayed as icon for a locked folder.

Your opinion counts!

So what do you think about it? Would you like to see these changes introduced in an upcoming release of MediaPortal?

Did you already know about the possibility to change the presentation of folders inside the MP GUI by using folder.jpg files?

Let me know!
Post your comments and vote in the thread I have created about this proposal in our forums. :)

About The Project

The vision of the MediaPortal project is to create a free open source media centre application, which supports all advanced media centre functions, and is accessible to all Windows users.

In reaching this goal we are working every day to make sure our software is one of the best.


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