Smart Group syncing

Why is it that I can drop a Smart Group into the Mobile Sync folder on the Mac, but then it fails to sync with the iPod Touch. Other folders appear to sync fine?!

DTTG doesn’t (yet?) work that way.

See also

Well, it seems a little strange that you can drop a smart folder into the Mobile sync folder but it cannot sync ?!

Maybe it’s not a feature actually available, but, to the developper of ThinkOffice, that feature is something very interresting…

PLease, consider to add this feature to future release… :slight_smile:

It is on our list of features to consider for a future release.

Can’t wait till it makes it to the top of that list :wink:

Indeed, it would be a nice addition :smiley:

Please add smart group syncing. Syncing is incomplete without it.

Normal groups, which can be Synced, contain representations of objects stored in Apple’s file system, such as other groups and/or document files such as JPEGs, PDFs, Word .DOC files, etc.

But a smart group is really a search query, which is performed on the fly when the smart group is opened. When opened, the smart group displays a list of search results, groups and/or documents that meet the query criteria.

That raises some important issues when thinking about Sync of a smart group to DEVONthink To Go.

  1. Search queries can be formulated in DEVONthink under OS X that do not work in the current environment of iOS. So, while a smart group that contains a simple query for a text string might be made to Sync to an iOS device, Synch of some smart groups would fail, because the search would fail (no results) in the iOS environment.

  2. Depending on the user’s decisions to include/exclude content of the Mac database(s), the list of search.results displayed by the Synced smart group may be only a subset of the results displayed by that smart group on the Mac - unless some action such as korm’s link (above)
    to my kludge were first performed (and the iOS version of the smart group wouldn’t be a true smart group, raising still other issues).

Some things are trickier than they seem at first glance. :slight_smile:

Surely it isn’t THAT hard. When DTTG calls for a sync, sync the non-smart groups, initiate a search on the Mac, then sync the files in the smart folder on DTTG with those on the (refreshed) Mac by transferring the files that have changed and removing those that have been removed.

This really needs a fix.

The scenario you suggested would present numerous logical problems and potentials for data duplication and/or data loss.

Creating real smart group transfer back and forth between databases on a Mac and an iOS device isn’t merely THAT hard, it is impossible for anything beyond very simple search criteria. Many of the most useful smart groups in my Mac DEVONthink Pro Office use search criteria that are currently meaningless in the iOS environment. Telling Sync to copy such smart groups to an iOS database wouldn’t produce a useful result. Oops!

Smart groups don’t contain documents. They are search sets that hold the criteria for performing a search. The search is performed when the smart group is opened.

It might be possible to create a new group containing the search results of a smart group on the fly during Sync, and send that group to the iOS device. I can see potential value in that, as it could provide aggregations of documents based on search criteria performed on the Mac that are simply not possible in the iOS environment.

In that scenario, what is sent to the iOS device is no longer a smart group, of course. It is simply another group containing documents. Adding content to that group on the iOS device would make little or no sense. If I then Sync back to the Mac from the iOS device, that group wouldn’t be sent as a smart group, but as a group containing duplicate documents that would add no value to the Mac database. That’s undesirable, and one would probably look for a trick that would result in the faux smart group being ignored by Sync on the iOS device. In which case, any data added to that group would not be transferred to the Mac database.

Here’s the good news. If you decide that the results of a smart group on the Mac would be useful on your iOS device, you can make those results available on your iOS device with a simple kludge. Open the smart group, select all the results and replicate them to a new group. Move that group into Mobile Sync. Sync. Before the next Sync you will probably want to delete that group both from the iOS device and Mobile Sync on the Mac, because that set of documents may now be outdated, no longer reflecting the set of documents resulting from opening the original smart group on the Mac.

Thanks for the thoughtful (as usual) reply!

I am actually not interested in doing smart group queries on IOS. I use the IOS data just as an offline editing platform. So, all my queries are done on the Mac.

The workaround you propose (replicate smart group queries to a normal group in the sync folder) is what I do now. The only problem, of course, is that I have to remember to re-copy before every sync, since I may have added new files.

Dealing with that sounds like a job for scripting, perhaps? Is there a way to write a script that is invoked when a sync starts? THAT script could do the copying you suggest at sync-time.