syncing indexed databases

Hi all
at the risk of sounding a bit dense, what are the dos and donts of syncing an indexed database?
Is it

  1. best avoided entirely because the indexed files out there in the file system wouldn’t be synced at all thus resulting in DTPOs index and its rsources outside getting out of sync
    or 2)
    press a button and be happy.

If somebody in the know could spell out what the reality of syncing an indexed database relative to the two options above is, I’d be very grateful


PS: I have been doing this for years using Chronosync and an external harddrive but now I am asking about the direct connection syncing that version 2.5 affords.

This is an interesting question and I am eager to hear the opinions of the DEVONthink team.

I myself have all my indexed folders on Dropbox (using symlinks) and neither Devonthink’s Dropbox sync nor devonthink sync via an external disk gives any problems, as long as the indexed folder is on all computers at the same place relative to my home directory. This is very close to your option 2): press a button and be happy.

If you cannot or don’t want to have your indexed folders on Dropbox, what about continuing to sync them via an external hard disk? I guess this should work fine If you sync the indexed folders with chronosync and the database with devonthink, provided that the indexed folders are in sync when you do a DevonThink Sync.

I guess direct syncs aren’t a problem either if each time you sync the indexed folders with chronosync before you sync the devonthink database.

Putting all my indexed folders on Dropbox is out of the question due to the size. Even if that wasn’t a problem I’d feel uncomfortable about privacy.

Continuing with the external harddrive and Chronosync would be a possibility, of course, but it would mean to forego real syncing. If I changed some items on computer A and others on computer B e.g. by forgetting to sync once, I’d lose one set of changes using this method.
I had run some preliminary tests with DTPO 2.5 and large databases and syncing was much faster and less awkward than using the hard drive as an intermediary, changes on both ends did not seem to be a problem either.
May I add: It also felt much more 21st century.

But having to switch to imported databases would change the equation somewhat hence my question about syncing indexed databases.

Hm, I probably have not made myself clear enough. The idea was to sync your database to the external drive with devonthink (this gives you real data syncing) and the indexed folder with chronosync. As long as you do the chronosync before the devon sync it should (if I have understood the information from devontechnologies correctly) be no problem if you changed some items on one computer and others on the other and forget to sync.

The same for direct sync: syncing the database with Devonthink and the indexed folders with chronosync there shouldn’t be a problem, provided you do the chronosync before the devon sync.

Even if you accidentally do the devonthink first, this will only in rare cases lead to minor problems, and not to data loss.

If the OP is already using Chronosync to do the whole job, what is the benefit of splitting the work between DEVONthink and Chronosync? Creates more opportunity for error, but what’s the upside? Just my opinion, but Chronosync is a lot more transparent about what it is doing than DEVONthink sync is – and it works well for indexed database scenarios.

arnow and korm
I think you have highlighted the workarounds and their shortcomings. I take it that short of putting everything on DropBox my original feeling that the indexed files themselves would have to be taken care of separately is basically correct then.
The idea was to get rid the need to physically carry the external harddrive between home and work. In that case my only choice is to switch to imported databases or keep using the external harddrive.

One of the main reasons to move to indexed databases instead of imported ones was that some are large and having to sync them every time took very long. Using the “dissect bundles” option in Chronosync shortened that but introduced another dimension of worrying about what could go wrong during sync. And things DID go wrong BTW although it was mostly user error.
Anyway, I was asking myself if direct syncing was fast enough (and my network reliable enough) to be feasible over VPN. If that took away the complexities of syncing as I am doing it now, I would be happy to accept the limitations of everything residing only inside DTPO databases again.


To me this is another classic import vs. index example when copying, moving, and (now) syncing databases. Syncing really doesn’t change issues with indexed items since it doesn’t follow them.

[edit: I’m wrong, according to Nathan’s explanation of indexed item synching. :blush:]

The great index/import debate will be decided around the time Higgs Bosons become the main power source for iPhone 368 :open_mouth:

I don’t think the choice is between importing databases or keep using the external hard drive, for you can also combine direct Devon sync of the database with direct chronosync of the indexed folders. This is much safer than chronosyncing the database with dissect packages on!

However, I agree that moving all your documents into the database is the better option if the only reason why you index is that it makes syncing easier.

Good point. Letting DTPO take care of direct syncing the database itself would not remove the need to eventually sync the associated files outside the database but at least that step would be bidirectional. At least in theory there should be no dataloss in case of a forgotten sync operation in between.
I’ll see how it goes.

Currently I have the problem that I cannot wake up my iMac in the office over LAN even though everything is set up as it should be I think.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments everyone