DT on two different Computers


I am writing from Germany and I like DT very much. It is possible to use this software on to different computer (MacBook and iMac in my office) with the same database?

Currently I use SOHO Notes, which has the ability two sync two computer.

Thank you your help.



Hi Mirco,

My main task at DEVON since I was hired in August has been working on a synchronization plugin. It’s actually functional at the moment—not ready for primetime just yet, but it copies the stuff in your databases around like a champ :slight_smile:

I can’t give you an ETA on its release at the moment, unfortunately, but the good news is that this is my top priority, and progress is great.


Hi Rob,

Interested to learn more about this topic. I am currently using DT on multiple computers using dropbox. In order to prevent issues i have automated the quitting of DT on both my personal and work computer so they never run at the same time.

I really hope you can come up with a more graceful solution :wink: And ideally it based on dropbox cloud storage. More and more services that have an improved user experience with centralized storage are using dropbox. They have an API to make it easy for developers :wink: Check out the 1Pasword/dropbox combo for a nice example!

Hope to hear back from you,

I guess I’ll toss my two cents in here. I hope you’re developing an option to sync without using “the cloud”. I don’t like putting my personal info out there to be mined on a server outside my control. I have my own servers. I can run WebDAV or any other service. For a nice example take a look at OmniFocus. :wink:

Don’t worry, a cloud won’t be necessary.

Hmm peer to peer syncing is not going to be easy for the average user. It will not be reliable enough to run a dependable service if you ask me!

Ans as for webDAv i am sorry to say that but not everybody can run there own private server and want to go through the hassle of setting up a webDAV environment. As for Omnifocus: I use it with MobileMe at the moment :wink: and i think dropbox support is on the way as is an omnifocus cloud (but that is also somebody elses server).

To make it easily usable for a lot of users, you need a cloud and then let the users decide wether they want to put their information there not!


I completely agree that running your own server is not for everybody. The nice thing about the OmniFocus approach is that they’re giving people a choice.

I don’t mean any offense, but a lot of users across the net are giving vendors grief about how easy syncing would if they only used Dropbox (go take a look at the recent Things blog entries about syncing). IMO most of those people are ignorant to the complexities of syncing and don’t understand the difference between file level syncing that Dropbox provides and record level syncing that is needed when databases can be accessed from multiple locations. It’s just not the same thing.

1Password uses Dropbox so well because they recently redesigned their data architecture from scratch with syncing and Time Machine style backups in mind. That conversion was no small task but it’s certainly paying dividends now. But if you look at their files, it’s not really a database at all in the traditional sense. It’s just a bunch of small flat files that easily fits within the Dropbox model.

DEVONthink has an odd combination of regular data files that could perhaps be kept in Dropbox, and a database of metadata that doesn’t easily support concurrent access. I’m sure they’ll figure out something workable. It might even involve Dropbox to some extent but somehow I don’t think that would be the most reliable path.

Caveat: Nothing is certain when it comes to development plans and schedules! That said, we’re planning on supporting direct connections (peer to peer), WebDAV, arbitrary local filesystems (for example a folder on an AFP share), and Dropbox. Other options are on the table for later, so I won’t talk about them just yet.

In short, we want to make it as simple as possible for you to move your data around from place to place.

As to the reliability of direct connections, I think you’ll find it quite reliable on a LAN. It ought to work just fine across the internet as well (and you can be sure we’ll be testing that), modulo difficulties with routers, firewalls, and the like. I’ll do what I can to alleviate said difficulties, though; the underlying networking code already supports UPnP and NAT-PMP, which should help.

And now back to coding :slight_smile:

EDIT: Just wanted to thank you all for the input. I can’t overstate the importance of good feedback on our approach, since you’re the ones who need it to work right at the end of the day; input like this really helps guide development to make sure we’re solving the right problems.

As noted above, ‘cloud’ will be available.

But if you had my ISP, you would reject cloud transfers for quality assurance reasons. :slight_smile:

What I personally need is stable Time Machine backups of the open and running DT databases on my Mac and seamless simple automatic wifi sync with DTTG of entire databases with DTTG as long as I am on the same wifi net just like I have with Omnifocus.

I am also very cloud adverse but also don’t want to run my own server so the Omnifocus model is perfect for me with the options it gives.

Edited to add the sync with DTTG better work with multiple iPhone, iPod and iPad devices all using the same database, so I might only carry an iPod some days but others may have an iPad and I want the same data on both devices synced with my Mac. If Sprint ever gets the iPhone that would replace the iPod but not the iPad.

I’d just like to add my voice to those eagerly awaiting a way to syncronize DTPO across two computers. I use a desktop iMac at the office and a MacBook Pro at home or in the classroom (I’m a university professor), both running Dropbox. Right now it’s just for my Scrivener backups, which I extract onto my local desktop for work and then save the backups to the cloud. In other words, I’m never using both at the same time. Looking forward to doing the same with my DT database, now nearly 15 Gb and growing fast.


