Which sync method is best for me (and other questions)

I have a Macbook Air and iMac and some DTPO databases I’d like to keep in sync on both.

I’m thinking local sync might be enough. I usually have the computers in the same room (my office); one is at a standing desk, the other at a sitting desk. And of course I take my Macbook Air with me when I travel. If I add things to my databases when I’m away, as long as the Macbook Air syncs automatically (without me having to remember to do it) when I get back that would be fine. Likewise, if my iMac syncs automatically with my Macbook Air, then I’ll be sure to have recent files on it before I go on any trips (without me having to remember to sync it).

BUT, if I set the sync schedule to hourly with a local network connection, for example, what happens when I’m on a trip and can’t access the local network? Will it just generate an error?

The other question is this: using local sync, can I have the same databases open on both computers at the same time?

I’m trying to find the simplest sync method for my situation, and wondering if local is sufficient or if I need to do Dropbox.

You will never have the “same” database on each computer. You will have a different dabase with (most of the time, more or less, and apparently) the same content on each computer. It is not exactly the same thing.

These databases can be opened at the same time on different computers.

Forget automatic syncs. There is too high a probability to lose datas or to create a true mess on all your computers.

Forget about Dropbox. You would exchange the high probability above for an event sure to happen sooner or later…

Please read “How I simplified the way I use DevonThink Sync”.

[url]How I simplified the way I use DevonTHINK Sync]

This is an important observation … and important to note that there is no simple way to compare database instances to determine the extent of their similarity or dissimilarity, and no user-accessible tools are (yet) provided with DEVONthink to help with comparing and validating instances of a database.

Okay, so it seems to me you’re recommending only manual sync? That of course eliminates most of the benefit of sync technology, but I see your point.

I perform nightly automated backups of my entire system, and I also use Time Machine to backup my system on an hourly basis. Unless I’m missing something, a corrupted database due to a sync issue wouldn’t be the end of the world. I could just revert to the most recent backup of the database, which is never more than 24 hours old. Sure, I could lose a day’s worth of data but that’s not a huge problem.

It seems to me the convenience of having automatic sync would outweigh the potential inconvenience of losing less than a day’s worth of data. I’m not a heavy DTPO user; I probably add 2-3 files to the database a day, if that. But please, if I’m missing something here point it out!

If I’m not, can someone answer my question about what happens if I have local sync enabled on an hourly basis, and my computers aren’t on the same network (e.g. I’m traveling with my Macbook Air)?

Just a quick note… Franck is offering his opinion on the subject. Bear that in mind as you read.

(The Forums are a free place to exchange ideas and info. We won’t necessarily jump in unless something is blatantly wrong. And note that the subhead of a DEVONtech employee will contain our DEVONtechnologies title.)

Also, I NEVER use automatic Syncs personally (only for Support testing) just because I prefer to Sync manually. No dire warnings (and I’ve never lost data on an automatic Sync - Dropbox or otherwise). I just prefer to Sync when I feel like it.

If the sync store is not available (i.e., offline), then the sync does not happen - but it should happen if at the next scheduled time the store is now available. So, if you have hourly sync scheduled and your machine is offline at 1, 2 and 3 pm, those syncs will not occur. But, if you plug in at 3:30 pm then the sync at 4:00 pm should happen.

YMMV – connectivity is affected by networks and sometimes – rarely, but sometimes – connections fail and troubleshooting might be needed.

It’s all easy to test – with no risk. Just set up a schedule and see what happens. Otherwise, go manual as Jim suggested.

(BTW, full disclosure: I only use sync as a belts-and-suspenders backup – and I’m using the kind of scenario similar to what @switters asked about. The lack of verification visible to the user is a significant concern for me because my databases are my income – and missing a file is indeed a big deal. Which is why I also have 4 separate backup strategies – and have at one time or another needed each of them when the others failed. Just saying. And yes, ndouglas – before you cringe – I know sync is not backup :slight_smile: )

@ Korm (more particularly, anyone else interested by this particular question of course welcomed)

I am in the same situation. I use my database for professional reasons and to lose even a simple file is not something I am ready to accept easily.

I use also 4 levels of backups:

  • DevonThink Syncs between computers (That’s right that’s not the true reason to sync but it’s nevertheless a kind of “backup”),
  • duplication of each databasis on the last computer used before any syncing toward another computer (OS X System simple feature),
  • ChronoSync once a day from one computer to another inside the local network (a solution suggested by you in a previous post, Korm),
  • twice a week, duplication and backup of the databases in the cloud in case something bad happens to my computers on my local network.

Could you please share also your own 4 backup solutions? it’s always interesting to verify if there is something new to learn… :wink:

@Franck, I think we’re straying off @switters’ question :frowning:

But you asked, so I’ll mention my methods are similar to yours:

  • Clone the machine several times a week (includes data files – databases)
  • Critical data (provided by customers) are not imported but are stored in Dropbox and/or Box (paid accounts with archiving features) and then indexed into DEVONthink
  • With ChronoSync clone databases to another machine on my network regularly – I do this manually so that CS does not interfere with work
  • use DEVONthink sync from my work machine to an external drive
  • I also use Time Machine
  • In addition I periodically plug into and clone databases to two portable drives
  • And I use Crash Plan, which is useful for the data inside DEVONthink databases internal folders, but however useless for database packages since Crash Plan’s incremental backup makes a hash of the database’s metadata.
  • The ChronoSync cloned databases on the separate machine are, there, also cloned to a full backup daily. That machine is backed up with Time Machine, and it is also backed up with Crash Plan

That’s more than four, isn’t it? I have 10 locations where I can effortlessly find each of my original files and six where I can find a verifiable copy of my databases from which I can continue my work. Sheesh :open_mouth:


I agree with korm, in my last question I was a bit squatting your own initial question. Sorry! :slight_smile:


Thanks a lot for this very complete answer. I installed Box by customers in the past and I still use DropBox with archiving features for other needs than DT Sync. But I did not know Crash Plan. Thanks for this new solution to study! :wink:

I thought I was some sort of pananoid with my redondant backups, happy to see that I am probably not going to be alone to try some jokes with the nurses at the hospital dedicated for this kind of behaviour. :wink:


I would have an “opinion” if I was speaking about something I know not at all or not very much. Speaking about a solution I have used until now some hundreds hours, I would rather speak of “user experience”, or even “low level user experience” if you prefer, than speak of “opinion”. From my point of view, there is there quite a huge difference.