Setting up syncing - best way?

I have been running DTP on my laptop for about 6 months. I started syncing it with my iPhone a few months ago and that works well-enough (I don’t really use it on my phone other than to have access to things that I’ve filed). The sync is through iCloud.

This week I got a new iMac. So I want to run DTP there and sync it to my laptop. I installed it and set up syncing – as best as I could figure out. And they were syncing (I saw changes in one place happen in the other). But on both systems DTP would periodically crash … first on one then a while later on the other then a while later on the first… Throughout the day.

So I have complete de-installed DTP on the new system (and let Hazel clean up all the prefs, etc.) and want to start from scratch. What’s the best way? As a note – I use iCloud for the syncing to my phone but I do have fast peer-peer syncing for several folders between all of the systems (Resilio) and I don’t know if there is a better/faster way to sync (iCloud seems a bit slow).

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

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There is no best way. Here are some details…

Works with DTTG Pros Cons
Bonjour Yes • Fast, private, generally reliable
• Direct machine-to-machine syncing with no intermediary
• Requires devices to be on and our app(s) to be running
• Only works on LANs permitting Bonjour or non-standard port traffic. Does not work over VPNs.
• Firewalls must allow exceptions for DEVONthink traffic
Local Sync Store No • Very fast and private
• Can be located on an external drive or a shared resource, like an NAS
• Doesn’t require other Macs to be on. They can sync when they’re on and running DEVONthink.
Only for Mac-to-Mac syncing
• Requires access to the volume or machine where the sync store is locaterd.
Dropbox Yes • Generally reliable
• Direct sync with Dropbox servers
• Any cloud service can have slow/unresponsive servers, limit maximum connections, and throttle bandwidth.
• Questions of privacy, but can be offset using an encryption key.
iCloud Yes • Generally reliable
• Easiest to set up
• This is a two-stage sync: syncing locally first then iCloud does its own syncing.
• iCloud can stall (which is beyond our control or detection).
See Dropbox Cons.
WebDAV Yes • No inherent advantage, but may make other cloud services available to syncing
• May be hosted locally, even with some NAS products.
• The reliability of a local setup may vary.
• Local servers / NAS devices may require more technical expertise to set up.
• If using a public cloud service, see Dropbox Cons.
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Thanks… a couple of questions:

  1. Are there instructions for each of these different methods in manual? (I could probably find this out for myself but since I have your attention… :smiley:

  2. I assume there is no mixed-mode way to use it (i.e. Local Sync Store for Mac-mac and iCloud for phone)?

  1. There are not procedural, ie. 1-2-3 steps for each, but there are some instructions in the help. Except for having to authenticate Dropbox, when you enable a sync location it’s very simple and pretty obvious what to do.
  2. I don’t know why you’d assume that, but (as with many assumptions) it’s incorrect. :stuck_out_tongue: You certainly can set up multiple sync methods.
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My dad told me never to make assumptions … I guess he was right.

Thanks
/lss

My dad told me to never put anything in my ear, except elbows and oranges. :thinking:

(True story… and his dad told him the same.) :stuck_out_tongue:

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I assumed you had to choose one method too, and figured out the difference last year.

Might be worth adding a note to documentation on the subject.

My Synology NAS box had a WebDAV server as an installable option, so I installed that and set it up with DTPro on two Macs and the iOS app on two devices. Sync is encrypted end to end, and has been totally reliable. It even works from away from home as long as the router has the HTTPS port open and you set up some sort of DNS entry to point to your system.

I am still completely confused about how to set up sync … having stared at the manual and the sync prefs for a while.

On my original system, DTP put the databases in a Folder inside my Documents Folder. (I don’t remember if that was my choice or its choice). I have the whole Documents Folder sync’d to my Synology NAS using their Cloud Station. When I got my new Mac I sync;d it to the same folder. So the full Documents Folder (including the DTP database) now lives in all 3 places (2 MACs and NAS).

Do I set up Direct Sync, Sync Store, or something else?

On my original system, DTP put the databases in a Folder inside my Documents Folder. (I don’t remember if that was my choice or its choice)

Yours. Except for the Global Inbox, DEVONthink doesn’t create databases for you.

I have the whole Documents Folder sync’d to my Synology NAS using their Cloud Station.

This is potentially not data-safe. If this is not a snapshot-style process, I would suggest you stop doing this. Actually, I would highly suggest you move the databases to a folder outside the Documents folder. We advocvate a folder in your Home directory, like ~/Databases.

Do I set up Direct Sync, Sync Store, or something else?

That’s up to you. You need to define things further, like what does “2 Macs” mean?

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  1. Moving the folder out of the sync’d folder is fine. Is there a process for doing this so that DTP will find it again?

  2. Sorry if I was unclear about “2 MACs”… I have had DTP on a laptop since I started using it. I recently got an iMac… hence I now have 2 MACs.

