Using DropBox with TMG – Conclusion

I’ve written previously about my experiments with DropBox as a way to keep my TMG project in sync. Today I have abandoned the experiment.

It isn’t because it doesn’t work – it works very well. As long as you are disciplined it works very well. You have to:

  • Close TMG on one machine before opening it on another
  • Give DropBox a chance to upload changes before turning off the machine
  • Give Dropbox a chance to download changes on the other machine before opening TMG

All of this didn’t cause me any problems after an initial period of adjustment. What caused problems for me was having projects in more than one place.

I’d originally copied my project to the DropBox folder rather than moving it. Initially I wanted it as a backup, and then I just forgot it was there.

All the other projects I work with remained where they were. I have multiple client projects going at any one time, and they all stayed in the default TMG folder. I didn’t want them on both computers. So my default folder for opening a project remained the same.

I had been working on a couple of client projects and then I added quite a few new people from a chart a relative had sent me some time ago.¬†When I went back to my project they were gone. I wasn’t sure which project I had used, the DropBox one or the default one? Neither machine had the new people in either folder, and my heart sank. I’d felt guilty taking the time to enter them in the first place; I really didn’t have time to do it all over again.

I was saved by a backup. I had continued to allow TMG to save my backups to the same place when I closed it down. The second-to-last one of these had my new people in it.

I could probably work out how this disaster happened in the first place and put another procedure in place to avoid it, but the truth is that the risk of issues like this outweighs the benefits of the almost instant synchronisation between machines that DropBox gives me.

So I’ve given up.

I have another method of synchronisation in place that I use for everything that is NOT on DropBox, and maybe this was the cause of the problem. Perhaps if I only ever worked with the one project I wouldn’t have had a problem, or if I used DropBox for all projects. My free 2GB account may have been overloaded. There is just not enough time in my day to spend it trying to resolve these sorts of problems.

I don’t want to dissuade anyone from trying it, though. Just letting you know my experience.