In June we announced the first public beta of our sync technology for DEVONthink. For several months now, we’ve focused on making our sync technology reliable and easy to use regardless of your situation. Whether you have several small text-only databases or several large databases with gigabytes of PDFs, whether you use Dropbox or WebDAV or a direct connection (or all three!), whether you’re using a low-bandwidth mobile network or a corporate intranet, you should be able to rely upon Sync to safeguard your data.
Receipts: Sync now encodes an abbreviated representation of the database every time it transfers your data. This allows much faster syncs; minor updates to databases with tens of thousands of items will now take seconds instead of tens of minutes. It also allows Sync to determine if a previous sync failed and retry it, regardless of when the failure occurred, and degrades gracefully (the “degraded” pre-receipt comparison mechanism also performs upwards of eight times faster).
Locking: Sync uses lockfiles to protect the remote copy of a database from other clients during synchronization. These lockfiles are now maintained by a dedicated subsystem and gracefully detect and respond to tampering, misbehaving clients, network issues, and unexpected interruptions.
Transactions: Sync’s transaction-handling has been improved to ensure greater reliability. On the remote side, this means that operations are guaranteed to be performed in order. Locally, it means that cancellation is cleaner, faster, and safer than ever before.
Networking: Sync’s networking code is much more robust now; failed connections are retried automatically (and invisibly), with safeguards to protect against out-of-order operations and remote race conditions. Direct connection syncs use less memory and occur faster than ever before (don’t blink, you’ll miss it!). Dropbox operations adapt better to site outages, concurrent access from other clients, and latency when accessing Dropbox from outside the US. WebDAV connections are more forgiving of non-standard implementations and overloaded shared servers.
Security: Sync now works hand-in-hand with DEVONthink’s database-level protection system, helping to prevent unauthorized access to your data.
Interface: Sync’s user interface has been polished to integrate it better with DEVONthink. Log and error messages are clearer. Progress and preference windows have changed to incorporate user feedback.
Compatibility: Sync is now fully compatible to DEVONthink in 64-bit mode.
GET THE PUBLIC BETA AND TEST, TEST, TEST…
So, here’s the second and, in our plans, last public beta of our sync technology that allows you to synchronize databases directly between your Macs, indirectly via e.g. shared folders on a USB stick, external hard drive, or a server on your network, or via Dropbox or any WebDAV account.
How can I get it? First make sure your system meets the requirements. You’ll need an Intel-based Mac with OS X 10.6 or later and DEVONthink Pro or Pro Office 2.4.3 (click here to download the latest version).
Then click Sync Plugin 1.0 public beta 2 or right-click the link to the left and choose Download Linked File. The public beta comes as a Zip archive. If necessary double-click the downloaded file to expand it. The archive comes with a Read Me file containing the installation and usage instructions as well as a list of known issues and instructions on how to report issues and file feature requests. Please thoroughly read the Read Me file. No kidding. Enable console logging (see Read Me). And look left and right before crossing the street.
Important: If you update from the first public beta make sure to manually delete your old sync store, e.g. on Dropbox, before proceeding. For Dropbox best use the Dropbox website and look into the “Apps” folder.
What should I do? Please test this public beta with copies of your databases in any way you can: directly between Macs, using Dropbox, WebDAV, or folders on servers or external media. Write down any difficulties you encounter as well as anything you think should be changed or added. Tell us your experiences. And if it crashes, send us the crash reports. The Read Me file tells you how to do that and what is most helpful for us to know.
What’s next? The final release as part of a major update to DEVONthink.