What is “the best” sync strategy?


I have several databases (~10 GB in total) comprised primarily of PDF files. I use the iOS and Mac apps fully and frequently switch devices.

Now that iCloud sync has been available for a while, would anyone be able to comment on what the “best” sync method is, meaning the fastest, most reliable and most robust? Dropbox? iCloud? WebDAV with a roll-your-own data store? The cost is less important to me than having it work all the time. I know they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but I’m wondering if there is an agreed upon “best practice” among expert users. Thanks in advance.

There isn’t a “best" sync method and it also depends on the actual needs.

Here’s how I view it: Do you need to keep devices in sync quickly or not? And that’s a “need”, not a want question.

If you do need it and the machines and devices are on the same network, go for Bonjour.

If they’re not going to remain on the same network, then you’d be looking at a remote sync option, all of which come with inherent weaknesses due to network conditions, slow / unresponsive servers, bandwidth throttling measures employed by cloud services, etc. Generally, they work well but these are factors that should be considered.

If you don’t need them quickly synced, go for Bonjour and sync when you’re back on the same network.

PS: In general, I personally do not suggest running your own WebDAV server, unless you’re more technically inclined. This is especially true, if you’re wanting to access it outside your own network.

I use WebDAV for sync – not a server I run on my local network, but a WebDAV location on the cloud-based server where I run my corporate website and email. I do that because it’s a space I control and because I can. It’s not faster or better, it’s just about control.

Thanks, I appreciate the detailed reply. I am technically inclined, so running my own WebDAV server would be an option.

Unfortunately (for my syncing needs, anyway :smiley: ) I frequently roam between networks, and need to be able to sync reliably from anywhere. Typically, my Mac is at home and my iOS devices come with me to work.

I am guessing the answer to my question is probably iCloud or Dropbox. I have been using iCloud and it seems to work so far. The reason for my question is that I have seen reference to various syncing issues inherent to iOS (background app run time limitations, for example), relative to which I’m wondering if there’s a clear best option. Thanks again.

Background App Refresh would apply to any sync method, and it’s controlled (and terminated) by iOS, not DTTG.

iCloud is easy to set up and likely the devices are already logged into it. That doesn’t make it better or sync faster.
Dropbox is at least as good, but YMMV with any remote sync option.

Is it consider bad-practice to enable multiple sync services? (i.e., Bonjour and iCloud)

Nope. Our sync engine is built to allow for it, especially since a service like iCloud is only for personal use. Collaborative syncing requires a secondary sync option.

Interesting. Maybe then a good way to do it woudl be to enable both iCloud and Bonjour for my databases. That way I could “limp along” with iCloud when I’m remote, but when I get home and everything’s on the same network Bonjour’s more robust sync could participate.

It seems like conflicts might develop between the sync methods when more than one is used? (I suppose they do, which is why there’s an option to duplicate documents with sync conflicts…)

How do I know when DT database contents have been fully uploaded from the local (mac) synch store to iCloud? At the moment I’m simply comparing file sizes (local versus iCloud storage data; but is there a better way to know when it’s safe to start synchronizing a second device (IOS) with the iCloud site?

but is there a better way to know when it’s safe to start synchronizing a second device (IOS) with the iCloud site?

Not really. iCloud is a black box in many ways and checking System Preferences > iCloud > Manage > DEVONthink To Go is the only easy way Apple gives people access to this information.

which sync method is best…
iCloud CloudKit or my own WebDAV server ?

There is no best sync method. This is no different than asking ”what’s better: Chevy or Ford… or Ferrari?”

See this post…