Dropbox/SugarSync: Alternative to IntelliShare

by JL Beeken on 12-07-2011

The last post on running Legacy from Dropbox on my two computers led me to thinking this might also be able be used as an alternative to IntelliShare. I believe the concept of IntelliShare was probably put together prior to the ease of online file-sharing. It seems so obvious now I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.

Instead of merging family files from other people endlessly, it should be possible to do a merge of all existing files once and then put the combined file in a shared folder on Dropbox or SugarSync and work on just that one.

DropboxIntelliShare is a variation of the Merge function in Legacy and the merge of family files is conducted on a regular basis. It’s not just one merge and you’re done. It’s one merge followed by another merge and another merge for as long as the participants have time and energy.

What I learned from my recent experiments with Cuz is that merging other people’s files can be incredibly aggravating. This involves merging individuals with almost the same data but not quite the same, sorting through and deleting almost-the-same-but-not-quite-the-same sources, cleaning up variations in the location lists, spelling errors, errors in event transcription and alternate uses or misuses of Legacy’s multitudinous data entry options.

Add to that her insistence on changing the numbering format for the MRIN Filing System and the related Source Citation File IDs and you might wish you’d never started this nightmare, just speaking for myself. Oddly, my frustration with this coincided with the onset of debilitating wrist pain so I’ve been able to ignore her, and it, for awhile.

Here’s what I’m proposing instead and it’s not without its challenges either but it might be easier than the endless Merge process.

A free account at SugarSync provides 5GB of online storage, so there might be room for Legacy, Legacy Backups, attached source documentation and people/place photographs. The total of my related folders is 3GB right now which includes 1,967 source documents and 436 photographs. That’s not the whole thing by miles but just the parts that would allow the sharing of the Legacy database itself.

Both people would have to have Legacy installed on their computers because it won’t work without it, (or whatever other database software you use.) Both people would have a SugarSync or Dropbox account, whichever would work for you.

SugarSyncIn my case, a copy of the Legacy Data folder would be copied into a folder in SugarSync, along with folders of the attached source documentation and photos and set as a Shared folder between the participants.

One issue that comes to mind in regards to sharing the entire Legacy installation folder instead of just the Data folder is the Multimedia Paths.

If I go to Options/Customize/Locations/View Current List of Multimedia Locations/

my path would be set as:

C:\Users\JL\Documents\.....

and on Cuz’ computer would have a different username, so I think this wouldn’t work.

If we only share the Data folder then we’re running the settings individually (fonts, colors, other computer-specific options) on our own computers. I’d have to look into this in more detail to see which other folders and files to include and which not to.

We would still have to compromise on data entry methods as talked about in the IntelliShare posts but at least we can see in real time where our conflicts are and where our similarities are. And, most importantly, what work does not need repeating. I like to think we’re able to come to a place of discussion and peaceful compromise rather than going at each other with our caveman clubs.

Between myself and Cuz I don’t think there was that much in the way of serious differences between us. Although she may think so. I learned things from her methods that I thought were more intelligent than what I was doing so I’ve changed. Maybe she could like some things I do better. Maybe.

If you can find someone agreeable to sharing a database at a distance, the only serious caveat that I see so far is that both people can’t be working on the database at the same time without creating conflicted copies. So it would be a matter of keeping an eye on the sync icon to let you know when those files are being used on the other person’s computer.

I called Cuz last night to talk about this but we got side-tracked on issues concerning The Living so I’ll have to get back to you on the outcome. Has anyone already tried this and have any insight to offer?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred Schwilk 12-08-2011 at 7:05 PM

I use Dropbox and Legacy on my desktop and laptop computers. Both computers can not have the same *.fdb files open at the same time without getting “conflicts”. This means you and Cuz will have to schedule different times to use your shared file.
Fred
San Jose, California

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JL 12-08-2011 at 7:10 PM

I know what you mean. I have it set up that way on my two computers too. First step: talk Cuz into this idea.

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Phillip Blake 12-09-2011 at 11:17 AM

SugarSync is definitely a useful tool but I honestly still prefer GoodSync by Siber Systems. It is very easy to use and has great live tech support by phone based right here in the U.S.

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JL 12-09-2011 at 11:33 AM

Thanks for telling us about that. I notice it’s a paid product and not everyone can afford that so I tend toward recommending free tools if they’re sufficient for the task.

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