Devonthink indexing Bookend PDFs on two computers - how?

Hi all
I keep track of all the research papers in Bookends and all its PDFs are located in a folder in the file system, so far so good. Indexing this folder gives me the opportunity to search for PDFs, annotate them, search for the annotations as well etc. It works wonderfully if only a single Mac is used but ultimately I want to be able to work in the office (iMac) and at home.

Since the release of the revamped sync sometime last year syncing as such is not a problem anymore, I am using my own Webdav server with Seafile and it has all been very stable. However, it still does not help.

  1. Syncing with DTPO itself
    Since I cannot import the PDFs without making them unavailable for Bookends, the only choice is to index them in their current Bookends folder on computer A. Ticking the third box “synchronise the content of indexed items” in the options for the *.dtCloud database also synchronises the PDFs and will write them to the folder on computer B. Bookends is clever enough to make use of the PDF on computer B because the actual Bookends database is synced through Bookends.
    It works wonderfully in tests and fails miserably in practice after a while. The symptom is either a “manifest file missing” or no message in the log file at all but after a while the number of indexed items is no longer the same and no manual sync will remedy that situation.

  2. Syncing the PDFs through Dropbox or Seafile w/o indexing on computer B
    Syncing the index only can be done by deselecting the box “synchronise content of indexed items”, the database grows in size on the computer B but somehow nothing turns up.
    BTW leaving this box ticked will lead to continuous cycles of updates in DTPO if the content of the folder is kept in sync by other means.

  3. Syncing the PDFs through Dropbox or Seafile w/o indexing on computer B
    …is possible but in that case the PDFs are indexed separately on each computer and as a consequence the annotations are only linked to the PDF on the very computer on which the annotation was created.
    Also, another nondescript server error can crop up.

I have the feeling I must be missing something, option 1 would be my preference and has indeed worked for a while but is too unreliable to be of any use. DTPO is so tight-lipped about what is going on that targeted troubleshooting is impossible.

Any ideas how to make it work?


What kind of WebDAV server do you use?

I am using, newest version with an official SSL certificate. It is rock solid, also for all the other DTPO databases (>10GB), but all the “imported” kind, hence not my problem here.

What kind of setup would you recommend to make DTPO aware of the fact that the PDF is the same on computer A and B?

I’d recommend the first option. If it should fail again, then please choose Help > Report Bug while pressing the Alt modifier key and send the email to cgrunenberg - at - You might also check whether decreasing the number of concurrent connections will improve the reliability.

I got option 1) to work after realising that the problems invariably had to do with including my iPhone in the mix.
It turned out that DTTG needs quite a bit of breathing room, at least after making sure that there were always 5GB or more of free space I never experienced a manifest file missing error after sync. This system has worked really well for almost a year and with it I kept two Macs in sync, i.e. all PDFs are renamed by Bookends that also adds bibliographic information and DTPO is used to search PDFs using its advanced operators, including searching for topically related PDFs. All of this happening on my iMac or Macbook, whichever I happen to sit in front of.
You may well not need such a system but if your work as a researcher depends on it, this is wonderful. Thank you.