Folder Browsing [Never happening] 2016-03

2 posts were split to a new topic: How can I reproduce something similar to this structure in Roon?

I know that many music lovers search albums or performers to organize their music, but there are still many people who organize their music according to their folders. I hope that roon developers can take into account different needs at the same time, hoping to continue with the next version add this function

Agree with you James, but there is the additional chagrin with Roon that it’s not portable.

I run roon on 3 different PC’s at the moment and there’s a different database setup on each, despite applying the same HDD’s of music to each setup.

If it were possible to have a portable version of Roon which could travel along with the music, so to speak, then it would make it more enticing to curate within Roon itself.

As such I do very little curating within Roon itself apart from making the odd playlist now and again and perhaps correcting the occasional wrong album art, etc when it irks me & that does mean that I am less tied to Roon than I could be.

I also collected 3,4,000 albums by folder mode long before and after. I strongly hope to add the folder browsing mode. Many of my friends have such appeals. On behalf of them, I hope roon developers can understand our thoughts, This mode can be added in subsequent versions

@11118 are you and @11117 the same person with two forum ID’s double posting your requests and cross posting across different discussions in the hopes of being noticed? @moderators

I find this whole topic really weird. It’s not hard to see that Roon is not about file based browsing. It’s really clear whether you’re using Roon or just browsing the web pages. Roon has a vision and Roon team is working towards it.

What this thread is saying is that Roon should not have a vision and they should try to be everything for everybody. Because people might be customers and because they have learned one way of doing things and want to stick with that. Obviously they shouldn’t use a different player that works like old fashioned players do, but Roon should change to fit their needs.

Makes total sense.


Roon has advantages beyond the metadata/tag-based browser, such as endpoints that are independent of the server and the ability to be implemented using relatively low cost technology.

There seems to be a religious aversion to folder-based browsing amongst some Roon. users. Nobody is suggesting that Roon change what is already implemented and is very well designed. A number of us would like to see folder-based browsing added to the mix.

No-one is insisting that everyone has to use this functionality but I would suggest that those who would not use it refrain from trying to convince people that there is one best way to do things or that Roon would be irreparably harmed by adding some new functionality that some of us would find useful.

Different strokes for different folks combined with live and let let live.


How about…

Different apps for different chaps combined with live and let let live.


That strikes me as selfish. As mentioned, there are many advantages to Roon that have nothing to do with how media is organized, and many people love that. AND, I do value the metadata model and how it makes for a lovely browsing experience.

It’s one thing to say that you have a higher priority for some other feature and to wish that to be done first. It’s quite another to suggest that those who desire a feature like album browsing should just go elsewhere. I mean, excluding users is not good for Roon’s prospects for survival - you can exclude those users and then one morning wake up and see that Roon is no longer serving you metadata, or integrated with Tidal, because they did not have enough subscribers to survive. Then how much will you love it?

Yes. I am really surprised by the strong opinions on this.

It’s a little bit academic as there is a history of roon jumping into these debates after a while and explaining why it will not be happening. But the requests persist. So there must be reason. I don’t think it is a dinosaur aversion to a new way of doing things. The pattern I see with the folder requests is they are often linked to requests that have gone unsupported in other areas, often for years. For example, box set handling in roon is essentially unusable. It is so poor, I no longer use roon for box sets and just use windows explorer and rightclick to foobar instead. This is what I get in a Windows 10 folder view for a largish box set:

Or even a list view:

But this is what I get with roon:

Some Box sets will run to hundreds of discs so it gets much worse. It turns out it is a very complex data modeling problem which roon have been at pains to explain elsewhere. The end result is there are no signs of improved support anytime soon. A simple folder view however goes a long way. Several of the requestors seem to have a similar problem with organising and modelling their libraries where extended Chinese or Cyrilic character sets are involved. That is even more unlikely to be supported in roon anytime soon but a simple folder view is considered helpful in the meantime.

