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cnewtonne 04-09-2015 09:58 AM

UR and the cloud, again
Hi there ...
It has been years since I posted to these forums. However, My use of UR was as enthusiastic as ever since I purchased it in 2009.

In the past few years, I have been moving slowly to Evernote as a paid subscriber. It served me well, but I continued to UR mostly for task management. I relied on dropbox to keep my Ur file synced across the 3 PCs I use almost on a daily basis. However, I just can no longer bare with 'ConflictedCopy' problem that comes up weekly. It is hard to resolve and most times I find myself spending hours to fix it.

I know UR had traditionally suggested resorting to such techniques as using Dropbox, flash drives, or screen sharing. It just does not work.

I'm not sure what Kinook plans are or how to interpret the lack of development in the past few years. Why are they not attacking this problem in any serious manner. Is UR hitting major technology or financial hurdles that are preventing it from continuing to evolve. I sincerely, hope not.

The problem of syncing data cross multiple PCs is not an easy one. I read that all the time. However, many companies are moving forward on executing on a some solution. For example, OmniOutliner produced OmniPresence, Scrivener is currently working on a dropbox based sync solution, NovaMind is going through a full cloud transformation. OnceNote has done the same, MyBase has a web client as well. Where is Kinook from all of this?

I can propose some potential solutions.

1) At a minimum, we need an UR native method that protects UR databases from 'conlicted copies' issues on dropbox. Scrivener, for example, detects when same project is opened from a dropbox folder if it is already opened on 2nd machine. Can we at least have UR do the same?

2) There are database based replication software out there that are database agnostic and should work with SQLLite. They claim to offer bi-directional sync and full replication. I do not mind being charged a yearly substitution fee to host my UR DBs on a kinook server that allows my multiple PCs to replicate with it. Moving to a subcrition based revenue is the only grantee for a long term survival for Kinook.

Examples of sqllite replication software

- Raft consensus protocol
- SymmetricDS (SQlite is listed as supported)
- CopyCat LiveMirror / CopyCat DataMerge

Kinook ...
I would love to hear your feedback on the above. Appreciate your kind attention.

kinook 04-09-2015 10:35 AM

I doubt that any database synchronization software could reliably synchronize (at the database level) changes you make in 2 copies of a UR database, and that's not something we have the resources to implement. I think your best option would be to ensure that you're always working on the latest version of the URD file by waiting for Dropbox to sync it before editing. Also make sure you're setup to minimize updates to a database while open in UR:

cnewtonne 04-09-2015 04:03 PM

Can you, for example, ...

1) Include an idle timeout in the app so that it closes itself if nn minutes of idle time.
2) Include startup check to alert user if urd file is open by another instance (from a dropbox folder).
3) Add an option where user can gracefully close the urd file so it can open up from another machine.

There is got to be a way to accomplish this. Please help alleviate the pain of using UR over dropbox.

kinook 04-09-2015 04:51 PM

It appears to be a shortcoming of Dropbox. I tested with Google Drive on two computers (multi-user mode disabled in UR, leaving the database open in UR on both machines):

1) Created a test URD file on computer A, after a few seconds it synced to computer B
2) Opened the test URD on computer B
3) On computer A, modified an item
4) On computer B, selected that item, it shows the modifications from computer A
5) On computer B, modified the same item
6) On computer A, refreshed or selected another item and returned to that item, it shows the modifications from computer B
7) On computer A, inserted a new item
8) On computer B, chose Tree | Refresh All, and the new item from computer A is displayed
9) On computer B, inserted another item
10) On computer A, Tree | Refresh All shows the new item from computer B

Pretty slick. Reminders created on one computer show up on the other one without even refreshing.

Oddly, Dropbox is able to sync the new URD file after it's created and still open in UR, but it doesn't seem to properly sync subsequent changes while still open.

cnewtonne 04-10-2015 09:41 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for taking the time to test it this way. It does work even with Dropbox, the problem is when 2 saves occur next to each other in time so that both clients upload at the same time. Testing this on gdrive, I saw both machines uploading which caused a conflict.

This functionality must be native to the app. If we can't fix it, I proposed some workarounds in my previous post. Minimizing 'saves' will help, but the risk is always there.

I'm not sure if UR can 'merge' to urd files, I propose this would be a complex task to do.

Another approach is for UR to allow a user to save a single urd file in a kinook cloud and have a desktop client connect to it. Eliminating 3rd party intermediaries like dropbox and the likes.

I know the current state of software technology is capable of solving it, but it appears Kinook is not yet sold on the idea.

cnewtonne 04-10-2015 10:00 AM

For now, I'll work around it by installing a job scheduler job on all 3 machines that reads a file I put on dropbox within same urd folder. It runs every 5 minute. The name of such file reflects the machine name. When present, the job running on the corresponding machine, will detect it and cause the running UR instance to close. This way I 'remotely' close UR instance that I forget to close and eliminate conflicts. It is sad to have to resort to such tactics, but UR is so critical to my digital life, I can't be as productive and ahead of the competition without it.

kinook 09-27-2019 10:54 PM

Added /exit command-line option in v6.0.

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