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Some helpful sync arrangements that are unlikely to blow up in your face Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I've done a bunch of experiments with different sync setups, now that OmniFocus can read attached documents. With larger files, 3G sync gets pretty awful, so I wanted to switch to Bonjour. But I STILL have multiple Macs in different locations that both need access to OF. And I have an iPhone. So Bonjour alone won't cover it. Here's some experiences I've had:


Having two computers simultaneously access the same ofocus file in any way. It locks itself to avoid this, and with good reason. Even bypassing the lock (no, I'm not going to tell you how I did that -- it was ugly as heck), simultaneous writes to the file just blew up at me and corrupted the file or just failed to commit. Bleah.

So that left me with one computer at a time. I built in some scripts and remote access to ensure that I could quit the OmniFocus app on one computer prior to running it on another.

Reading OmniFocus directly from an internet-based network disk. I tried MacFUSE/SSHFS, AFP with a hole in my firewall, a WebDAV server and more. The connection was too flaky and when it died, I sometimes ended up with a corrupt .ofocus file.

Putting OmniFocus on my Mobile Me iDisk and syncing it, then accessing the file directly from there. Again, it could put the ofocus file in an unreliable state. Having multiple computers access it at once was nightmarish when Sync hit.


Again, one computer at a time is a necessity for these methods:

Scripting an SFTP Net Disk mirror with Interarchy so that changes were instantly propogated to the server.

DropBox. Really, it worked great. I just had to be darn sure the other computer had quit before syncing up.

Syncing directly between computers (used both Unison and Chronosync -- Chronosync worked better) worked fine, but got even more persnickety about network connections and so forth. Using an intermediary trusted server is a must there.


"Fake" WebDAV. I created a webDAV server on my local Mac and punched a hole through the firewall for my remote Mac. However, the DNS entry was set up differently for each network. My iPhone is syncing to "MyServer.local" (the Bonjour entry) and the work computer is syncing to a DynDNS-set domain which is accessible over the internet.

So the remote Mac syncs at slow internet speeds (since I have a fairly pokey upstream connection from home). Not a big deal, since that's still faster than 3G, and it can sync constantly rather than in batches. The iPhone, meanwhile, is only capable of syncing when it's on my local wireless network. So that's just as fast as Bonjour.

I can also choose to sync the iPhone over the internet by changing the address of the WebDAV server to the dyndns address.

ShareTool (which has been mentioned on these forums elsewhere) also worked quite well.


I enjoy iDisk syncing for Mobile Me, but it does wreak havoc on OmniFocus. I got around this by syncing OmniFocus to my Backup directory, which is not sync'd locally. (You could probably use the Library directory, too, but I don't trust it as well) So the sync path is "". Then I can sync my documents without syncing OmniFocus.

Last edited by iNik; 2008-12-14 at 08:42 AM..
Great post, thanks for doing all that legwork! Good to know that MobileMe Backup directory trick, in particular...
Thanks a million for all of this great research! The MobileMe backup directory tip is brilliant!! I was tearing my hair out with MobileMe sync and about to bail and just use Bonjour. This is a big life-saver.

OmniGroup should consider making either the backup directory, or one of the other online (non-synced) directories the default for MobileMe syncing. I think it would save a lot of people a lot of headache in future.

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