Myself, largely because of a combination of roon being dependent on very variable and poor quality classical metadata from external suppliers and a lack of support for iso’s, apes or cue’s etc. have found myself doing a great deal of conversion and tagging to get any benefits from roon at all. My roon experience is actually up to my ears in the innards of the folder structure of my Windows 10 library. Constantly copying things around, renaming, loading into this tool or that tool, converting, copying somewhere else. Roon is the only tool in that workflow process which lacks some basic file system interoperability making the whole process much more painful than it need be.


That’s exactly the thing that is not possible at the moment. At least not in a simple, reliable, convenient way. Yes there are workarounds but they are all pretty awkward.

Yes @Nyquist you are right. I missed out several steps. Most of the process happens outside roon exploiting the windows 10 folder view. I have absolutely no idea how I could do this entirely within roon so I am open to suggestion.

Normally what I do is one of two things:

Small folder:

  1. Navigate in windows to the folder containing the CD’s
  2. Select all sub-directories
  3. Right click to bring up the dbPowerAmp edit view
  4. Change one of the fields that roon knows about to some arbitrary string like “temptag”. Normally I use the “label” field
  5. Go back into roon
  6. Focus on “temptag”
  7. Select all
  8. Create and assign the tag “The 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time”
  9. Go back into windows
  10. Navigate to the relevant folder and revert the “temptag” edit back to its original (label) value (assuming I haven’t forgotten the label and don’t have to look it up discogs or musicbrainz).
  11. Done

Large Folder

I just do the same thing with mp3tag instead because it is quicker but I cannot be bothered to list out the tedious steps.

This is a very messy error prone example and I initially had ambitions to do something similar for all my box sets, series, singles directories, DJ themed directories etc. I’ve done it for a few but mostly I just use Windows explorer and right click to foobar when I want to directly explore a box set or singles directory. I still put the effort into the tagging as the contents of these directories will show up indirectly in searches, focus, compositions, radio, discovery etc.

The point is that there is no such thing as a stand-alone roon. There are all sorts of use cases where there is no avoiding folder views but roon often makes that interoperability maximally awkward.

Yeah totally, wanting the design team to hold onto their vision of a modern music player is totally selfish, whereas wanting them do discard their design philosophy because you’re accustomed to old way of browsing is totally for the common good.

I know Roon does many things well and that’s why I like it. I don’t want it to become one of those “lets do a little bit of everything” apps that end up disappointing.

Btw. I’m sure you’re bothering the makers of file based browsing players to implement the features you love in Roon, right? Even if that is totally not what they intended to do with the app? Kinda selfish of them not to do the same things Roon does.

Album browsing has nothing to do with file based browsing. You can browse by album with metadata. Using the file system to sort albums is the way of the past. I don’t mind if someone really wants to hold onto it, but demanding that metadata based players go back in time to satisfy their quirks is not a good thing.

I do believe that what is good for Roon’s survival is doing what they do best and separating from the crowd. Not doing a bit of everything. That’s the only way go make something great. Same goes for music. Bands that try to please everyone end up mediocre and the ones that have vision and are not afraid to follow through end up making something great, even if they rub some people the wrong way.

But that’s just me. I don’t want a just another player, I want something great and I feel Roon is going to the right direction.


That’s absolutly NOT what this is all about. Total misinterpretation. It’s about providing some tools to convert a database to the Roon way for all the cases where the automated Roon function simply failed. By the time Roon gets perfect all of this is not needed but Roon is not perfect, not at this moment in time. A folder viewer, access tool (I intentionall do not call it a file browser) does not have to be in the user interface but they have a place in the editing tools.

This is of course the primary reason why progress is held back, in the computer field, and in many others. The flaws of the folder approach have been written up and widely recognized in the computer industry since the previous century. Similarly, why is there a Save button in Word?

But slowly but surely we are moving on, and Roon is in fact not idiosyncratic in offering a different perspective. Below is just a partial list of systems that are not folder based — you will note that these are not just fairly successful, but dominant in their fields.

