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DevMeta Lightroom Plugin

DevMeta provides develop settings as metadata in Lightroom - displayable in right-hand panel when in Library module, usable in library filters (metadata column or text search) and smart collections.

Note: There is a possibility for another plugin to try and access the catalog while auto-update is using it. This may cause an error in the other plugin. If this happens too much, you may have to disable auto-update. None of my plugins have this problem, nor do plugins from John Ellis or Jeffrey Friedl - can not vouch for other plugin authors. If you do have other plugins which have problems when DevMeta auto-update is enabled, consider informing the author - I can provide the solution if they need/want it.


System Requirements:


Note: All non-develop-setting metadata (e.g. stack-position, pixel-count, aspect-ratio, ... ) is now supported by Metadata Extensions (which is hereby recommended over DevMeta for such overlapping non-dev metadata). Non-develop metadata will probably be removed in 2015 or when Lr6 is released - whichever comes first.


Quick Links (intra-page)

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Revision History


See the readme file after downloading for usage and other notes.


ScreenShot #1 - Library Filter
Library Filter


ScreenShot #2 - Library Panel
Library Panel

(The Smart Collection Drop-down includes the same items).


ScreenShot #3 - Settings In The Plugin Manager
Plugin Manager



See Elare Plugin Framework page for settings and info common to all elare framework-based plugins

DevMeta FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

(no particular order)

These FAQs come partly from users, and partly from my imagination. Please let me know if there are errors or omissions in this FAQ - thanks.

NOTE: The following Q&A's assume that the plugin is working as I expect... If, after your best effort, still "no go", please let me know.

Question: Why would I ever need or want such a thing as DevMeta?

Answer: If you always develop your photos from start to finish, never make mistakes, never look back, and don't care what you've done after you do it, then maybe DevMeta is not for you, but if you want to view cross-sections of your photos based on develop settings, then DevMeta may be just what the doctor ordered.

Question: How to use DevMeta?

Answer: After installing DevMeta, go to the Plugin Manager and configure settings. Then select one or more photos and press Alt/Opt-F,S,U (in Lightroom). i.e. File Menu -> Plugin Extras -> DevMeta -> Update. After initializing Dev-Metadata for you entire catalog, this step is only required if you've got auto-update turned off, or you've edited a block of photos (e.g. using DevAdjust, DevConvert, or Auto-Sync) and develop metadata has not had a chance to be recomputed yet for all changed photos.

Question: Will develop settings be available for library filtering and smart collections immediately after installing DevMeta?

Answer: No. - DevMeta must do an 'Update' to copy settings from Lightroom catalog to custom plugin metadata fields, which is what's being used in lib filters and smart collects - see 'How to use DevMeta' above.

Question: What does DevMeta do?

Answer: It has two modes:

  1. Auto-update - Periodically checks for photo develop setting changes which need to be reflected in the develop metadata.
  2. Manual update - initiated via the file menu (plugin extra) - which will updated develop metadata of all selected photos.

Question: Why does DevMeta say it can't update some photos.

Answer: I haven't seen this for a long time, but maybe:

  1. There is a bug in DevMeta (please report), or
  2. There is some strange thing going on with the catalog and/or Lightroom - try restarting Lightroom, optimizing catalog, backing out things... - trouble-shooting 101...

Question: Is there a performance penalty for using DevMeta.

Answer: Although manual update with a bunch selected can take a while, auto-update when only one is selected should be very fast. If auto-update with a bunch selected is too slow, you can set it to only update the most selected automatically, then update the remaining selected manually after editing. Or (@v4.3) you can adjust the "tuning constants" (auto-update interval and idle-threshold) in plugin manager.

Worth noting: updating is faster if not so many item values need to be written, which means:

* It's faster the second time than the first time (unless of course everything has changed).
* Manual updating is faster if auto-updating is enabled. If all (or most) values are already up to date via auto-update, then manual update is very fast. If most values need to be initialized or updated via the manual update, it will be slower. If all values need to be initialized or have changed, it will be very slow...

