Next-generation sync now available as public beta

Sync PreferencesIt’s no secret that we have been working for quite some time on a new sync technology (code name: “DEVONcloudy”, our little cloud). It replaces the Mac-to-Mac sync presently part of DEVONthink for Mac and will be the foundation of the upcoming DEVONthink To Go 2.0.

The new sync uses direct network connections, WebDAV, or Dropbox to keep DEVONthink databases in sync between multiple Macs (and soon iOS devices). Exclusively on the Mac it can also use local sync stores, e.g. on file servers, and iCloud Drive. Apple’s implementation here makes it extremely hard to use for sync on iOS.

Today we are releasing the first beta of our new sync as a public beta. It’s feature-complete and has been tested extensively in our labs and by our closed beta tester community. But before we make it part of the official release we want to see it running smoothly on a larger scale.

Zip icon DEVONcloudy 1.0 build 30

Download the plugins using the link above. They come with installation and usage instructions included. Please read them completely. Then test this beta as thoroughly as you can and report all your findings as described in the Read Me.

In the meantime we’ll fix the remaining issues in DEVONthink To Go 2.0 before we’re going to prepare it for the App Store.

28 Responses to “Next-generation sync now available as public beta”

  1. MDomino says:

    Does that mean there will be NO local Mac-to-Mac sync in the future of DEVONthink? That was the main reason I decided to go with DEVONthink. Please do not let this feature die. There are lots of people who do not want to hand over their sensitive data to clouds they have no absolute control over.

  2. I think you’ll find that this developer is capable of supporting both bells and whistles. I would not fear losing something you use.

  3. eboehnisch says:

    @ MDomino: Of course there will still be Mac-to-Mac syncs. Read carefully and look out for “direct connections”.

  4. MDomino says:

    Great to hear, thanks. I just misinterpreted the words “it replaces Mac-to-Mac sync” by thinking that this feature will be thrown out. Glad that it stays and that I can happily continue with DEVONthink.

  5. Acky says:

    Great news! How exactly is the sync interval “automatic” working? How often does it look for updates on a remorte?

  6. eboehnisch says:

    @ Acky: If there are local changes it syncs after latest one minute; if there are no local changes it checks latest every five minutes.

  7. BONGSAM says:

    Can I make DEVONthink database directly in my iCloud Drive instead of using sync method(DEVONcloudy)?

    If possible, is there any difference between making DB in iCloud Drive and DEVONcloudy?

  8. eboehnisch says:

    @ BONGSAM: This is definitely not recommended. Our sync places a packaged, sync-able version of the database into iCloud Drive. If you put the database itself into iCloud Drive and make changes on more than just one computer at the same time you’ll end up with a broken database.

  9. Sergei says:

    Tried to install as instructed in the documents by putting to ~Library/ etc. Now Sync tab in preferences would not even open:((.

  10. eboehnisch says:

    @ Sergei: Have you made sure that you used the latest version of DEVONthink available (2.8.11)? Please open a support ticket (by sending email to support(at); comment threads are not the best place for technical support.

  11. Wolfgang says:

    Let me support MDomino. If synchronizing would be possible using cloud services only in future I had to leave.

  12. eboehnisch says:

    @ Wolfgang: No worries.

  13. Avatar says:

    I think it’s crystal clear from the introductory text above that local Mac-to-Mac syncing is indeed part of this.

    What isn’t so clear to me is why a local sync stores is “the fastest and most secure way to sync data between two Macs” – why it might be faster than a direct connection. But maybe that’s a question for another place..

  14. Jason says:

    Can you comment on how Sync is working exactly? Do you still need to put objects that you want to sync into a special “Mobile Sync” folder, or does it sync your entire DevonThink database?

    On a related note it will be very helpful — in terms of trusting that sync will work properly and not lose or corrupt the extremely important data which I keep in DevonThink — if you can publish a technical document going over how sync works and how it manages data conflicts. I am sure others feel the same way, considering that many people use this program as the rock-solid basis for different types of research, in my case for my dissertation.

  15. darwin says:

    @Jason Are you sure you will sync your dissertation with a beta-version?

  16. eboehnisch says:

    @ Jason: The Mobile Sync group is no longer necessary. This always syncs complete databases (as the Mac sync always did).

    As for conflict management etc. please simply have a look at the beta software. It’s a beta, this blog post is not intended to provide a complete documentation.

  17. eboehnisch says:

    @ Avatar: Local sync stores have the additional benefit of providing a second local copy. But, of course, direct connections are even faster. And everything is encrypted at any time as soon as you enter an encryption key.

  18. Jason Lustig says:

    @darwin : No, of course not, it would be silly to use a beta with any production environment. I was mostly asking for this in advance of the final version. With that said, I’m not sure if I can trust DT to handle syncing properly in any case based on their history of bungled attempts. I will probably hold off on using it for at least a few months before I risk my data.

    @eboehnish. Thanks for clarifying, this is the key. I want to be able to sync the whole database, so that all devices have the exact same thing. If you post a technical document that will be very helpful in assuaging any doubts about the sync service’s reliability (and also its security).

  19. Dan Langendorf says:

    I am a longtime user of DevonThink Pro but I’ve been frustrated by DevonThink ToGo, syncing, and all that. As my workflow makes extensive use of an iPad, an iPhone, and a laptop and desktop, I pretty much stick with the Mac machines and dream of the day when DevonThink ToGo actually works and is useful. I don’t mean that to be harsh, and I have been quietly patient, but now it’s time to say: With this public beta of DEVONcloudy, I must say kudos, job well done. I know there are bugs and issues — of course there are — but I finally have a DevonThink workflow I can count on. I work on the laptop, DTP is open, and I switch to an iPad later and that work is available to me reasonably quickly. It’s a wonderful feeling and my workarounds can mostly go away. Thanks for all the hard work, Eric and team. It’s greatly appreciated.

  20. Silvio says:

    This is such a godsend! Any timetable for a production version? I need this so much but don’t want to risk putting my personal finances, academic research and correspondence databases into a beta test.
    (Have I mentioned that this is absolutely awesome?)

  21. eboehnisch says:

    @ Silvio: Yes, there is a timetable. It’s just not public yet. We are still fixing minor issues as we don’t want to play digital roulette with your valuable data. But we don’t add any new features but are in the final bug-fixing only phase.

  22. […] weeks we have corrected many minor issues in our upcoming next-generation sync technology (see our post about the first beta). Before we launch it as part of the official releases of DEVONthink and before DEVONthink To Go […]

  23. Peter says:

    Would like to see the old sync events of opening/closing the database. Automatic is too slow to pick up changes and sometimes doesn’t pick up changes if I close the database too soon after making the change. I’m using local stores on local network.

  24. Ved says:

    Is there any plan to have iCloud sync on iOS devices?

  25. @ Ved: We’d like to but currently iOS’ support for iCloud Drive is not open enough for what we need. And iCloud sync itself is not suitable for databases of our sizes.

  26. Ved says:

    Eric, thanks for the response. I hope Apple improves iCloud sync soon. Did they announce anything on iCloud sync improvement in WWDC?

  27. Nev says:

    Should be CloudKit anyway, not iCloud Drive

  28. @ Ved: Nothing spotted so far. And iCloud is great for single documents, to-do lists, and calendar entries but still not ready yet for large databases such as DEVONthink databases.