OK to index a folder that's syncing via Dropbox ?

Apologies in advance if this has been thrashed out somewhere else. If it has I can’t find it.

Can someone tell me if there’s anything amiss with this scenario:

I place a folder full of files and sub-folders, containing every sort of file, into Dropbox.

I create a DTPO database and use that database just to index this folder with DTPO, merely as a convenient way of viewing its contents.

Dropbox syncs the folder (obviously), and I “Update Indexed Items” when I come to view it in DTPO. I don’t use DTPO’s sync at all.

It looks so simple, there must be a catch. Is there?

Nope, nothing that comes to mind. It should work just fine. Of course, there’s the lag in updating indexed items, smart groups, concordance, etc.


I was thinking of doing it this way because DTPO’s syncing method isn’t automatic upon saving changes, like Dropbox’s is. (That, and I guess I wanted to keep the files in the file system anyway.)

Many thanks.

Sync 2 will sync continuously, for what it’s worth.

Pardon me - “Sync 2” ? You mean the next version of the sync system? When might that be due out?

We have a policy of not announcing dates, since software engineering is notoriously difficult to keep to a schedule. Since most of the problems with Sync 1 have been ironed out, I’ve been working on it full-time for a few weeks and am going as fast as I can. But don’t hold your breath :slight_smile:

Well I can understand that. But I think the first version of the sync was great - except for the fact that it doesn’t have the “clincher” that appears in other sync systems like Dropbox and iCloud - namely, the “sync on save” or “sync on edit” … So if the next version is going to feature that (if I have that notion right) - then it’ll certainly be something worth waiting for !

Great work :slight_smile:

Glad to hear it :slight_smile: Thank you!

Many moons later, still using DTPO as described above, indexing a folder that’s in Dropbox, and I notice that if I move a file in DTPO to a new location, it doesn’t get moved in the Finder. Is that how it’s supposed to be?

If so, I can’t really see the point of being able to “move” it, since it’s not actually being moved at all.

(But if this “sync 2” comes out with an iCloud-like “sync on edit” then I’ll ditch this mode of working for that. If it comes out…)

DEVONthink is not a Finder replacement. It is not mirroring your filesystem. In fact, the “folders” you create in DEVONthink don’t actually exist at all. (Nor do the ones you have in the Finder, truthfully).

Indexed items are a link to a location on your filesystem. As long as the link is valid, ie. the file exists, it doesn’t matter where you move it in DEVONthink.

That wasn’t your original reply last night, was it? It was something like, “many users find that scenario useful”.

Anyway, DT is the nearest thing I can think of to a Finder replacement, but maybe you want to scotch that idea as heresy?

But now in reading the forums more thoroughly I see that others have wished for that mirroring functionality

[url]Feature request: file system only type database]

Or is it “one step beyond”?

So now we have iCloud Drive, I presume I can now have a folder in my iCloud Drive folder, and index it, view & edit the contents, and have edits update across my Macs, in the same way that I do now with Dropbox (as discussed above) ?

But how deeply can you nest folders in iCloud Drive?

Aha - I’ve just seen the post about the iCloud Drive indexing script here


@pvonk - presumably that script was given out with any number of nested folders in mind? Or was it?

PS - I’m not entirely sure why a script is necessary… I just created a database, and with that database open, I used File > Index to index my folder in the iCloud Drive. I suppose the script indexes all user-created folders, but I didn’t want all of them. Seems OK.

So is my method all right, or should I use the script ? Thank you

The script mentioned in Eric’s blog is merely to make the one-time setup easier. If you already have set up indexing manually, or know how to do it, you don’t need the script.

Further to pvonk’s speculation concerning how deeply you can nest folders in iCloud Drive, on my MacBook Pro I made a folder inside the iCloud Drive folder, called “nested folders” and placed a simple TextEdit document inside it. Then inside that folder I made another folder, and put a TextEdit document in that, and so-on up to twelve nested levels.

I then noticed (still on the MacBook Pro) that the “TextEdit” folder in the iCloud Drive folder contained all the documents that I had placed in the nested folders, and their file ‘kind’ is given as ‘alias’.

Going to my iMac about half an hour later, in the iCloud Drive folder, most of the levels of folders are there, along with their documents, - except that the final twelfth nested folder didn’t contain its document. And, on the iMac, the “TextEdit” folder only contained two of the documents/aliases.

So, although nested folders themselves seem to sync, there was a failure, after half an hour or so, to sync the very simple documents inside all of them. And a glitch with the “TextEdit” folder alias file thing as well (not that I was expecting to use that).

Now I know from experience that if that had been Dropbox, everything would have been synced fine, in a matter of a few minutes (whether or not I was using LAN sync).

So, although nested folders per se don’t seem to be a problem, the general syncing doesn’t look promising, at least as compared to Dropbox (unless it was the presence of nested folders that was causing the sync failure).