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DEVONthink 2.5 Released with Sync, Updated Web Sharing

[Note that although the below blog post was true at the time, the sync engine in DEVONthink 2.9.5 (described in the third edition of this book) is different once again. -Tonya]

When we released the second edition of Take Control of Getting Started with DEVONthink 2—almost exactly a year ago, in March 2012—I included a chapter about a new database syncing capability that, at the time, was in beta testing with a final release expected within a few months. On page 154, I wrote:

This book is being published before the public beta test is finished, and the sync feature is likely to change somewhat before it’s finalized. Therefore, in this chapter I provide only an overview of this new feature and omit specific, step-by-step details. Instead, I plan to create a screencast that will walk you through the entire process. I’ll make that available at some point after DEVONthink version 2.5 has shipped…

It took longer than anyone had anticipated, but DEVONthink version 2.5 finally shipped last week (see DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.5 in TidBITS, 28 February 2013), and finally the sync feature is available to everyone. (DEVONthink 2.5 includes quite a few other changes, too, including a greatly revamped Web sharing feature.) Not only that, but DEVONtechnologies has their own screencast about using the sync feature that’s probably even better than what I would have come up with myself. So instead of creating my own, I’ll refer you to theirs. You can view it within DEVONthink by choosing Help > Tutorials and clicking the link to the Synchronizing tutorial (if it’s not immediately visible, click the left or right arrow to navigate to it) or on the Vimeo Web site.

The way syncing works has changed a bit over the last year; the layout of the Sync preference pane (an early version of which appeared in Figure 56 on page 156) is slightly different, and DEVONthink no longer uses the term “Folder” (see p. 158) for a copy of your database on a local or network volume; instead, that’s now called a Local Sync Store. Otherwise, pretty much everything I said in the book is still correct. However, there is a workaround to a problem I described in the “Syncing with Dropbox” sidebar on page 160, in which syncing with Dropbox duplicates all your data. Choose Preferences from the Dropbox menu, click Advanced, click the Change Settings button next to Selective Sync, and deselect DEVONthink within the Apps folder. That way, your Mac won’t store yet another copy of your entire database locally, wasting considerable disk space.

As for Web sharing, which I discuss starting on page 178, the layout and wording in the Server preference pane is a bit different now. Apart from some wording differences, the most significant change is the addition of a checkbox: “Convert images & PDF documents to searchable PDF.” If you select that checkbox, then image files and PDFs uploaded to your database over the Web will be made searchable automatically, just as if you had selected the documents in your own database and chosen Data > Convert > to Searchable PDF.

The Web interface itself—what people see when they connect to your DEVONthink server—is also considerably improved. It’s more pleasant to look at, especially on an iOS device, and has additional features such as support for renaming, moving, grouping, tagging, and deleting existing documents; and adding plain text documents (not just notes).