Synchronize databases between computers?

I’m impressed by the DTPro public beta, and look forward in particular to being able to open multiple databases soon. What I’d really like, though, is the ability to synchronize two databases.

I use DT on my desktop machine and my laptop, and at the moment I have either to remember to copy the latest version of the database across from one machine to the other before making any changes, or I have to remember which documents I added where, and export them from one database and import them into the other.

A synchronize databases command, which would copy items added or updated between databases (and presumably prompt the user to deal with items modified in both places…) would save a lot of hassle.

I can’t be the only one with this need, surely? Can we hope for this in an upcoming version of DTPro?



Gets my vote too.

I think more than a few of us have requested this. AFAIK, it’s on “the list” of requested features.

I agree that it would be VERY useful.

There is a “synchronize” option under the file menu, though I haven’t figured out yet exactly what it does :wink:

Another BIG vote for this feature (having just changed from life with only a laptop to laptop + desktop).

I would like it also, as I’ve switched from a laptop to a laptop and desktop team. :slight_smile:

Christian is well aware of these requests. I suspect it will be easier to handle in version 2.x.

For the moment, I’m keeping track of new items on each machine using History, selecting and exporting those items, then importing into the other machine. Works fine except when I index external PDFs – I’m probably going to stop doing that. No problems with moving over text, RTF, RTFD, HTML and web archives. I just put the export files into my Shared folder and move them over my wireless network.

I think that this is a really important feature. I also use several machines and find manually exporting and importing new items from one to the other to be a real pain (even after writing a script to do it for me). I quite like how this feature is implemented in OmniWeb where bookmarks sync to each copy on each machine using a .mac account. In fact I’ve noticed this .mac sync connectivity in quite a few programs recently. Perhaps this model could be applied to DEVONthink.

Won’t something like ChronoSync do the job? :question:

No, because if the databases differ on the machines (which they will if you add things to both machines at the same time), ChronoSync will balk. You have to pick the one you want to be the “master,” and lose the new data in the other.

You can synchronize subfiles (well, maybe not inside the DT database, but the linked images, PDFs, etc.) but not the databases themselves.

My advice generally is this: Unless you are an expert at it, don’t attempt to use file synchronizing programs to synchronize DT Pro databases between two computers. (And I’ve head from experts who screwed everything up.) Most synchronization programs deal with files and folders, not with a big monolithic database structure like DT Pro has.

The absolutely most bullet-proof approach to synchronizing databases between two computers is to close the database on one computer, copy it to the second computer, make all changes on the second computer (none on the first computer). When finished working on the second computer, close the database and copy it back to the first computer, and so on. Actually, if you are switching back and forth between a desktop and a laptop, use only one at a time, and have a fast ethernet or fast wireless connection, it’s easy to follow this procedure.

In the future, the DT database structure will be changed. Probably synchronization between computers will become easier. And database synchronization will be (by definition) handled smoothly with the future enterprise version of DEVONthink.

In my experience, this is the best solution for the time being. To add a “hack” for large databases which are hard to copy back and forth: My desktop database is the main one, I only copy from desktop to iBook. When I add or change something on the ibook, I look in the history tool (Verlauf in German, below the concordance menu item), export the new data and copy only them to the desktop database.

It has another advantage: I can always have the desktop db open and work there without fearing that changes get lost.

my two Yen, Eurocents and outdated Pfennig,

Is your warning not mainly valid for running databases? Because there seems to be little difference in using the Finder to copy a closed database, or a tool like ChronoSync. But of course, the databases should be closed.

There is no real synchronization between two databases, and I am hoping DT Pro will receive that feature, but for the time being I have made it part of my routine when I have been “out” with my iBook: I simply synchronize documents, databases, and DayLite (but the latter via their built-in synchronization).

To do it manually too easily involves human error. Been there.

Another two cents: I make no attempt to synchronize, because my desktop version of DTP is the only one in which I create original entries. But I do make a daily backup to a Firewire Drive, using backup software (Synchronize! X Plus from Qdea), so that I could restore if my main hard drive failed (it’s happened once).

I did find that I could copy my DevonNote files to a laptop and use them for projection-display in courses. Just copy the Library: Application Support: DevonNote folder to a flash drive, copy that to the laptop in the same Library location, and the laptop copy of DN runs them fine.