So I store my DTPO databases in a subfolder on Dropbox called “Devon Databases.” Accessing with two different machines, home and office. Some databases seem to mirror quite well, but my main Db does not.

Here’s the workflow.

  1. I scan dox on a Fuji Scansnap. The scans themselves are auto-filed in a dedicated scan folder (not a DTPO database folder) on Dropbox. So far, no problem.

  2. As part of the Fuji Scansnap scanning process, they are then auto-imported into an Inbox on the DTPO database in the Dropbox on my office machine. All is good. The doc is in the scan folder and the pdf image is in the DTPO database inbox.

  3. I then am careful to exit the office Db before I go home.

  4. But when I open the database at home, none of the scan images are in the DTPO database at all, and there is no inbox in the finder panel. (I have installed Global Inbox from Install Add-ons.) All of the scans themselves are safely stored in the Dropbox scan folder, just not in the DTPO Db. Or so it seems.

  5. Wrinkle: I created another control/test Db on the office machine, which is stored in the same Dropbox database folder where I store the main Db. While at the office, I imported a document folder into that test Db just to see how it would work. Works great. Complete database both opens and mirrors in both machines.

Is there something about the process of scanning and importing that I’m doing wrong?

Thanks in advance.

You understand that the global inbox isn’t part of the database you are working with? Its actually a searate database that won’t be in Dropbox. Only when you move the files into a folder in the database you are working with will it appear in the Dropbox files.

It might also be that you haven’t allowed Dropbox enough time to sync the files. That might happen if you don’t leave both computers on and connected to the Internet all of the time.

That’s all I can think of off hand.

Good luck,

Tom S.

No I did’t know that but that would explain it. Thank you.

Is there a way to mirror the inbox then? I load stuff in there by the boatload and it would be nice to divert to a DB at home rather than having to stay at the office to do that scut work.

Personally I make it a habit to move everything from the Global Inbox to the Inbox in my database before closing out for the day every day. But I’m guessing you know that was possible. :slight_smile:

YOur global inbox database is located in the “Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2” folder in your home directory. You need to access the Library folder in Lion by going to the “Go” menu, then holding down the “Option” key". I have not tried this but I assume you can move that database into your Dropbox folder structure, then put an alias to the newly moved file in the “Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2” folder. You’ll obviously need to do this on each computer.

Maybe worth a try. Good luck.

Tom S.

Well, I didn’t really get that initially, but after I posted my last inquiry it occurred to me that that may be the best approach.

I think my confusion has stemmed from not really groking the global inbox concept. Thanks for the hand.

Well, it’s a year later, a new year, and there is still no sign of the promised cloud sync solution. It’s sad, as DT is a great product, but the lack of sync is killing me. I’ve held out for over half a year waiting for this feature, but it’s time to throw in the towel and look at other options (Evernote being the most obvious, though I lose a lot of DT features of course, though I think EN has far better tagging than DT).


oHw do you manage large document databases in EN?

I don’t … for me DT is primarily a way to store work-in-progress which includes notes, document drafts, bookmarks etc etc. It’s primary advantage is in keeping all that work in one place. After I’m done the final documents etc live outside DT since I need to keep them in version control.

Now, to be blunt, the combination of the newer Finder features (quicklook, spotlight etc) nearly meets all my needs, and is significantly faster than waiting for DT to open every time I need to start work. All I’m really missing is a good fast way to keep notes on a project, and EN can provide this I feel. Yes, it’s not as nice as the DT “all in one place” but I can work-around this.

The point is, both DT and EN force work-arounds in my workflow. In the case of EN I have to keep notes in one place, documents in another, but can get access to all my work from any computer (via EN cloud and Dropbox for documents). With DT I get the cleanness of all my stuff in one place, but no sync between computers. This is the killer for me, and is what is forcing me to look at alternates to DT (which I have been using since the day it was released).

Don’t get me wrong, I really like DT, but the ongoing lack of sync is killing me productivity-wise. I’d love to know that DT sync is coming in (say) 2-3 months, in which case I’d stick with DT. But so far all we’ve heard from DT is vague noise about a Dropbox based sync that after nearly a year has yet to appear.


Thank you for that. I’m new to DT, and I’m not sure it does what I need. I’ve been looking for reasons to love it, and I’m starting to think I’m late to the party. I maintain version control by dating drafts and storing in a “Draft” folder on Dropbox.

What I like about DT is the scan and index and search functions.

As for Spotlight, I can’t seem to make it work the way I want to. It seems to offer hints and tastes of what I’m looking for, and the inability to get complete file path info is frustrating.