  3. So if I move the DTP folder up a level so it is not sync’d to my second Mac, I could then create a sync store on the NAS then have the new MAC import from the sync store?

1. Moving the folder out of the sync’d folder is fine. Is there a process for doing this so that DTP will find it again?

Just close the database. Move it in the Finder and double-click it to open it again.

2. Sorry if I was unclear about “2 MACs”… I have had DTP on a laptop since I started using it. I recently got an iMac… hence I now have 2 MACs.

Got it.

3. So if I move the DTP folder up a level so it is not sync’d to my second Mac, I could then create a sync store on the NAS then have the new MAC import from the sync store?

Yes, that’s certainly one possibility, or…

  • You could also make a Bonjour connection with one Mac acting as the server for the databases. This would be for local network syncing.

  • You could also use a Dropbox or iCloud sync location if you needed to sync the machines if you were roaming around with the laptop outside your network.
    (PS: I emphasize need as I’m personally not an advocate of using a remote sync just because you can.)

  • You (likely) could also set up WebDAV on the NAS and use that for syncing in-house. Off the network is likely also possible but you’d have to refer to the NAS documentation about that.

OK! Got it all working.
Thanks for talking me through it.

One small anomaly. After I moved the databases up to a folder at ~ , I opened them all and things were fine … except … in one of my databases I had several indexed files and the DTP log came up showing them as “missing”. Is this to be expected? It is only a half dozen files or so, so I can re-index them unless there is a “mechanical” method for doing that.

You’re welcome!

Moving the databases should have no effect on indexed files. As long as they are in the same location, they should be found. However, you can move the to the database’s Trash, empty the Trash, and re-index them.

Just to confirm: It’s OK to sync to BOTH Dropbox and iCloud?

Are there any gotchas or problems I should watch out for?

Hard to type with my elbow in one ear and an orange in another but I’m working on it.

:stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, it’s okay to do - though personally, I would opt for one over the other unless I had a collaborative need. (And speaking personally, I would opt for Dropbox if I had to use a public service. Speaking more personally, I don’t use any commercial services for my syncing outside of work syncing for support.)

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Thanks!

Why choose just one? I’m thinking two = redundancy for backup. More copies are better to avoid data loss. Am I wrong there?

Why do you recommend Dropbox over iCloud?

Do you use a private WebDAV server rather than a public cloud?

  1. sync is not backup because losses and errors get synced along with the good stuff.
  2. syncing is not without risk, and syncing to 2 places could actually increase, rather than decrease risk.

I would say syncing over two systems should only be done if necessary for some kind of collaboration, siloing of data (business over Dropbox, personal over iCloud), or overcoming some kind of storage limits.

Syncing over two systems should not be done as a means to better-protect, preserve, or backup data because it’s not actually going to accomplish that and may actually (if marginally) increase risk.

In other words, I wouldn’t sync to two services just for the sake of it.

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I’m thinking two = redundancy for backup. More copies are better to avoid data loss. Am I wrong there?

I agree with @scottlougheed’s comments.
I am notorious for this little saw (the gist now included in our FAQ): Sync is not a backup, neither advertised nor advocated as such.

We strongly advocate proper primary backups using TimeMachine (or similar snapshot-style backup applications) and external drives. Also, you should read the recent series of articles we posted: https://www.devontechnologies.com/search?q=backups&from=blog

Why do you recommend Dropbox over iCloud?

Only because it’s a one-stage sync, directly to Dropbox’s servers. It doesn’t even use the Dropbox application on your Mac. When sync activity is done in DEVONthink, the data is on their servers.

iCloud is a two-stage sync, syncing locally then iCloud does it’s own syncing on its own schedule. While it generally behaves as intended, it’s a process outside our control.

Do you use a private WebDAV server rather than a public cloud?

In-house, yes. I run a Mac Mini and macOS Server (the version before Apple decided to neuter it and remove WebDAV).

I have three Macs and three iOS devices that use it with few issues (as nothing is perfect, but the issues are under the hood and don’t inhibit sync). However, I only do my personal syncing on my network. I don’t sync off my network when I working outside the house. Could I? Sure. Is it a need? Absolutely not. I don’t have anyone else accessing the computers, like an assistant or a wife, so why do all my devices need to be so quickly updated? They don’t. When I get home, the devices sync quickly, transparently, and privately… boom! I’m all up to date and controlling my own data.

And yes, this is how I believe people should think about remote syncing. If you have a need, then that’s understandable. If you don’t, I advocate local syncing via Bonjour or WebDAV, if you’re rolling your own. But I don’t advocate using a remote sync just because you can. (And again, sync isn’t a backup, so that’s off the table as a reason.)

Sheesh! You got me preaching. :stuck_out_tongue:

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