[ardour-users] Snapshots and filing best practice

Mike Jewell mj405 at oneupaudio.com
Wed Oct 26 17:07:37 PDT 2005

I've been using Ardour for a year or so now and recently have been off
and on working on a little script to rename an ardour project per a
couple of recent threads on this list.  Nothing like trying to automate
some process to help you really learn how the process works and what any
problems are!   8^)

Anyway, I think I have come up with a "best practice" for saving your
Ardour projects using snapshots as well as some suggestions for future
improvements for Ardour filing.  I was thinking I might actually try to
contribute this to the Ardour Wiki manual if the consensus here is that
I'm on the right track.  I'd really like to do something to return to
the Ardour community a little of the benefit I've gotten from this great

So, please let me know if you agree or disagree with my take on this
subject.  My conclusions are based on empirical info (experimenting),
day to day usage (not advanced) and quite a few years working in a
"Unix" environment.  I'm especially interested in Paul D's feedback
since he (obviously) knows the inner workings of Ardour better than

Here's my documentation so far:

General Ardour filing usage notes:
Some of the defaults in Ardour reflect questionable filing practice.
The most glaring example is the naming of snapshot files.  With these
files, it is very important to be able to see at a glance, the time
order of creation and/or last modification.  To do this the names should
contain the date and time in order of most significant portion to least.
For example, something like: 2005_07_08_16_03_21_Fri.ardour clearly and
simply represents Friday, July 8th, 2005 at 4:03:21 PM. Notice there are
no spaces or special characters in the name and if you do a simple
listing, these files will list in the correct order of their creation.
Until this gets fixed, using snapshots in Ardour will always be
problematic.  But there are some things you can do to improve the

After researching for and writing a script to change Ardour project
names it became clear that the best way to use the current Ardour filing
is to simply always write snapshots and never do a "save" after
"open"ing one but rather just write another snapshot.  They are cheap
and, if you don't re-save them, the filenames (even with the bad
practice of containing spaces) will at least contain correct time/date
info, though they won't list in proper order if you use Ardour's
defaults.  But that too can easily be worked around by a simple, one
line script in your personal bin directory. I call mine dt (date/time)
and it contains:
   date +'%Y_%m_%d_%H_%M_%S_%a' .
You can have a small term window somewhere where you just type dt, do a
"Shift-Ctrl-C" and then a "Shift-Ctrl-V" in the ardour snapshot name
pop-up window and you now have names that make sense.

Don't worry (unless you are low on disk space) about not being able to
get rid of unused source audio files after doing a cleanup (since they
are used in one or more snapshots) until you are all finished with your
project.  At that time (or any time you are sure you don't need certain
snapshots) you can delete all the old un-needed snapshots, do your
cleanup and maybe even rename the final good snapshot to
"projectname.ardour" .

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