Prevent syncing of indexed items that are otherwise synced

Sorry if I am asking an obvious question but how do can I index a folder with documents that are kept in sync already (say a Webdav folder)?
I only want Devonthink to keep the database in sync, not the documents themselves. First of all, the documents are already present on all computers so this is not necessary and second, the size of the database and the transfer becomes very large. Thirdly, the documents are synced and “owned” by another program that might stumble.

If I just select the folder and index it, Devonthink also transfers the indexed documents and I don’t see how to stop that.

Indexing does not transfer or move documents anywhere. They are not moved into the database. Indexing merely examines the file, gathers a concordance (kept separately from the files), and certain file attributes (name, tags, dates, etc.)

Indexing itself does not synchronize the documents but synchronizing a database of indexed documents does, that’s what I tried to state above. Often times this is very convenient but in this particular instance I need to control this behavior.
To be sure: I want to synchronize the DTPO database among two computers but the documents themselves must not be synchronized (at least not by DTPO)

Ah. “Sync” has too many meanings in DEVONland. It’s not always obvious from the context.

What are your settings in Preferences > Sync for that sync store?

I have all those boxes checked.

I am still not sure if we are talking about the same thing but since it was a new discovery for me, I will repeat it here hoping it is helpful for some.

I am talking about the synchronization of the actual documents that sit outside the actual DTPO database and are only indexed, not imported. DTPO will read and write in the indexed folder in the file system if that is present on the second computer.

These actual documents will be transferred to the syncstore and will reappear on the second computer if DTPO is instructed to sync the database (and only the database). A side effect of making the indexed contents available on a second computer is that the documents in the file system will be transferred along with their index inside the DTPO database.
So I am quite literally talking about the synchronization of the documents themselves, not something different that just happens to be also called synchronization.

My apologies if the above sounds repetitive but I wanted to make sure we are talking about the same thing. Are we?

After a bit of experimentation I think I can answer my own question.
There is no switch or setting that will prevent DTPO from syncing indexed items when the database is synced between computers. DTPO will simply look if the indexed folder is present and populated with the correct documents)on the second computer and if so, will sync the database with the index. If not, DTPO will sync the indexed items.

  1. imported database, i.e. documents inside the database:
    syncing the database will sync the documents, too

  2. indexed database, documents outside the DTPO database somewhere in the Finder
    syncing the DTPO database will …

a) if the folder that contains the indexed documents on computer A also exists on computer B
-> DTPO will quietly compare if the index that fits perfectly to the folder on A will also fit to B

b) if that folder is present on B but does not contain the same documents DTPO will copy the documents from A to the syncstore and from there to the folder on computer B.

c) if the indexed folder on A is not present on B
not tested b/c not interested

I was surprised about 2b and the fact that DTPO would write to the filesystem outside the DTPO database but it makes perfect sense. Apparently DTPO does not care if the perfect fit has been created by its own actions or by a synchronisation accomplished by some other means.

The situation is a bit different for Devonthink to go 2 (DTTG2):
3a) without the Premium Pack all documents will be copied to the iOS device along with the index and so the situation is much like 2b

3b) with the Premium Pack only the index but not the documents will be copied to the device if you so choose and you’ll be given the option to download the document on demand.
I am not sure if that behaviour can be replicated on two Macs (perhaps 2c)

None of this happens of course when the database stays local, i.e. is not shared through DTPO between computers.

Hope this helps

Perhaps this thread is relevant

the “hidden preference” to “Disable Automatic Updating of Indexed Items” is available in Help > DEVONthink Pro Office Help > Documentation > Appendix > Hidden Preferences

Before using Hidden Preferences of any sort, it is a good idea to open a ticket directly with Support (here or here or support_at_devontechnologies_dot_com), and confirm that the preference change addresses your personal situation.