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-   -   Sync with new Dropbox API [DropBox is great, but not well-suited to OF sync.] (

kint 2008-08-10 05:12 AM

Sync with new Dropbox API [DropBox is great, but not well-suited to OF sync.]

I am wondering whether draggin' & droppin' my OF database in my Dropbox would work.:confused:
I would then have my OF data available both on my laptop and desktop computers:)

I've never tried it for fear that I lose the info contained in my OF database.

I'd be very interested in hearing of your experience.


dphelps1 2008-08-17 04:50 AM

I just got an invitation to Dropbox, which is just like iDisk. I was wondering can I sync between Omnifocus iPhone and 1.1 using that?

whpalmer4 2008-08-17 10:05 AM

Only if it provides WebDAV access, and I don't see anything suggesting it does.

chinarut 2008-09-11 06:33 PM

heads up the thread was forwarded [URL=""]here[/URL]

chinarut 2008-09-11 06:36 PM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;44965]Only if it provides WebDAV access, and I don't see anything suggesting it does.[/QUOTE]

You mean if I put OmniFocus in "Disk" mode and limit syncing between my laptop and desktop (not my iPhone) - it won't work?

I do not intend to access the OF database concurrently (though from the demo video - it does seem to sync rather fast...)

whpalmer4 2008-09-11 09:33 PM

My recollection of the demo video was that there wasn't anything to suggest they were shoveling a big file around. I just got my invitation earlier today, so I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.

If you are setting up OmniFocus on the desktop to sync via the Disk option in the Sync preferences, and are careful to only ever have the program running on one machine at a time, it might work. But to sync with an iPhone as the original poster asked does require WebDAV at the moment.

Andrew 2008-09-12 09:10 AM

Chinarut, I strongly recommend against it. We haven't tested it, and in theory Disk mode syncing should work if everything else works perfectly, but if you *EVER* have changes on two different machines and DropBox merges them, you are quite likely to lose data, because DropBox is not going to update the information that lets an OmniFocus client know what changes have been incorporated on each client.

chinarut 2008-09-12 02:29 PM

ok - sounds like I won't proceed with the "Disk mode experiment" to save myself the headache.

Just a heads up 3 of us from the OF community are chiming in:



timwayne 2008-12-26 02:12 PM

Syncing with Dropbox

I've been using Dropbox to sync data between my work mac and home mac. It's a great ap. Here's lifehacker's post on it: [url][/url] Some people use Dropbox to sync their passwords: [url][/url]

I've been trying to figure out how to make Omnifocus put its files in the dropbox so that I can run the same omnifocus file at work as at home. However, I cannot figure out where Omnifocus saves its regular database (not backups). Where, oh where, does Omnifocus save its ongoing database and how do I make it move to another location? (namely, a designated folder in th drop box) ?

Tim in San Francisco

whpalmer4 2008-12-26 05:18 PM

In short, you don't. It puts it in ~/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/OmniFocus.ofocus and no longer allows you to specify another location. You could do the sync to disk option and specify another location (your Dropbox folder, for example), but your primary database will still be in the Library tree. I'd be a little cautious about trusting Dropbox with your data, as it doesn't understand the locking protocols used by OmniFocus to keep your data safe when multiple parties might be writing at once. I would personally just use a USB drive and the sync to disk option (or the WebDAV option if I had a suitable server available), unless some extensive testing shows that there is no possibility of data corruption.

rladd 2009-01-31 07:28 AM

Syncing with DropBox

I'm trying to use DropBox for syncing OF on home and work computers.

When I tried doing that last night after getting home from work, my home computer's OF data seemed to overwrite my dropbox file, rather than the other way around.

I'm not certain that I quit OF before I left work... could that cause the problem? Sorry, I think I'm a little confused about how syncing works.

Would I be better off saving a backup file to DropBox and then restoring from the backup? I already tried that approach, but although it seemed to work, I got an unhelpful error message and I noticed that the perspectives I created in OF at work didn't show up when I restored the file at home.

Many thanks,

iNik 2009-01-31 07:47 AM

Here's the thing; OmniFocus' built in syncing is an item-level sync. So an update to a few items on one client and updates to a few other items on another client get merged on each sync. It even handles conflict situations wherein the same item gets updated on multiple clients before being sync'd.

When you do any other kind of syncing, you lose this intelligence. Instead you have a file-level sync. So File A overwrites File B. This gets even more complicated, because OmniFocus' document is actually a package containing lots of tiny documents (like a digital Russian nesting doll). So many sync processes will end up merging those internal files, which causes no end of craziness. DropBox is one such sync'ing agent.

