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OmniFocus on Multiple Computers [USB, iDisk, .Mac, Syncing] Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
What I would really, really like is computer-to-computer synchronization (the one feature that has me still using Now Up to Date after all these years, despite its bugginess and general decrepitude) ... but I respect that Omni has made a rational choice to leave off true syncing in version 1, in order to get product out the door. So what I'm looking for is clear documentation on how to make do without true synchronization.

The forums have said you can mount OmniFocus data anywhere, and therefore it should work to carry it around on a USB key. This brings up two questions:

* Anywhere at all? So could I use a network mount and have OmniFocus running on a desktop computer at home, using the OmniFocus database on the computer in my office? And if I did that would I need to carefully shut down the copy of OmniFocus in the office before going home, and vice versa? I'm really afraid to try this without an all-clear from Omni.

* OK, let's say a network mount is a bridge too far ... so a USB key, however imperfect, is the answer. But how does one do that? There is no "open" command in the file menu of OmniFocus, and it seems to be hard-wired to use a database in Library/Application Support/OmniFocus. Am I supposed to copy the database back and forth from the USB key whenever I move location? Or maybe if I once make a copy of the database to a USB key and double-click it, OmniFocus will thereafter know that it should read and write to the key? I'm not sure where to start.

Last edited by Ken Case; 2008-01-11 at 12:35 PM..
 
You could copy the Omnifocus database to your USB thumbdrive.

From there you could double click the file to open it in OF, or if you wanted to full feature set to work, you could try an alias, or probably more likely to work a symbolic link created in the terminal.

After copying your OmniFocus file from ~/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus to your thumbdrive. Delete the copy in your Library folder, and then use a terminal command like this to create a symbolic link:

ln -s "~/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/OmniFocus.ofocus" /Volumes/thumbdrive/OmniFocus.ofocus

You will need to change thumbdrive to the volume name of your USB storage.

On the other machine, just delete the OF database file, and run the same command.

You will NEED to quit OF before ejecting the drive, or you could lose data, or screw up OF with regard to its lock file.

-P
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michal Young View Post
* Anywhere at all? So could I use a network mount and have OmniFocus running on a desktop computer at home, using the OmniFocus database on the computer in my office?
Yes, you can use a network mount. The only problem is performance; OmniFocus is not yet optimized to minimize traffic to its database, so it can be slow over a wide-area network depending on the speed of your connection.

Improving performance over a wide-area network is one of the areas we want to work on after we ship 1.0.

Quote:
And if I did that would I need to carefully shut down the copy of OmniFocus in the office before going home, and vice versa?
No, you don't have to shut down the other copy of OmniFocus; it maintains a lock file which tracks which application currently has write access to the database, and double-checks the lock before writing any changes. If your local copy no longer owns the lock, it will prompt you to reload and override.

Unfortunately, reloading currently loses whatever change you were in the middle of trying to make (since you were changing an out-of-date set of data), so it's a good idea to trigger this reload as soon as you start using a different copy. (You can do this by closing and reopening the app or by trying to make a change that you don't mind losing—it's a little awkward, but at least you don't have to go back to the other computer to quit it first!)

Since this locking logic was written we've gotten better at merging changes from multiple computers, and our plan is to get rid of the "override" prompt and just transparently merge the changes made on the other computer. But again, that's something we plan to work on after we ship 1.0.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptone View Post
After copying your OmniFocus file from ~/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus to your thumbdrive. Delete the copy in your Library folder, and then use a terminal command like this to create a symbolic link:

ln -s "~/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/OmniFocus.ofocus" /Volumes/thumbdrive/OmniFocus.ofocus

-P
If you only symlink to your OmniFocus document, your saved perspectives will not travel with you. Is this correct? If that's the case, you would also have to move the Perspectives directory and symlink that as well.
 
True, if you want to travel with perspectives, I would just symlink the whole OF folder.

-P
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptone View Post
True, if you want to travel with perspectives, I would just symlink the whole OF folder.

-P
That's what I am starting to test out today. Though I am leaving the lock file alone.
 
Support for storing your database on a USB drive is built in to OmniFocus. I don't know why people are posting some complicated instructions involving the Terminal.

Just got to Preferences. At the top of the General pane, hit the "Move" button to change the location of your database.

The only little snag that I hit was setting it up on the second computer. When I tried to direct it to the same location on my external drive, it said that there was already a file there and wanted to overwrite it with the current database on that computer. I'm not sure if Omni has smoothed out that rough edge, but it was easy enough to make a copy of the database on the external, direct the Omnifocus to overwrite, quit the program, copy the correct database back into the external drive location, then restart Omnifocus.

That worked for me and it has been working like a charm ever since. This was the one feature that I had been waiting impatiently for since I really need to be able to use the program both at home and at the office.

Hope this helps.
 
I'm looking to purchase 2 copies of OmniFocus, one for work, one at home, and use a single database residing on .Mac. I've just started using the program on my work computer. Is my idea even feasible? I really need a unified view of my data between the computers (and, eventually, on my iPhone!) :)

Great app, very clean and smooth so far.

Thanks,
Mark
 
If you only need OmniFocus open on one machine at a time, you actually only need to purchase one license. A single user may have any of our apps installed on two machines with the same license. Just quit it on one machine before launching on the other.

While .Mac syncing sounds good in theory, in practice it hasn't proved sufficiently reliable. What I'd recommend (and I know some folks, even some OmniFolk are doing) is to put the database on a USB thumbdrive.
 
A few more specifics:
Assuming computer A is where your OmniFocus database is now, here's how you'd set it up:
1) Mount the USB thumbdrive on computer A.
2) On computer A, open OmniFocus, then the General tab of the Preferences.
3) In the Database section, click the "Move to a new location" button and browse to somewhere on the USB drive.
4) Quit OmniFocus
5) Mount the USB thumbdrive on computer B.
6) On computer B, open OmniFocus, then the General tab of the Preferences.
7) In the Database section, click the "Select a different database" button and go find the file you put on the USB drive in step 3
8) Now just make sure to quit OmniFocus and eject your USB drive every time you go from one computer to the other.

Last edited by Lizard; 2008-01-11 at 04:55 PM.. Reason: updated to match new UI
 
 


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