Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Digital Rebellion's Preference Manager's File Format

Digital Rebellion has three handy bits of software for various things regarding Final Cut Studio. One, called Compressor Repair, helps keep QMaster running, another, FCS Remover, is essentially an uninstaller for Final Cut and the third, called Preference Manager, backs up and restores your Final Cut preferences.

Today, I had a call to fix someone's badly behaving FCP install and since they weren't exactly savvy to the inner workings of the Mac when I suggested they trash FCP's prefs they had no idea what to do. So, I began to walk them through the process when I decided to just have them download and use Preference Manager. Playing along at home so I could tell them exactly what to do I noticed in Preference Manager's preferences that it allowed you to choose the directory where the backups were kept. But they were archived in a strange type of file called a .pmb.

Wonderful, I thought, another proprietary file format to worry about. Immediately I decided I didn't like this and lamented the day that FCP Rescue went away. I decided to find out exactly what these .pmb files are and see if they're useful on their own.

I fired up the Terminal, typed in File, hit spacebar and dragged in a newly created .pmb file and hit return to find out it's actually nothing more than a simple "Zip archive data, at least v1.0 to extract" .zip file.

So, to make these .pmb files useful when you need one and don't have or don't want to use Preference Manager, just append .zip to the end of one and then double click it to unzip it and there are all of your copies of your backed-up preferences.


Jon said...

I think you may have misunderstood the purpose of having a proprietary file format. It makes things much easier. If you send someone a load of .plists, most people wouldn't have a clue what to do with them.

If you send them a .pmb, everything they need is in one file. They just double-click it and all of the preferences are automatically copied to the correct location.

So if you're helping someone out remotely, it makes your job easier because you only need to give them two steps:
1) Install Preference Manager.
2) Open the .pmb file.


Walker Ferox said...

You're right, but I was thinking more in the long term, or if perhaps it's parent app is long gone, corrupted or unavailable otherwise (DNS down, company closes, no internet connection) something along those lines.

I'd rather know what the true format is -and how to access it- rather than being required to have an app installed just for a proprietary format. I guess in my mind it's the difference between someone sending you a .sitx file instead of a .zip (which the Finder will create and upzip) and not need to have another app (Stuffit in this example) on hand just to access the files.

I've actually written an AppleScript that does essentially the same thing as Preference Manager. I've been toying with the idea of posting it someplace for people, or at least it's code.