So, my recomendation: use auto-update. Increase the auto-update interval (and/or idle threshold) if need be to reduce the load, then if you really need to assure up-to-date values - do the manual update.

Question: I set out to update a whole bunch of photos but it looks like its stuck.

Answer: This hasn't been a problem recently, since update is auto-divided into chunks. Up until v4.3 there was a long delay every 1000 photos, @v4.3 you should see a short delay every 100 photos instead - that's normal and expected.

Question: Why can't I set ranges for numerical settings in smart collections? (and other numerical criteria).

Answer: Lightroom does not yet support numerical data-types in custom metadata. Unfortunately for the time being, they're being treated as strings - sorry (fingers crossed). For this reason, I tend to use Library Filters more often than Smart Collections for viewing cross sections of photos based on Develop Settings. But also, you can use smart collections if you craft them accordingly.

Question: Why would I want to disable Auto-Update?

Answer: Auto-Update is a lightweight ever-present background process. Its not supposed to get in the way of anything (@v4.3, that will depend on auto-update interval and idle-threshold), but if Lightroom is behaving strangely, you may want to disable auto-update until you get things sorted out. One thing: if you run a plugin that requires catalog write access and it doesn't retry when there is contention, DevMeta may interfere with it. If you get "SomePlugin can't access catalog..." errors, try stopping auto-update.

Question: Why would I want to 'Auto-update selected photos'?

Answer: Auto-updating selected photos is fine if you only have a handful of photos selected, but it can really slows things down if you have very many photos selected (especially if you are making repeated changes via quick-dev or auto-sync). Although, its not as bad if you de-select "auto-write to xmp", because with that also selected, DevMeta updates all the metadata, and Lightroom re-writes all the xmp, after every change. Just be aware that without 'Auto-update selected photos' checked, when you edit a batch of photos using auto-sync or quick-dev (or Gazoo, or ... ), or apply a preset using the context menu, that the develop metadata is not automatically updated, so you must update manually afterward, or whenever you're ready.

Question: Why would I want to 'Auto-update whole catalog'?

Answer: If you've done a preliminary manual update of whole catalog, and you have "auto-update selected photos" checked, and DevMeta succeeds in updating them all before they become deselected, then (theoretically), 'Auto-update whole catalog' won't ever have anything to do. However, it's possible that the Delorean won't contact the wire at the moment the lightening strikes... ;-} (hint: Back to the Future) - so not a bad idea to have them double-checked in the background.

Question: Why is the process version sometimes undefined?

Answer: I don't know. It seems to only happen with PV2003 files, but I can't be sure yet. If you confirm this for yourself, you may be able to treat 'Undefined' same as '2003'.

Question: Why is 'Last Update' editable?

Answer: Clearing out the last-update (date-time) field will force update develop metadata of most selected photo, assuming auto-update is enabled and healthy. This is normally not necessary, but I like having a quick way of ensuring what I'm looking at is up to date, and of checking health of auto-update without going into plugin manager.

Question: What if I have problems?

Answer: Try turning on log-verbose - not only is more stuff logged but it enables some debug code as well that may help. Try and figure it out for yourself, and if you can't then report a problem and send me the verbose log file.

Question: Are there alternatives to DevMeta?

Answer: Yes - John Ellis offers AnyFilter and Jeffrey Friedl offers Data Explorer. If you are only interested in rounding up photos on demand and don't mind the proprietary UI, then you may very well prefer one of those solutions. The advantages of DevMeta are:

Question: DevMeta is too cool for words, how can I express my gratitude non-verbally?

Answer: Send Money $ - thanks.

Question: DevMeta is too cool for words, but not cool enough for money - now what?

Answer: Just tell me what you think - thanks.

Question: What are some of DevMeta's limitations and what are your plans for the future of DevMeta?


