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Warning from OMNI: iDisk Sync can report false conflicts Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
We recently spent some time trying to figure out what was going on with an iDisk sync conflict (as reported by MacBerry):

The conflict dialog indicates that the local copy of the database is more recent and contains more data, but it turns out the dialog was in error: MobileMe actually did have all of his most recent sync data (not just 1 byte of older data), which we verified by connecting directly to the MobileMe WebDAV server and scanning its file list. And, unfortunately, the local copy of his database (that the dialog suggested he keep) was actually missing some data.

This means that if MacBerry had done the intuitively obvious thing and said to keep the most recently updated copy, he would have corrupted his sync database! (This appears to be a frequent cause of "no root transaction found in document" errors while syncing.)

After confirming that we actually did want to keep the MobileMe copy, we selected "Back Up Database" from OmniFocus' File menu (just to be careful—we're paranoid that way), then went back to the Sync Conflict dialog and chose MobileMe. That correctly resolved the error, and his iDisk started successfully syncing again.

The lesson here is to always preserve the MobileMe copy of OmniFocus.ofocus if it appears in a conflict dialog, since OmniFocus is syncing directly with the MobileMe server and not with your local iDisk. In theory, nothing should be modifying OmniFocus.ofocus on your local iDisk, so there is no reason you would ever want to keep any local edits to it.

You can completely eliminate any possibility of this conflict by turning off iDisk syncing, so that your computer is always working directly with iDisk on the MobileMe server itself rather than having a local copy that might get into conflict. You can make this change by opening up the MobileMe pane of system preferences, as pictured in this screen shot below:

Clicking the Stop button will turn off iDisk Syncing.

Please note that iDisk synchronization is a totally separate sync process from the one that OmniFocus uses, so we don't completely understand the issue (and can't fix it ourselves). We're reporting the problem to Apple, and encourage you to do the same—and if you happen to notice any pattern to these conflicts, we'd love to hear from you so that we can try to understand the problem better.

Once again, if you do leave MobileMe syncing enabled and you encounter one of these conflict dialogs, please remember to always keep the MobileMe copy of OmniFocus.ofocus—even if the conflict dialog seems to indicate that it's older or impossibly small.

Many thanks to MacBerry for helping us diagnose this issue!

Update: We still don't know exactly what's causing this issue, but several of our users have reported that they were able to stop these false conflict reports (and the data corruption they can cause if you're not careful) by telling their copies of OmniFocus to sync to the top-level "Backup" folder on their iDisk, instead of the "Documents" folder.

It appears that the Backup folder is excluded from the iDisk sync process; that appears to prevent the sync conflicts mentioned above. If you're using any other software that uses that backup folder on your iDisk, please proceed with caution! Contact the support ninjas if you have more questions.

Last edited by Brian; 2011-01-07 at 10:13 AM.. Reason: removed broken image link

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