Tuesday tip: Create databases always from scratch

Renaming a databaseThe name of your DEVONthink databases doesn’t really matter. While it matters to you in terms of helping you to identify what is in it, the real identity of the database is found in its UUID (universally unique identifier). You can think of it like your social security number (in the US) or your passport number. You could change your name, appearance, location, etc. but this number always represents me.

When a database is created, a UUID is automatically generated for it. This value, a long alphanumeric string, is a constant that is used by all underlying mechanisms, including the synchronization. Say, you have a database named ABC and it has a UUID of 123456. If I sync it, then the sync location stores its data in a location referencing 123456. If you decide to rename the database to MyStuff and sync it, it’s still syncing database no. 123456, not a new database named MyStuff.

This is also why you should not copy a database and simply rename the copied file. You are copying the UUID of the original database, regardless of what you name the copy. You will end up with conflicts and potentially data loss.

6 Responses to “Tuesday tip: Create databases always from scratch”

  1. I would love to see more posts like this. This is a very important bit of info that is not obvious. I would have never guessed that a database had a UUID but it’s a great feature. I’m glad I know and understand that now.

    Generally speaking, I wish this blog was more active with new posts.

  2. jneumann says:

    I’m glad you found it helpful, Thomas and one of the goals for the upcoming year is to spend a bit more time with all of you.
    :^)

  3. Damien Wopper says:

    For a product as robust and rich as DEVONThink, the blog here has been underutilised. So much could be conveyed here about the product, both its usage and essential tidbits like this one about the UUID.

    Take a look at the blog for Ulysses III, at ulyssesapp.com. Their blog has so many useful items for using the product. Sometimes a tutorial that highlights how to do something, sometimes a revealing of a little-known functional gem.

  4. jneumann says:

    Thanks for the feedback. As I said earlier, it is one of our goals to reach out more.

  5. Nigel Spier says:

    Thanks for alerting us to a problem. Care to provide a solution? I have never duplicated my database for any reason that I can recall, although I may have had to rebuild it. If I had done so, how do I now resolve this issue, since I am being told this is the reason why I can no longer sync with DevonThink To Go.

  6. jneumann says:

    @Nigel: Let’s continue this conversation in your Support Ticket. This is not a good place for Support questions of this type. Thanks.

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