DEVONthink sync technology — public beta 1

As announced two weeks ago, we are releasing our sync technology for DEVONthink as a first public beta today. We have spend time fixing various issues and laying the foundation for much faster Dropbox and WebDAV syncs (as soon as the rest of it is implemented in beta 2, syncs will automatically become a lot faster) in the meantime.

So, here’s public beta 1 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.

What does public beta mean? This means that it’s not ready for prime-time yet, but it can be used. Its user interface needs polishing, the sync logic has known bugs, and there are speed issues. We are publishing it to test it outside of our labs to gain insight into how it bears up against reality.

AGAIN: This public beta is a technology demonstration and a work in progress. It has known issues and can destroy data. DO NOT USE in a production environment. ALWAYS keep backups of the databases in a state before syncing.

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 2.3.5 (click here to download the latest version).

Then click DEVONthink Sync public beta 1 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. If the plugin fries your cat don’t say we didn’t tell you that it could.

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? In the weeks to come we will fix all the issues we are or become aware of and implement the rest of the speed improvements that make the “fetching remote records” phase of Dropbox and WebDAV syncs much, much faster. We plan to release the next public beta within the next few weeks.

115 Responses to “DEVONthink sync technology — public beta 1”

  1. eboehnisch says:

    Yes, it will be a free update for all users. I will share news about it here in my blog soon.

  2. eboehnisch says:

    As soon as it is ready. I will share news here in my blog soon.

  3. Kerry Dawson says:

    I came across the beta sync files created in June for DEVONthink. Is it worth trying this or should I just stick with my tried and true Chronosync for now. I like though, very much, that you’re planning on using Dropbox as one method of providing sync.

  4. eboehnisch says:

    Please wait a little longer and we’ll post a second beta that is e.g. also 64-bit compatible.

  5. Fletcher says:

    Will the new sync code finally allow the use of Smart Groups to populate PDFs onto iOS devices?

    I use OpenMeta/DEVONThink to flag which PDFs need to be read, in addition to tagging for subject matter. In order for the iOS apps to be really useful for me, I would like to be able to sync, for example “unread documents that are tagged ‘topic_one'”. Smart groups handle this just fine on the Mac side, but there’s no way to get those files to my iPad without manually dragging them to the Mobile Sync folder.

    Thanks, and looking forward to seeing what comes of this!

  6. The new sync will enable seamless sync with DEVONthink To Go 2. Smart groups are hard as they are, technically, only saved search queries and so require the iOS app to support *all operators* of the Mac app. But we have plans to see what we can do here.

  7. Fletcher says:

    In searching through support forums, I find multiple vague references to being unable to sync Smart Groups to iOS devices. But none of these are backed up with technical reasons why it is not possible to copy a PDF to an iPhone because it is contained in a group that is defined by logic and not a group that is defined by dragging and dropping files into it.

    I suspect there is a preconceived idea amongst the developers that syncing a Smart Group on the Mac to a static group on the iPhone or iPad is impossible, but if you start from the assumption that it *can* be done, I am quite certain you will find it possible. If you don’t believe this to be correct, then I challenge you to post details of why it is impossible to the forums and open it up for help from the community. There are lots of smart people who love using DEVONThink who I imagine would welcome the opportunity to make this app better.

    I suspect most/many of us who need the ability to sync a smart group on the Mac don’t really care whether the folder on the iOS app is a smart group or a static group. We just want to be able to move the right files to their portable devices. I have many very complex smart groups from iTunes that sync just fine to my iPhone, even if the underlying logic doesn’t sync. I don’t care if my iPhone doesn’t understand *why* the songs are in the folder — I just want my music to go with me.

    I implore you to rethink your assumptions about why you think this won’t work. I assure you that it can be done if you just rethink the problem. It would make sync *much* more useful to be able to automatically sync new documents, flagged documents, etc. without having to manually find them and replicate them.

  8. kate says:

    I have installed the sync beta and have placed the files in the appropriate Plugins folder, but when i click ‘Sync’ in preferences, no preferences show up. I have tried restarting the application twice and still there are no Sync preference settings when I click that button.

  9. AHCT says:

    Same problem as Kate!

  10. Chris Speda says:

    Same problem. The sync option will display nothing .-)
    Help … Chris

  11. eboehnisch says:

    @Chris Speda: Are you using the latest beta?

  12. Max says:

    Same problem as Kate. Where do I find the latest beta?

  13. Adam says:

    Hmm. I followed the directions — put things in the “Mobile Sync” folder, go to app, select sync … then here’s the hangup. I see my computer on my network, when I tap (on the phone / in-app), nothing happens.

    What else do I need to do?

  14. eboehnisch says:

    @ Adam: Maybe your router is blocking the communication. Please try to create an ad-hoc from the Wi-Fi menulet on your Mac and connect to it from your iOS device. Does the sync work now? It it does it’s your router.

    Also please use the Contact or Support pagse to get support, not blog comments. Thank you.