Syncing and database location/storage

This may have been answered elsewhere; if so, apologies.

If a database is set to sync through Dropbox, does the entirety of the database move into the newly created Dropbox/Apps/… folder? (in other words, can I then delete the copy that’s stored elsewhere?). Or do I need to maintain an original copy of it in the folder it’s currently in, in addition to the folder created in Dropbox?

The reason I’m asking is that right now, I have my database stored in a folder that’s symlinked to dropbox, which means that the main database file already gets synced whenever I close Devonthink. I’d prefer to use the new built-in sync … but if it means maintaining a copy of the database outside the Dropbox/Apps folder, I’d have to move that original copy to a non-dropbox folder.

  1. We repeat DO NOT store your DEVONthink database in a DropBox location, symlinked or not. You may get away with it for longer than anticipated but you are putting your data at risk.

  2. There is not a copy of your DEVONthink database in your DropBox/Apps/DEVONthink folder. Sync has nothing to do with the DropBox app. It has to do with the DropBox service. DropBox doesn’t even need to be running to Sync.

Bluefrog, thanks for the quick reply. I knew I was playing with some fire for syncing the ‘raw’ database via dropbox, but had to do it (made sure I had physical backups as well, just in case). That’s why I was excited to see an official sync solution.

Understood. Just can’t stress enough to people that they may get away with it the first, second, or 500th time, but the one that you don’t get away with makes the rest of it worthless. We’d rather have peoples’ data safe.

Cheers! 8^)

I have experimented with this and I think you can safely switch from dropbox sync to DEVONThink Dropbox sync by means of the following procedure:

Start on the computer with the fastest internet connection that syncs with your dropbox (if e.g. you have a glass fiber connection on computer A and ADSL on computer B start with A, for you are going to upload many files and ADSL uploading is slow).

  1. Make sure that that computer is in sync with dropbox and that DevonThink is closed.

  2. Pause Dropbox syncing

  3. Copy the actual database over the symlink - this assures that the link between dropbox and the original database on that computer is cut, but that the database is not removed from your other computers (as would happen if you would delete the symlink).

  4. Resume Dropbox syncing

  5. Control-click on the original database and choose ‘show package content’

  6. Delete any conflicted copies of the .dtMeta and settings files you see (no need to look into subfolders) (if you don’t see any conflicted copies: good for you!)

  7. Close the package content window and open the original database in DEVONThink by double clicking

  8. From within DEVONThink: verify and repair the database (Tools → verify and repair).

(If there are any missing files the repair will fail, don’t panic you’ll take care of that in the next step – nevertheless you should do a repair before proceeding to the next step in order to make sure that missing files are the only problem left).

  1. If there are missing files (and your repair failed for that very reason):

    a) open the log file (Window → Log). You will find a list of missing files.

    b) control-click on a missing file message and choose ‘reveal’ in the menu that appears

    c) delete the revealed missing file.

    d) repeat b and c for each missing file in the log.

    e) empty DevonThink’s trash (DevonThink → Empty Trash, or shift-cmd-delete)

    f) check whether all verification errors are gone (Tools → Verify and Repair) (if there are still missing files start again at 9a above).

  2. optimize your database (Tools → Backup and Optimize)

  3. check once more for verification errors (Tools → Verify)

  4. Open DevonThink’s Sync Preferences

  5. Check if your Dropbox account is in Pane (3) (… with these locations). If it isn’t: add your dropbox account (use the + under the pane at the left side, choose 'add dropbox account and follow the instructions).

  6. Select the database in Pane (1) and tick dropbox in Pane (3), fill in Pane (2) as you like

  7. Before your first sync make sure that the database store on Dropbox does not sync with your computer:

    a) open your dropbox preferences

    b) klick ‘Advanced’

    c) Choose Change settings …

    d) If the DEVONThink folder in the Apps folder is selected: deselect it, update the settings and continue.

    if there is no Apps folder or no DEVONThink folder in that apps folder, Pause Dropbox’ Syncing and continue. Deselect the DEVONThink folder in the Apps folder after the first DEVONThink sync and Resume Dropbox Syncing afterwards. Do not Resume Dropbox Syncing before you have disabled the DEVONThink folder in the Apps Folder.

If the DEVONThink folder in de Apps folder is deselected already: good, continue.

  1. Now sync the database from within DevonThink (control-click on the database and choose ‘synchronize’ or click on ‘Sync Now’ in the preferences.

  2. When the sync finishes you are done on this computer.

Now, do the following on each computer that dropbox syncs this database:

  1. Perform step 1 - 16 above

  2. Now sync the database as in 16). This time you will get a warning saying that the database already exists. This is exactly what you want. So click ‘o.k.’

  3. When the sync finishes you are done on this computer.

When all relevant computers Devon Sync with Dropbox in addition to the Dropbox Sync, end the latter by deleting the database from Dropbox (delete on one of your computers the copy on Dropbox you made in step 3 and the database will be automatically removed from Dropbox and all computers that sync with the dropbox database).

That’s it.

Hope this helps.

Whoa, why would anyone want to do a 20 step procedure (not including sub-steps and the additional machines involved) – including surgery to the internals of the database. :open_mouth: That looks super dangerous for anyone other than Christian.

What would be the alternative, given that the OP has a database on Dropbox he/she wants to move to the new Devonthink Dropbox sync?

Dropbox sync is dangerous and the OP knows that. The ’surgery’ is needed to repair errors resulting from the Dropbox sync that might cause problems with the new devonthink sync and is less dangerous than continuation of the old Dropbox sync.

Also note that the old sync remains intact until the new sync works fine, so in case something goes wrong nothing is lost.

Also note that most of the steps should be performed anyway when you start Devonthink Sync.

Thanks for your encouragement!

This may be the single most detailed response I’ve ever received on an online forum … thanks! (It’s also a great reason to NOT ever do what I did and sync manually via dropbox :open_mouth: )

I am pretty sure that there are many people who dropbox sync DEVONThink despite its risks (after all there were no good alternatives). I myself have synced one of my databases over dropbox for more than five years without any problem (I kept extra backups but haven’t used them).

My procedure checks for all errors I could think of but chances are that you will encounter no problems or only one kind of problem and in that case the extra steps do not take much time (many missing files will be the most time consuming problem, but I guess this problem only occurs if you have RSS feeds in your database).

Step 7-16 should be performed when you start DevonThink’s dropbox sync anyway (even if the database has never been synced before). Moreover in that case you have to import (that is: download) the database to your other computers, which takes more time than step 18-20.