Sharing Databases Between DTPO1 and DTPO2?

DTPO is one of the applications that I happily relied on in sharing databases between home and office. While I think the improvements in DTPO2 are really good, the limitation of DTPO2 to Mac OS 10.5+ has proved to be an impediment to this. At work I’m under a very intellectually challenged IT regime, the U.S. Navy, which is Mac hostile. However, I was fortunate enough to get a Mac G4 excessed from our graphics department but it is limited to Mac OS 10.4.

Since DTPO2 came out I’ve been trying to get it to play nice with DTPO1 at work without much success. DTPO1 doesn’t recognize DTPO2’s databases and DTPO2 converts those of DTPO1. I tried exporting files and folders and then indexing them in both versions, creating one lightweight database for each version, first in DTPO2, then in DTPO1.

While this takes away some information management functionality it avoids duplicating gigabytes of information and the difficulties of synching two versions of the same databases.

Then, when I tried to open an article in the DTPO2 I got a “File Missing” message even though nothing was moved, just indexed. Apparently DTPO1 overwrites the “DEVONtech_storage” files and DTPO2 can’t read the DTPO1 versions. Re-indexing in DTPO2 didn’t help until I deleted all the DTPO1 DEVONtech_storage files (which also lost the URLs from clippings).

So I have a couple of questions:

  1. Is there a better way to share databases/source files between the two versions that I might be missing?

While I appreciate that desire of the developers to design to the latest and greatest OS to add features I was disappointed to see no provisions for some degree of cross-version database compatibility or, alternatively, a Mac OS 10.4- capability with a somewhat reduced feature set. So…

  1. Is there a way to add some degree of cross-version compatibility, perhaps through the DEVONtech_storage files?

At this point I would just like to be able to use DTPO2 at home to collect and manage information and DTPO1 at work to access it. Otherwise, it looks like I may have to go back to DTPO1.

Those DEVONtech_storage files have the sole purpose of maintaining some of the metadata associated with documents that are exported from a database, if those files are to be captured into a different database. They have no other value.

Tip: It’s best to export database content to a new folder in the Finder, created at the time of the export. That will prevent DEVONtech_storage files from being scattered about, and will protect the metadata of one export from being overwritten by another.

Remember that if content in a database has been Index-captured, a file representing that content must be present in the same relative location on the computer for the database to find it. The database retains the Path to each such external file, and the Path must remain valid – the file must exist at the specified location. Otherwise, the database will lose significant information about that file. For example, if a PDF file has been Index-captured, but is no longer available to the database, only an icon of the first page of that PDF can be seen in the database. The document cannot be read, printed or opened in an external application, because the external file is missing.

What that means is that, if you work with Indexed databases and wish to have the same information available on both computers, the external Indexed files must be present in the same locations relative to the database in the Finder of both computers. That can get tricky. Every time you add or modify an Indexed file, it must be copied in the same relative position onto the other computer and then Indexed or Synchronized, if the two databases are to have the same content. That’s true even if both databases are running under DT 2. If that’s done, it’s best to use Indexed folders in the Documents directory, as it gets a bit easier to manage in Documents.

As I like to move my databases around among my computers, or even share them with others (for example, resources for an academic program) I favor Import-captured databases, which are self-contained. In the simplest case, I can even run self-contained databases, that are stored on a portable hard drive, on different computers, requiring only that my DEVONthink Pro or Pro Office application is available on each computer to which the portable drive is attached. But that option isn’t available to you, unless you either run under DT Pro 1.x or trick the G4 into running Leopard (which might be a possibility).

In reality, to equalize your databases running on different computers, even if both are 1.x or 2.0, you can work out a reasonably simple procedure to keep them alike. Suppose, for example, that you have added three files to one of your databases. 1) You Index-captured a file from the Finder. 2) You downloaded a clipping from the Web into your database. 3) You wrote a report in your database.

To capture those files into your other computer:

  1. Copy that file onto your other computer and either Index or Import it into your database.

  2. and 3) Select those two documents, choose Export > Files & Folders, create a new folder in the database into which you save the exports. Copy that folder to your other computer, then either Index the folder or Import ALL the contents of the folder into your database (Import will keep you from proliferating all sorts of transfer folders on your computer, as you can delete them after capture, but you must keep folders and contents that have been Indexed).

Note that the procedure for “equalizing” those databases on your home and office procedures is probably what you would use, even if both were the same database version, 1.x or 2.x. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your response Bill but it appears that I wasn’t as clear as I should have been. I exported each of my databases as files and folders to new folders, as you suggested, on my travel drive so that when I indexed them in both applications they would be accessing the same files and folders and the same structure. For example, my Art-Design DTPO2 and DTPO1 databases both indexed the contents of the same Art-Design folder. Copying files between my computers did not occur so the information and paths are the same regardless of database version.

(Like you, I prefer to import files into the database but then I would have to have duplicate databases and doing this would use up far too much disk space.)

Immediately after indexing a folder such as the one I created for Art-Design in DTPO2 I can find files in the resultant database with no problem. Without touching anything in the Art-Design folder I then indexed it with DTPO1 and that database could also find files. However, then going back to the DTPO2 database, any file I checked was reported as missing even though they were at the specified location – nothing had occurred other than indexing with DTPO1. Re-synchronizing in DTPO2 didn’t help.

So, I’m assuming that DTPO1 and DTPO2 DEVONtech_storage files are, like the versions of the databases, incompatible between versions of the application. I’m getting the disconcerting feeling that unless there’s some simple fix you can make for the final release of DTPO2 that allows gets around this or I can scrounge up a newer Mac from somewhere at work I won’t get to use it.

That’s a possibility using Leopard Assist but I’ve heard reports of 10.5 being sluggish on unsupported G4s and I can’t afford the time to install and then uninstall at the moment. (My G4 shows some strain working with Adobe CS4 graphics applications so I suspect that adding Leopard on top of these will probably make this a likely outcome.) Plus I’ll have to buy my own copy of Leopard for use at work since the Navy won’t. (This could be a very expensive upgrade :wink: )