  1. By far the most glaring limitation is due to Lightroom's lack of support for numeric data types in custom metadata. As a result, only substring operations are permitted for assimilating collections from numeric develop settings. I've begged Adobe to asuage this limitation, but until then...
  2. You may need to stop the auto-sync task before re-loading the plugin. Likewise, you should leave 'auto-reload plugin upon each use' unchecked in plugin manager if auto-update is enabled.
  3. DevMeta is slow as molasses on some machines especially when a very large number of photos has been selected for updating (e.g. all photos in the catalog) - I have no idea why.



DevMeta Revision History

(reverse chronological order)


Version 4.3 released 2014-02-04

- Made auto-updating more agressive (faster) by default, but added adjustability to UI (plugin manager) - if using too much CPU or Lightroom is hesitating with auto-update enabled, do consider making some adjustments.
- Downed the manual update transaction buffer from 1000 to 100 to improve performance on temperamental systems - e.g. those with relatively low ram...


Version 4.2 released 2014-01-28

- Removed warning about Lr5 compatibility.
- Added ability to update photos buried in collapsed folder stacks, which is is especially useful for updating stack position, so you don't have to expand stacks...


Version 4.1 released 2012-12-04

- Added ability to redirect log output to preferred directory.


Version 4.0 released 2012-06-03

A bumped version number not because of feature changes, but because:

Also, fixed a bug in point curve adjustment assessment for PV2012 photos.

Version 3.1.3 released 2012-05-03

- Fixed bug that was resulting in erroneous warning upon manual update.
- Certified for Lr4, or was it?

Version 3.1 released 2012-03-29

- Reduced number of digits in aspect ratio from 3 to 2. If you want to make it 3 again like it was, then go to plugin manager and click 'Edit Advanced Settings'.

Version 3.0.1 released 2012-03-21

- Fixed a particularly bothersome bug: Manually initiated update (via file menu) was not

properly recording the update time, thus automatic update was still updating each and every photo, which means cpu time, and also edit-time constantly changing until all updated.

- Fixed two bugs which could result in errors in some cases.

*** Note: It is recommended to update all your photos again (File Menu -> Plugin Extras -> Update Selected Photos). If no photos are selected you will have option to update whole catalog.

Version 3.0 released 2012-03-20

- Updated for Lr4.0/PV2012 compatibility.

*** Note: You will have to update all your photos again (File Menu -> Plugin Extras -> Update Selected Photos). If no photos are selected you will have option to update whole catalog.


Version 2.3 released 2012-01-15

- Updated for Lr4b compatibility - does not support new develop settings of PV2012, but otherwise seems to be working OK.
- Lr4 platform warning can be dismissed permanently.


Version 2.2 released 2011-12-23

- Added stack-count metadata.
- Also reverted stack-pos handling to original: stack-pos = 1 if top-of-stack or not in a stack. Stack-count can be used to distinquish. Stack-pos will no longer be "Not Stacked" to make that distinction.
- Changed targeting: if no photos are selected, user is asked whether he/she wants to do whole catalog (including those buried in collapsed stacks), or just visible photos in filmstrip.


Version 2.1.1 released 2011-09-21

- Manual update now done in 1000 photo chunks - alleviates problem at least one person was having that the update would not make it to the end, due to abnormal consumption of memory.


Version 2.1, 2011-08-23

- Added button to plugin manager, for updating the plugin, and uninstall.

Version 2.0.1, 2011-08-21

- Fixed bug in plugin preference handling.


Version 2.0, 2011-08-20

- Migrated code to 'Elare Plugin Object Framework'.
- New features are added by the framework, but also:
- Added option for auto-update of all-selected photos, and whole-catalog, leisurely, in the background.
- Backward compatible with previous DevMeta versions (meaning metadata should not need to be re-updated).


Version 1.8.5, 2011-08-15

- Changed stack-position to "Not Stacked" instead of "0" if not in stack (since its being handled as a text string anyway).


Version 1.8.4, 2011-08-13

- Fixed bug in handling of consolidated point curve metadata.
- Enhanced stack-position handling to be zero if not in stack.
- Includes some other minor bug fixes in common code too.


Version 1.8.3, 2011-07-23

- If any errors, error count displayed in progress indicator.
- Cancel via progress indicator (for any reason), instead of prompt upon error.


Version 1.8.2, 2011-07-22

- Fixed bug induced in v1.7.0 - was having error if width or height not present in dimensions. Mostly affect videos.

Version 1.8.1, 2011-07-21

- Added progress indicator to upper left hand corner.


Version 1.8.0, 2011-07-06

- Made metadata fields read-only (in right-hand library panelii) to emphasize they are not editable/writable.
- Clearing out the last-update (date-time) field will force develop metadata (of most selected photo) to be updated again, assuming auto-update is enabled and healthy.


Version 1.7.1, 2011-05-31

- Added deprecation warning when enabling 'Update All Selected'. Enabling this function is problematic if not used judiciously.


Version 1.7.0, 2011-05-25

- Added cropped width/height metadata.


Version 1.6.0, 2011-03-24

- Targets must be selected - i.e. it will no longer target all photos in the filmstrip when nothing is selected.
- Added Pixel Count & Aspect Ratio metadata items.


Version 1.5.1, 2010-10-18

- Critical bug fix, the last release caused errors.


Version 1.5.0, 2010-10-18

- Uses normal progress scope (upper left corner) when auto-startup enabled.
- Adds 'Stack Position' metadata. (not technically develop metadata, but keeps me from having to write another plugin...) - Example usage: define collections that do not include items buried in a stack.
- Added change detection: metadata is updated only if changed, and last-update date-time has been added to metadata so you can tell when the last update was. This keeps the photo from seeming to have been "edited" just because of a metadata update.
- Reworked the error handling a smidge.
- Added a "Default Log File" button to the plugin manager.

Note: ExifMeta was updated too to handle RC Metadata Tagsets that include the last-update and stack-position items.


Version 1.4.1, released 2010-09-14

- Robustened a tad, error-handling-wise.
- Changed auto-update to not occupy an 'Undo' step. Since live-update feature has been revoked, its unnecessary and annoying.
- Fixed a bug whereby auto-update would silently terminate when selected photos were suddenly deselected, such as when being deleted or upon import...


Version 1.4.0, released 2010-09-12

- Live edit has been discontinued. Although not very often, once in a while, it would inadvertently change develop settings erroneously, and I don't know why or how to fix that yet. So until further notice, its retracted. Auto-update still works though.


Version 1.3.0, released 2010-07-16

- Added additional develop-settings metadata fields:


Version 1.2.1, released 2010-07-14

- Aesthetic enhancement to edit-history naming.

Version 1.2.0, released 2010-07-14

- Live-Edit has been restored - bug fixed.


Version 1.1.0, released 2010-07-14

- Live-Edit has been disabled temporarily - pending bug fix.


Version 1.0.1, released 2010-07-13

- Fixed a potential problem with catalog contention between auto-update/live-edit and other plugins that access the catalog.


Version 1.0.0, released 2010-07-06

Initial release.



Please come back after trying DevMeta and let me know what you think of DevMeta, or report bugs in DevMeta, if encountered (but please identify the plugin!) - I need the name, or I have no way of knowing which plugin!!!



acceptance of Download Terms & Conditions will be required

DevMeta 4.3 - (Lr5 & Lr4) - latest & greatest - this is the one to download.

DevMeta 3.1.3 - (Lr3) for fallback in case of problem with latest release, in which case please tell me.

DevMeta 2.3 - for fallback...


Static content updated 2010-07-14 Copyright 2007 - robcole.com - all rights reserved. Dynamic content updated 09:50:52 AM