Puzzled about synchronization

I have been away from DevonThink for a while. I’ve just been experimenting with synchronizing an indexed database with the corresponding folder in my file system.

With a DevonThink group selected, when I executed the File > Synchronize command the group disappears from the database. I was worried that the corresponding folder had been deleted from the file system. I was reassured to find that that’s not happening.

What am I not understanding about synchronization of databases with underlying files in the file system?

While I’m at it, though it might be another topic, are changes to an indexed item in DevonThink reflected in the corresponding item in the file system, i.e., are they carried out to it as well?


Folders do not normally disappear from DT upon synchronization, unless the folder no longer exists in Finder or was moved (or see the next paragraph). When it “disappears from the datatabase”, is the folder in your DT Trash? Have you attempted to re-index the folder again?

One other occurrence can make something disappear. Let’s say you index a folder that contains three documents, A, B, and C. If you “delete” the B document in DT the indexed instance will go to the Trash, then you empty the trash. You’ll see this dialog:

If you click “Only in database” that document will not be deleted from your Finder folder. If you click “FIles & Folders” the document will be deleted from your Finder folder. As long as the document remains in the trash, it won’t appear in your database on subsequent synchronizations.

Perhaps some other series of unfortunate keystrokes resulted in your Folder inadvertently being deleted or moved in DT?

I assume you mean edits? Yes. Edits are saved in the original file in the file system.

First, korm, thanks for the thoughtful response.

Given your explanation of what happens when a document is deleted from an indexed database, it appears the missing groups and files were not in the trash, as I was not presented with that dialogue when I emptied the trash.

I did re-index the database and the result was identical to the original. The groups that had been deleted were still missing. Underlying folders that had been renamed in the file system had the old name. I ended up recreating the database and trashing the old one. The new one corresponds exactly to the structure of the file system.

I was caught off-guard the first time it happened. Wasn’t sure I saw what I thought I saw. After reassuring myself that the folder had not been deleted from the file system, I tried a few more “synchronizations,” being careful to note what I was doing and the result. All I can say is what I said originally: With an item selected in the database, when the synchronize command is executed, the item disappears from the database.

It may be that I had made changes in the underlying system, e.g., to folders and documents, prior to the synchronize attempt. But that would not explain what happened because the items that got deleted when I tried the synchronize command did exist in the file system.

One thing I didn’t mention. After each synchronization/delete a log appeared listing every item that was deleted. Deletes from all the synchronizations seemed to be accumulating in the log. I saved, but it appears that what got saved was the system log, which contains an item only for the first synchronize/delete.

Yes, I was asking about edits. And I’m relieved to know they are saved in the original. [Just to double check, that is the case in an indexed database?]

One further check of my understanding: Changes to an underlying file structure made outside DT do not carry over to the corresponding indexed database? That is what the synchronize command is for: to incorporate changes made outside DT into the corresponding database?