How often is "automatic" sync supposed to occur?

How often is “automatic” sync to Dropbox supposed to occur? I added a pdf to my DT Pro database, and I checked at intervals for several minutes in DT To Go, refreshing, but the document wouldn’t show up. I finally had to resort to manually invoking sync in DT Pro (File > Synchronize).

We shouldn’t have to do this, should we?

Sync runs on an interval - between 30 seconds and almost 5 minutes.

Here is a bit of advice for you: Don’t sit and watch Sync. In the normal course of a day, no one has time to sit around watching to see if Syncs are happening or not. We have work to do. As you work, you will go from machine to machine, and you should normally just find the changes are there. And if you need something to Sync now, you can manually refresh it. Trust me. I did the same thing at first. Once I broke myself of the habit, i was always pleasantly surprised when I saw, “Hey, there’s that file I just made on the other Mac!"

If you need something to Sync sooner, then do it manually.

Here’s a bit of advice to you: try to imagine that customers’ needs and habits aren’t necessarily your own. I wasn’t just sitting around to watch sync. I had a file on my Mac that I wanted to reside in my DT database on my iPhone, so I put it in DTP Pro on my Mac; then I was in a hurry to get out the door and wanted to make sure that it was on my iPhone. I kept checking because I was in a hurry.

Your scenario was covered by Jim’s comment: If in a hurry, trigger a manual Sync. :slight_smile:

Yes, and no. Should the user adapt to the sync schedule, or should the sync adapt to the user?

To my mind, if I have to manually invoke sync, that’s a fail (and I could forget). 30 seconds to 5 minutes seems much too long (and wide) an interval. Specifically, I don’t encounter this problem with DT’s big competitor, Evernote, which I believe syncs within 3 seconds of a database change. Frankly, I’m not aware of this being a problem with other programs that rely on sync services. DT is quite a latecomer to cloud sync – I’m hoping that this can be improved. Why would it be a problem to shorten the sync wait?

I don’t use Evernote of course :slight_smile: but according to its preferences it’s synchronizing like this:

And what do you think that means, Christian? Shortcuts are just links to frequently-used notes, so that you can access them from the sidebar. There can be up to 5. It doesn’t mean that syncing is somehow cutting corners …

I was going to write something like this earlier, but now it seems even more urgent. I used to use DT frequently several years ago, but then I stopped using it because there wasn’t a viable iOS version (and DT wasn’t cloud-friendly). I had also heard on a podcast that these forums are supposed to be particularly helpful.

Since I posted my initial query about synching, I’ve received nothing but condescension and defensive replies. Never once has someone written to say, “maybe we need to take a look at what is triggering automatic sync and see if we can make it faster.”

Needless to say, I’m discouraged.

DTP is far from a perfect program. A prominent developer tweeted me recently about DTP, “now maybe a UI refresh?”

The web clipper is a joke in that the only way it appears to capture a static representation of a page is as a pdf.

When DTP imports from Evernote, it sets the URL to be a link to the original Evernote note, instead of copying over the URL contained in the original note.

Please look at the entirety of the screencap posted. He’s pointing out that Evernote has the same essential Sync intervals as DEVONthink.

PS: You are more than welcome to your opinions on our software (and on a side note: “Christian” is our CTO / Lead Developer). Evernote is far from perfect as well, but if it suits yours needs, that’s okay too.
However, if you’d care to be more constructive in your suggestions instead of referring to things as “a joke” (especially when it suffices for thousands of people daily), it may be more helpful. Thanks.


This is by majority User request, not a shortcoming of the import. The majority wanted to use both apps simultaneously linking between the two.

Here are my constructive criticisms about the web clipper. I tried clipping this URL with the DT web clipper in Google’s Chrome browser …

  1. Web Archive
  2. HTML
  3. Formatted Note

Neither 1) nor 2) are editable (a useful feature for removing some inevitable formatting issues), and in fact they appear to require internet access to display properly. What is the point of that? Why can’t DT clip pages into web archive and HTML format in such a way that internet access isn’t required?

Frankly, for my purposes, the DT web clipper is a fail, at least as compared to Evernote’s.

I think this topic might belong in a different thread, since its about clipping vs. the original subject. Just saying.

Anyway. First, I agree Formatted Note isn’s a great clipping format for web pages. I’m not sure it was ever meant to be, but I also avoid it.

Web Archives are an Apple-specified format, and DEVONthink is using Apple’s libraries to create them. So, failures in the format are Apple’s. They are not comparable to what Evernote does in it’s own proprietary web clipping method. If you look at the clipped page in your Evernote database, vs. looking at the code in a clipped Web Archive, they are nothing at all similar.

By the way, the way to view (and edit) the code for Web Archives and HTML documents in DEVONthink is to choose View > Text Alternative. The way to find the source for your Evernote notes and clippings is to open Evernote > About Evernote…, press the Option key and click the “open database” link. Navigate to the Content folder and find the UUID of the note you want to investigate. (Evernote makes it very difficult to find source code for its notes. At least DEVONthink uses standards and makes the source immediately available.)

The key difference between DEVONthink with Web Archives and HTML and Evernote notes, is that Evernote replaces references to external content on the internet with links to the note inside that Content directory I mentioned. Whereas the Web Archives and HTML standards that DEVONthink uses do not. This makes Web Archives and HTML in DEVONthink a faithful copy of the original source page. (Limited by gatekeeper limitations on cookies and some other technical factors.) This is also why at times Web Archives and HTML seek internet access – because the format allows things like dynamic advertising banners to persist inside the Web Archive or HTML content.

(Whereas Evernote spoofs a way around this – links to external content in Evernote’s proprietary representation of your clipped web page are active, but they are not actually external links inside the Evernote database – Evernote just makes them look like external links when you view the note. But that’s getting a bit off topic.)

So – bottom line on your question. DEVONthink uses standards to clip documents from the web. Evernote uses a proprietary format. For portability and long-term reliability, you should always prefer standards to proprietary formats. (That’s an opinion.) Apple’s Web Archive standard does not permit removal of external links, and so sometimes the content will look for internet access. HTML is merely a copy of the page in the browser. You can use View > Text Alternative and edit either one. I recommend editing a copy so inadvertent damage to the original clipping does not occur.

Single vs. paginated PDF clipping is just a matter of personal preference. Over here, I prefer unpaginated because (a) I don’t print these PDFs so I don’t need page breaks, and (b) the website that breaks nicely across page boundaries is rare. Paginated PDFs invariably leave one with a mess of things breaking ugly across artificial page boundaries.

Hope this helps. Yes, these are constructive questions. Thanks for asking!

Web archives support WYSIWYG editing.

That’s what I thought as well, but it wasn’t working for me at the time – now it is! :smiley: