Hi, Jerry. You didn’t say what file types you were editing, or how you opened or saved them. That can be important, especially for MS Word files.
Word .doc files captured by Import are the only file type that isn’t physically copied into the database. Only the rich text content of a .doc file is captured, and that will lack images and some formatting features of the original. But the actual .doc file remains external to the database and the database document links (but without synchronization) to the external file.
If your only purpose is to capture the text of the .doc file into your database for searching and analysis, that’s OK. But if you need to edit or print the original Word document, you can run into problems.
The first problem is that if the external Word .doc file is either deleted or is moved to a different volume, the link Path to the file from your database will be broken, so that you can no longer open the external file to edit or print it.
The second problem is that if you use ‘Open With’ to edit a text, HTML, WebArchive, XML or similar text-based document – including the rich text representation of a .doc file – the file will be opened under the chosen application and if ‘Save’ is invoked, the document will appear to be saved. But in fact the ‘Save’ operation will only save to a temporary cache file, and the edit results will not be available in your database, nor will they be available in the Finder where – in the case of a .doc file – you might expect. To avoid that problem, use ‘Save As’ and choose the destination of the edited file in the Finder. For .doc files, if you invoke ‘Launch Path’ the actual external .doc file will be opened under MS Word and after editing the file you can safely use the ‘Save’ command.
Note that the ‘Open With’ command causes a similar result of saving to a temporary cache file for all the text-based file types mentioned above, as these file types are stored in the ‘body’ of the database in a format that’s not readable by the Finder. But those file types stored in the Files folder inside the database package file, e.g. PDF, postscript, image, QuickTime media and ‘unknown’ file types do not suffer from this problem. Note that when version 2.0 is released, all file types will be stored in the Finder, so these complications based on file type will be eliminated.
The third problem is that in the Import mode there’s no synchronization from the edited .doc file to the content of your database. So if you wish the results of editing a Word file to be reflected in your database, you will need to re-import it to the database. Note: this problem will also be eliminated in version 2.0.
So, especially for Word .doc files that you may wish to edit frequently, it’s probably best to capture them using the Index mode. Index-captured files cannot be directly edited by the text-editing tools in DT Pro, but edit changes made to the external .doc file have one-way synchronization from the external file to the database content. Therefore, it’s not necessary to recapture the edited external Word file.
I hope these comments can be helpful in solving that issue.
But there may be another issue in how you are doing backups. If you export to a folder in the Finder, DT Pro will save the selected groups and files to that folder. But DT Pro also places another file in that folder, DEVONtech_storage, that contains metadata about the exported material, including creation and modification dates, comments and so on. If you repeatedly add additional exported items into that same folder, I suspect this could cause overwriting of the DEVONtech_storage file(s) and cause loss of metadata.
One of the virtues of DT Pro is that you can always export your data to the Finder using File > Export > Files & Folders, so you are not ‘trapped’ into your DT database. But I would be wary of repeatedly (additively) exporting into the same folder.
Cautionary note: One can make a Finder copy of a database, or a zipped archive copy of a database in the Finder. But it’s strongly recommended that the database is closed whenever such a copy is made. Otherwise, errors can creep into the copy, as some data may still be in RAM. I extend that recommendation to use of backup software for backing up one’s computer or Home directory to an external drive. It’s safest if any open DT database is closed at the time the backup is run. I feel the same way about open files under many other applications, as well.
For routine external backups I prefer using DT Pro Scripts > Export > Backup Archive. This routine will check for and correct any minor errors in the database (so it’s a good QA routine), optimize the database to reduce memory footprint and file size, and produce current internal and external backups. That external backup is the smallest possible compressed and dated file, that can be saved to a location of your choice, including a mounted external drive.
During a day when I’m making significant changes to the content or organization of my database, I may run Backup Archive whenever I take a break. When I return from break the database is ready to go – QA’d, optimized and with current backups.