Dear Lightroom team,
I just started to use Lightroom some time ago and I really like Lightrooms concepts of Catalogs and the ability to spilt an merge them.
However I like to edit and managed my pictures with a variety of different applications and so I heavily depend on standard conform handling and sharing of the ITCP metadata in the files. Depending on the job I shoot jpg most of the time but sometimes also RAW.
I agree with you not touching the proprietary RAW files and I'm glad Lightroom is at least able to write the metadate into the jpg files.
However I wish there was more flexibility there. So I have a few suggestions for future versions of Lightroom.
1. In the catalog preferences you can tick "autosave changes to xmp". However I wish there was a sub-option "only if embedable".
Explanation: As I stated above having the metadata embedded in my jpg files is essential to me, as I need my other applications to see them. However I find the separate xmp files next to my RAW images rather annoying and not as useful as the embedded metadata in jpg files except for a few cases where I would create them on demand.
I hope you see the difference: While I occationally like to give the jpg files away by just copy them I like them to have all the metadata already included. However I would never do that with my RAW files so there is no point to have the metadata along the file there. (In the (few?) cases when you want to share your RAW files with other adobe applications you could sill use Ctrl+S)
unlike my secound suggestion I think this is a very useful option which 'doesn't hurt' anyone and should be relatively easy to implement so I hope you could include this soon.
2. As I said above I like to edit/rate my pictures with different applications so it's really annoying the Lightrooms doesn't become aware of this changes in metadata automatically unless you hit 'sync folder' in the contextmenu. I know Lightroom has this "the-truth-lies-in-the-database"-attitude and would not change the database based on external changes automatically and I agree this makes sense - However: I would like Lightroom to at least became aware of that changes and then maybe notifies me or ask me what to do if it found inconstancies. So what I would like to request would be something like a "autosync folder" or "watch for external changes of metadata" option.
I know this could mean a dramatic change in Lightrooms behavier and might not be very easy to implement or maybe not even wanted (?)
However I would like to get at least a honest statement from one of the developers if this suggestions make sense or not and we could see this implemented in near future.
(Although not really comparable, I know) Adobe Bridge is an excellent example when it comes to handle Metadata so that other applications can take advantage of it and vice versa.
Thank your for your attention and while I wait for your answer continue the good work so far! :-)
Best Regards, Markus
Just to address a few of your issues...
You can convert your raw files to DNG which does allow metadata embedding and removes the need for the sidecar XMP files.
Also, in your preferences you can have Lightroom automatically write changes out to the file. While this will only solve half of the issue it is better than none. You will still have to decide if changes made outside lightroom should be brought in or not.
Keep making suggestions as the engineers are always looking for ways to improve LR!
And LR does already notify you if the metadata for a photo has been changed by another application, by means of the "Metadata Was Changed Externally" icon in Grid mode. But I agree, it would be convenient if LR would give you an indication for the entire folder, or even the entire catalog.