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Jody Severson 2008-07-13 04:38 PM

Recommended practice?
I am beta testing 1.1 and notice that OF will sometimes ask me whether I want to use the local copy or the server copy, and sometimes also apparently requires a new window to be opened. What diff does it make either way?

Somewhere today I lost a set of changes made on my MacBook. I suspect it was just me not fully understanding how the sync protocol behaves.

Is it better to have OF running on just one machine? Are there any tips for when and how to sync if you are using two machines?


tomben 2008-07-13 07:00 PM

When you have to choose which copy to use, that means things have gone wrong, and the syncing isn't working. I've had it happen a couple of times and sent in a bug report.

Here's why it can be bad; imagine this timeline:

1:00 pm - computer, server, iphone in sync. (Computer has data set A, serve has data set A, iPhone has data set A.)

2:00 pm - computer content updated, and synced to server. ([B]Computer has data set B, server has dataset B[/B], iPhone has dataset A.)

3:00 pm - iphone content updated, but not synced.(Computer has data set B, server has dataset B, [B]iPhone has dataset C[/B].)

4:00 pm - iphone sync attempted and fails. Now you have to choose between keeping the changes you made on the iphone (Dataset C) OR grabbing the copy off the server which has different changes in it (Dataset B).

You can only chose one to keep, so you are going to lose data. You lose either the changes between A and B *or* the changes between A and C.

This is a classic data syncing problem, and I haven't really even looked at how OF tries to fix it. The example is also a worst case scenario. If you haven't made changes on the iPhone for example, then you know you can safely pull from the server, etc. And I haven't tried it across multiple computeres, so I'll leave those details for someone else. =)

Jody Severson 2008-07-13 08:13 PM

Thanks. That sound like exactly what happened. So the safest thing to do would be to have only one instance of OF running on one machine at a time, sync it to the server upon signing off, and then when starting OF on a second machine go right to the server to get it synced.

Ken Case 2008-07-13 10:01 PM

We fixed a bug earlier today which caused the "local" vs. "server" prompt to not work properly when you chose "server": it would copy the data from the server, but leave you editing the old local data. In normal operation, you should only have to choose once and never again.

It's not necessary to close your document while syncing: OmniFocus individually tracks each change you make on each side, and applies merges those changes together when you sync.

(You can, of course, make nonsensical conflicting changes such as deleting an action on one computer while marking it complete on another. OmniFocus resolves these conflicts by taking whichever change happened last.)

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