Sharing db's w/two Mac's

Hi, I’m new here and to DTPro.

I have two machines and would like to share the data contained in the db’s from each computer.

Is there a best practice for this?

I’ll only use one for the scanning part, but I might want to send an email or URL or document from each computer.

Do I need different db’s setup? I can certainly store all of my db’s on a shared external drive.

Any help would be appreciated.

Vicci [Round Rock, TX, USA]

It’s been years since I’ve been in Round Rock, but I remember it.

It’s important to remember that DEVONthink databases are single-user. That is, they can be damaged it accessed by two copies of a DEVONthink

While it is possible to use a database on more than one computer (but not simultaneously), ALWAYS follow the practice of quitting the DEVONthink Pro/Office application after ending a work session. That will properly close the database(s) and have them available for use from another computer.

Following are three ways in which one can access DT Pro/Office databases from more than one computer, each of which has a copy of DT Pro/Office installed:

  1. Good old “sneakernet”, using a portable external hard drive that can be mounted to the computer from which one wishes to access the database(s). Portable hard drives with hundreds of gigabytes capacity are available for $100 or less, and database performance (especially via FireWire) is quite acceptable. Remember, of course, to properly dismount the portable drive when it is to be moved to a different computer.

  2. Access to databases on a “server” drive in a local network. That can allow more than one computer to have (non-concurrent) access to the database(s). A direct-wired connection from the external storage device to the local computers, e.g., by Ethernet, will be faster than WiFi access, of course. Some NAS server networks are flakier than others, so check out your setup to make certain that it’s working properly for your needs. Remember t quit the DEVONthink Pro/Office application so that the databases are properly closed, after a work session.

  3. Use DropBox to synchronize the databases. DropBox has been discussed a number of times on this forum. It offers the advantage that one can access a synchronized database from outside the local network, e.g., while on travel. In addition to the standard caution about always properly closing databases after a session, it’s also important to recognize that when “cloud” data storage and access is involved, data transfers can sometimes be less reliable and much slower than in your local computer environment, so that one should allow sufficient fime for a database to complete synchronization before accessing and modifying it.

I’ve ranked these methods in decreasing order of performance/safety. But all can be used with satisfactory results if one follows precautions.

One of those precautions, or course, is to use a backup system that will protect you from all the Bad Things that might happen, from a disk crash to lost or stolen equipment or a fire or flood. So it’s wise to store backups on an external device, and best of all to store them offsite. For example, I use Time Machine. But I also use the scripts provided in DT Pro/Office to make Database Archives that can be stored offsite; I periodically update the Database Archives on a portable hard drive that I store at my bank.

The DEVONtechnologies developers are working on a synchronization plugin for a future release (no release yet scheduled).

It’s best to avoid using two copies of a database whose contents drift apart because new content is being added to each.There are ways to “equalize” them, but I try to avoid the issue in the first place.

Bill, thank you for the detailed reply.

At this point, it sounds like I should simply create one db on the MB and store things there that I could at some point ‘migrate’ to the other computer and store where they belong. And that if I needed to find something, I’d really need to use that single computer.

I think the SYNC thing will be wonderful!

Today, my db’s are on a 1TB external HD, which is copied to another one. I do need to put something in my safe though!

I’m going to avoid the cloud thing all together. I do use MobileMe for the sync, but data like I’m putting in DT is much better in my home only.

Thanks again,

PS - You would NEVER know Round Rock - it’s major league now. Outlet mall, IKEA, Dell, huge medical complex/teaching hopsital/community college, toll road, etc. In the 16 years I’ve been here it’s changed a lot.

So much for my memories of Round Rock. :slight_smile:

But then, the population of the United States has almost tripled since I was born. There was no Internet then, nor any digital computers. The only computers at that time were analog computers, meaning that they either had gears or valves.

I have two primary databases, one for personal stuff and one for work stuff.

Since we are using macs, I use MobileMe “Back to my Mac” to access the computer were the database is on. If I’m home, I simply access the database base on the other Mac via the network.

I can only use one Mac at a time, so the chance of both Macs accessing the same DB at the same time is nil.

Two things on my wish list are 1) database synching; and 2) an iPhone app that uses MobileMe to access data on my Mac.


Wondering if you agree with my workflow heading into a project.

Have a research project involving hundreds of documents. The documents are being harvested by two people, myself and one other. I will be collecting 75% of the material and will do any scanning needed with DTPO.

My partner will be collecting some documents with DTP on another laptop.

The final product will be on a single database on my laptop. Periodically, I want to collect the documents my partner has. Seems the best way is to just have him export them out of DTP in folders and I can take those folders into my database via network file sharing.

Is there a better way or does this seem logical?

If I use the portable firewire drive approach to sharing a database between computers, you mention also making backups.

What, specifically, do you do to backup a database? I’m assuming there’s an easy way to copy a database and rename it. Also assuming there’s several ways to do it. What’s the best way?

Try a search for many threads discussing backup strategies in detail?

For example:

Backing Up DTPO Database started on August 19,2010

Script to automate backup for each DB, regular intervals? started on June 16, 2010

Time Machine backup question started on March 27, 2010

DT backup started on February 11, 2010

When Backing Up To External Drive Why Zip the Database? started on February 3, 2010

Does Database Archive create a fully portable database? started on November 16, 2009

Dt and JungleDisk started on November 13, 2009

DropBox started November 4, 2009 (one of dozens of Dropbox (sic) threads)

Off-Premises Backup using iDisk (MobileMe) started October 7, 2009 (one of dozens of MobileMe threads

Does Database Archive create a fully portable database? started November 16, 2009

… and on and on …

Thanks for all the help. I think I’l use an external firewire drive for my single database and use it on several machines. I’ll also make zipped backups using the export script on the local hard drives of the machines.

One other question. On a desktop machine, I’d like to periodically (every two weeks) show a client the status of the database via a webserver. I understand how to do it—I’ll take a zipped backup copy and open it in local drive on DTPO and turn the webserver on.

What happens in two weeks when I want to update the webserver version for the client. I’d take the newest version of the database and open it on that same local drive. I’ll then have two versions of the same database, one slightly updated.

Should I delete the previous version before I open the new version or does it matter?