If you want to roll your own sync and do a file-level sync, you are going to have to be VERY careful, and follow this process EVERY TIME you use OmniFocus:

1. Sync to server
2. Open OF, do your thing
3. Close OmniFocus
4. Sync to server

If you do not follow this procedure every time, you will end up with conflicts. Conflicts will lose data.

As I mentioned in the post that spawned this one (according to the PM you sent me), in order to get DropBox to work, I also created certain scripts that would force a remote OmniFocus session to quit.

My advice: Stick with WebDAV/Mobile Me or Bonjour syncing. Omni's done a great job with the syncing process. Unless you're as anal retentive about technical stuff as I am, you're just inviting pain.

Check out [url=]this post[/url] for information on alternate syncing arrangements that might make your life easier. The one I'm using is quite stupidly complex, and I cannot recommend it to anyone else, even though it does set a nice balance between speed and ubiquity.

rladd 2009-01-31 09:30 AM

Thanks a lot. Very helpful. I think I may decide to delete my OF database at home and in my Dropbox and start over using my existing OF database at work (assuming it still contains the changes I made to it yesterday). I may decide to use my home Mac just to view (not change) my data, since I'm using OF mainly for work-related projects.

It does seem like the backup approach should work more easily for me though, since (I assume) it is a file level backup.

My overall goal is to get to the point where OF actually helps me get stuff done rather than being another project in itself... gee wouldn't that be nice? ;)

CatOne 2009-01-31 11:48 AM

Why not use a WebDAV server (which is supported) rather than using Dropbox?

iNik 2009-01-31 03:17 PM

You can also just export your OmniFocus setup as an HTML file to make it easy to view elsewhere. But I have to agree with CatOne -- why not just use WebDAV?

mmb 2009-01-31 03:43 PM

I was doing a lot of this same nonsense with dropbox, etc. I set up webDAV today w/ bingodisk in about 5 minutes. Problem solved. iPhone and 2 laptops working beautifully.

Highly recommended.

P.S. I'm not pitching for bingo specifically. The free services that I looked at, ([url][/url]) and swissdisk, should have worked fine, too. I ended up going for lowest possible latency and paid $20 for it.

rladd 2009-02-01 05:20 AM

Thanks everyone... I learned a lot from your posts. I think I'm going to try syncing with bingodisk.

invictus26 2010-05-13 07:24 AM

Sync with new Dropbox API
Dropbox recently announced an API that can be used to sync data. I don't know exactly what's possible because you have to be a developer and apply for access, but I think it would be great to sync OF between computers and to the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch. Is this a possibility? I'm sure it would be so much faster and more reliable than MobileMe or other WebDAV providers.

Brian 2010-05-13 03:10 PM

Thanks for the heads-up! I had missed that announcement somehow. I'm not qualified to have an opinion on whether we can use their API to do sync OmniFocus. I'll be sure to mention this to thems what are qualified, however. :-)

kunicki 2010-05-13 11:22 PM

I couldnt agree more. I was excited to see they have an API now. Benefit of dropbox is its free and VERY easy for people to setup. I use it across 3 macs, 2 windows installations and 2 iphones. And its always reliable.

It would be wonderful if OF implemented this support. Basically you would be giving your users a very easy and free way to setup syncing.

Brian 2010-05-18 05:20 PM

Looks like we have an item open on dropbox integration in the development database - folks that would like to see this added should email the [EMAIL=""]support ninjas[/EMAIL] so they can attach you to that item in the development database.

The number of folks requesting a given change is one of the items that we use when planning out our work; items with more customer interest behind them tend to happen more quickly. Thanks, everyone!

Cameron 2010-06-01 12:49 PM

Thanks for the heads up. Just sent in my request!

bonobos 2010-06-02 10:30 PM

Just emailed in to add myself to the list as well!

Great idea :)

Brian 2010-08-05 01:13 PM

Posted some relevant info in [URL=""]another thread[/URL] but forgot to link to it in this one:

[QUOTE=Brian;81304]DropBox is really great for syncing individual files around, but the way OmniFocus databases are set up - collections of files with a meaningful relationship between them - isn't handled as well. This isn't a criticism - their service just wasn't designed with files like ours in mind.

There is plenty of demand for this, and we're certainly considering it, but it's not going to be trivial to do...

invictus26 2010-08-05 01:24 PM

I don't know how relevant it would be, but 1Password just added Dropbox syncing for their Mac, iPhone and iPad apps and it works great. You might look at how they do it and see if that would work for OF.

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