Moving to Dropbox

I think I can handle moving my main database to dropbox for access to multiple computers, but what about the global inbox? How do I access that once I’ve moved it to DropBox?

The simplest approach is to treat the Global Inbox as it was originally conceived, i.e., as only a temporary holding place for new content that is to then be moved to a permanent residence in a database. That is, move the contents out of the Global Inbox before switching to another computer that’s using DropBox to sync your “regular” databases.

It is possible to move the Global Inbox from its location at ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2/ to your DropBox group, then alias the database “Inbox.dtBase2” back to the location at which DT Pro expects to find it.

But you are likely to run into trouble with that approach initially, as it’s likely that each computer will have different content in the Global Inbox.

NOTE: I always caution that DropBox should be used with especial attention to two points: always PROPERLY CLOSE a database after accessing it on one computer, before accessing it on another computer; and make certain that DrobBox has completed the sync of changes to the database on the second computer, before accessing the database under DT Pro.

It’s probably a good idea, after sync is complete, to “turn off” DropBox while you are working on the database under DT Pro. When finished using DT Pro, Quit the application. Then start up DropBox and allow it to complete the upload of changes before shutting down the computer. Note that data transfers via the “cloud” may be much slower than you are accustomed to seeing on your local computer – if patience is required, be patient!

It would be a good idea after each working session to run Tools > Verify & Repair on the synced database(s), and to backup them using Time Machine/Time Capsule or similar backup utility after closing the database(s), or – prior to quitting DT Pro/Office, run Scrips > Export > Databasse Archive and save the archive to an external device (the Database Archive routine will stop and notify you if it finds a database error, which is a Good Thing, as that prevents one from accumulating already damaged backups).

Our developers are working on a Sync plugin that will enable synchronization within DEVONthink.

Thanks so much for all the great help. This list of security procedures is excellent!


I think I can handle remembering to close the database before exiting the program (although it’s too bad there’s no way to automate this). There’s a preference in the database Properties to make it the default database, and I’ve done that on both machines. Both these two tactics together are helping to keep the database identical on both machines.

I look forward to the day, though, when the program is updated so that both Global InBox and any and all databases can be stored/synced to DropBox.

What’s uncanny is the amount of time it takes for Dropbox to complete the write from DT up to the cloud-located database. On my three-year-old MacBook Pro, it takes about 5-15 seconds to write (size of database is 494 MB); whereas on my new MacBook Air, the write is instantaneous. Both machines are Core Duo, same amount of RAM (4GB), and the Air has a slower processor! Anyway, it’s a great machine I recommend to any and all.

The other change I’ll be making to my workflow is dragging and dropping all items in the Global Inbox to the Database InBox before closing database and then program. That way I’ll have those new items available no matter which machine I’m on.

All open databases are automatically closed when DT is quit; you don’t have to manually close them first.

I’m puzzled by this. I could have sworn that I had gotten into trouble (i.e., getting a message saying that the database is already open the next time I open it) by not closing the individual databases before I quit the program. I don’t want to ask you if you’re sure, because I know you are extremely knowledgeable, but…are you sure???

Maybe I’m misunderstanding how DT defines a database as “open” but I don’t know why/how they could remain that way if the app has been quit normally (i.e. not crashing).

Yes, all open databases are closed when you Quit DEVONthink. But they will not, of course, be properly closed if Force Quit is invoked.