  • iOS (they recently added the first steps toward a file system, very tentatively and very poorly, but this does not affect the built-in apps like photos and mail and music and App Store and ibooks)
  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Adobe Lightroom (it is strongly metadata based, although it does provide a folder based view, with all the limitations necessary)
  • Tidal, Spotify…

Some hybrids:

  • Within Office, the newer apps like OneNote do not use a folder view; Outlook is itself a hybrid; Word and Excel are stuck with folders

What about others like Android and Facebook? I don’t know, don’t use them, but I can guess…

The result for me is that folders play no role in any of my daily life. No content I use or create is folder based.

Folders do appear frequently when I have to drop down to a lower level of abstraction and deal with things at the OS level, such as backup. But even there, I specify only root locations, not the detailed folder structure: \music, \photo negatives, \photo catalogs, \photo published, \documents. (Why do I have those three separate photo locations, why not just \photo? Because the implementation details shine through the abstraction: the photo “negatives”, RAW files coming from the camera, are large and never modified so they sit on a cheaper spinning disk, the metadata databases that Lightroom works with sit on an SSD. Just like Roon.)

And in fact, sometimes I even have to drop down one more level below the OS and deal with physical stuff, like when a hard drive fails. But even there, modern technology hides it: Windows Storage Spaces allows me to just throw hard drives into a pool as more space is needed, and define abstract storage locations on top,

The world is moving on. In fits and starts. But to our great benefit.


That would be quite reasonable, and I have written about my sympathy for these large migration scenarios. But I don’t think you speak for everybody. Many of the voices here argue for folder-based as more convenient, or more natural, even in the long run.

EDIT: I made a migration suggestion in the new thread here

Yeah read that before. That’s excactly what I mean by an unnecesary complex “workaround”

Lovely straw man argument. The file based browsing players are not taking my money every month. Plus, as many have mentioned, this is not about just being able to browse by folder. It is about interoperability with existing curated libraries to allow for much easier porting.

And, for me although I haven’t seen a lot of others mention it, being able to play a media file without adding to the library by accessing it in its folder based location. The fact that I have to add a file to the library just to see if I want to add it to the library is, well, silly.

I look forward to that. I just think it will take a lot longer than you think. Maybe generations. Roon or this community is not going to decide that debate. In the meantime no one is proposing to roll back the clock or call a halt on the roon “vision”. As far as I can see the folder requests fall into two main categories:

Depending on the type of library you have you may have to do a lot of ripping, tagging and conversion mostly using a variety of relatively primitive open source folder based tools. I use 5 or 6 on a regular basis. They are not going to change how they work. With roon in the mix, I personally find the workflow to be very awkward as there is no common folder view. You may have a library that requires little or no pre/post processing and this is not a concern. I would have preferred that as well. But that is not the case with the current state of standards work on the metatdata of my musical tastes. This is not a philosophical position. It’s just a pragmatic reality check. I notice that the more efficiently I am able to groom my library the better the results I get from “radio” for example. That is the roon “magic” I am looking for and this feature request is for a little bit of help in making that happen.

Functionality Gaps
Several feature requests are now years old with little sign of immanent delivery. I have the sense that a folder view is often requested as a better than nothing work-around as most roon users would still prefer a “roon” solution if that were possible. One persistent years old request is box set handling which could benefit from a folder view in the absence of a more comprehensive solution. From roon comments about some of these long-standing requests I have the impression that a truly roon solution may simply not be feasible given the current state of standards and technology. I think others are getting that vibe as well and is at the root of at least some of these persistent requests for a folder view.

Having said all that, anything I have read indicates roon is not interested in a me-too folder view. Still, I live in hope.

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“Adding to the library” sounds like it is a large effort.
Drag it onto Roon. Click on it when it shows up. Play.

Similar to many other operations we do: drag a photo onto Lightroom, click on it when it shows up, Print.