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Syncing via Sync Server and Bonjour? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Is it possible to sync via the Omni Sync Server AND Bonjour without changing settings? For instance, at home I have a slow Internet connection and the Sync Server is slow, but would like to sync directly over Bonjour between my iPhone and Mac. Yet, on the road I like using the Sync Server. Some apps like Dropbox can detect which is faster and do both.

I am pretty sure you can't do both as it is now, but is there any harm in manually switching the sync settings back and forth? So, when I am home I can switch to Bonjour, but when I go on a trip switch back to the Sync Server. Will this mess things up?

In addition to the sync info each of your devices uses, OmniFocus' sync depends on an extra server database that your devices all know to look at for updates. When Bonjour sync is turned on, OmniFocus on your Mac actually creates that extra copy of your data and fires up a web server on your local network. (It's completely replacing the sync server, in other words, and stores the "server" info separately from it's own info.)

On a purely technical level, yeah, this can work, but it's not really designed to be used this way and I can see problems happening down the line. Our sync server has one version of your data, the bonjour info has another version, and at some point the version you have on your device(s) isn't the one you want.

In general, OmniFocus expects you to pick the best sync method for you and to stick with it, not bounce around frequently. If "use bonjour unless I go on a trip, then switch to the Omni server" is the best work flow for you, that should work, but I wouldn't switch every day or multiple times a day or anything...
Oh man - and I forgot to mention that if you haven't already tried them, the tips in this thread will speed up OmniFocus' sync as much as possible, regardless of what sync method you're using.

Our goal with regards to sync speed is to have it be acceptably fast even over an EDGE cell phone connection. (Your home connection is almost certainly faster than that.)

In any case, if your syncs with our server are taking much more than 10 seconds or so, that's something we'd want to investigate...
Thanks Brian, that helps answer it. I am going to try to just stick with the Sync Server if I can, but my sync times are taking a minute to two minutes or more and sometimes failing. Yes, my home connection can be that bad (satellite with high latency and less than promised throughput -- ugh) and if I am outside my wi-fi network at home all I have is EDGE and that seems so slow that OmniFocus on my iPhone usually times out and gives me an error message.

I have only been using (trialing) OmniFocus for 5 days, so my database is not huge, though it does have a good amount of stuff in it. I am syncing several times a day as I leap from my Mac to roving about using my iPhone, so regular syncing is not a problem at all.

Not to compare apples to oranges, but I have other apps which sync on the same network situations and they do better, notably SimpleNote which is managing a large amount of notes and does it quickly on this slow connection. But, that may not be a fair comparison.

I realize my Internet situation here is rather unusual and most people are not stuck with this. Sometimes I work in a city and have normal DSL and 3G and OF was working fine. Still, a tad slow for my tastes, but nothing too noticeable.

I hope that you can find ways to improve all this. I respect the difficulty involved. Thanks.

Last edited by moses; 2010-10-12 at 08:26 PM..
Originally Posted by moses View Post
Not to compare apples to oranges, but I have other apps which sync on the same network situations and they do better, notably SimpleNote which is managing a large amount of notes and does it quickly on this slow connection. But, that may not be a fair comparison.
It's not. In the case of SimpleNote, I've watched in horror as it has destroyed my data on several occasions where parallel edits in OmniFocus were synced just fine. I'm syncing between iPod, iPad, and Mac; maybe SimpleNote nails the simpler 2 device case. I have never had OmniFocus lose data (it has duplicated data a few times, but that's fundamentally an easier thing to repair after the fact, as you've still got all the pieces!) despite syncing sometimes hundreds of times a day, and thousands of actions in the database.

I've attached a snippet of a transaction graph showing my 3 devices syncing to give an idea of how complicated a history OmniFocus is designed to handle:

Each oval is a change of some sort being applied to one or more actions on one of the devices. At the end, when the dust settles and everyone has synced, they all have the right data.

If you do want to switch sync methods, you'll want to sync all your devices before changing the settings. Then you need to be very careful about answering the questions you'll be asked about which database to keep when you switch sync methods. Attention to detail here is very important or you will lose your most recent changes, possibly without realizing it!
Thanks for the info. Glad to hear that Omni syncing has worked so well for you. In my short tests it is fine, just a little slow when on my slow Internet. I am adjusting my expectations and workflow a bit and that improves the situation. The fact that OF does over-the-air syncing to a remote server is a big reason I am switching from Things, which needs to be on the same network always, and sometimes that is a problem for me.

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