Questions on syncing with Dropbox


I have two questions in regards to syncing the DT database with Dropbox:

1.) I know that the database must not be opened by two or more people at the same time. What about the DT Sorter? Can that be kept open all the time and even be used? Or should that one also be active on one computer at a time?

2.) I have read there are some problems involved with syncing via Dropbox because Dropbox did not support OS X’s ressource forks and things like that. Now Dropbox just released version 0.8.x and now officially support syncing all that metadata and ressource forks. Is it safe to say syncing will now be much safer?

Thank you!

Sorter doesn’t need live access to DT databases - that’s the point.

It’s interesting that the question of Dropbox “safety” comes up in this forum so frequently (this tool is useful for revealing other posts on the topic). Seems to me the place to ask your questions is Dropbox support. Here’s what their lawyers have said (typos are theirs): “Your access to and use of the Site, Content, Files and Services and is at your own risk. Dropbox will have no responsibility for any harm to your computer system, loss or corruption of data, or other harm that results from your access to or use of the Site, Content, Files or Services.” ( Dropbox Terms)

It’s a cloud you don’t control. It can vanish in an instant. Or be corrupted by an attack. Or lose its funding and shut down. Or… Or… Or… To get “safe” cross-machine sharing, buy your own cloud and manage it. So, regardless of the opinion of anyone here (including this curmudgeon :wink: ), Dropbox syncing will always be experimental and therefore unsafe.

You are probably right with what you are saying, but it doesn’t exactly answer my question :slight_smile: Except for the Sorter part. Thanks!

Unfortunately, for as long as Devon resist to implement multiuser functionality, people who are not working alone but need to collaborate have to find workarounds for Devon’s ignorance.

To me, the only possible workaround is Dropbox.

Multiuser functionality will likely appear in a future version of DEVONthink. But to maintain data integrity and security during simultaneous access by multiple users, as well as to provide levels of access control, means that a true multiuser version will be much more complex than a single-user version. And therefore costlier, perhaps out of the price range of ‘consumer’ software.

Don’t confuse multiuser database functionality, though, with a) other means of making information on one computer available to other people, nearby or anywhere in the world or b) means by which a database owner can migrate information among more than one device, including mobile devices.

a) The Server mode of DT Pro Office already allows multiple remote users to browse, search and download files from a database and to upload notes and files to a database, via a Web browser.

b) DEVONtechnologies is working on means to make it easier and somewhat less risky for a user to migrate databases among the user’s other computers via the ‘cloud’. (Comment: but if you believe that the current state of ‘cloud’ computing technology is risk-free, I will be happy to offer you an attractive price for the Brooklyn Bridge.) And expect to see some exciting news about sharing information in your Mac’s DT database(s) with your iPhone and/or iPad so that you can take important information with you when you go mobile, then synch new information from your mobile device back to your Mac when you return.

Bill, that’s all nice, but none of that is true multiuser.

The server mode is nice, but you can’t make modifications through it, so that’s by no means multiuser.

I understand the complexity of the issue and I appreciate that it won’t be an easy task to do and I can see it will cost money.

But maybe that’s something Devon should consider. Have a consumer version (the current one), and an enterprise version, for which you can charge more money. I for one would be willing to spend much more than what I payed for DT if the solution is truly enterprise ready and comes with the proper support. And I feel I am not alone with this. Because Macs are making their ways into enterprises more and more as we speak, and there simply is no good document management solution out there for the Mac. DT could be that.

Anyways. I guess it doesn’t help bitching around, I will just have to wait and see what you guys come up with and work around the issue the best way I can until then.

@ cryptochrome

You might be amused at my response to letting multiple users access databases. See viewtopic.php?f=7&t=10193&p=48342#p48342

From my perspective, I do not need multiple users using the same database at the same time. My goal is to have one user use one computer at a time, but make sure that it is kept in sync between uses.

This is a handy use case currently supported by a number of Mac apps, for example Omnifocus, Yojimbo, 1password, etc. I have been using Unison to keep my databases in sync across computers, and am experimenting with Portable Home Directories in OS X Server to see if it can do the same thing. I believe most of the people who use drop box (which does a background sync with a server across computers) would be interested in this as well.

This is somewhat simpler than the full multiuser case. For instance, I would accept a simple conflict resolution model where if the server and client DB conflicted, you’d have to pick one.

Cryptochrome, personal advice:“Don’t do it!”

We lost database within first 3 days of usage after being located in Dropbox and used once or twice on other Mac. We have about 120 documents gone forever since we promptly shredded the papers.
I am still using Dropbox every day. it works perfectly with my spreadsheet price lists and all kinds of Word documents, PDFs and you name it. Everything but DT.