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Sync to Dropbox from anywhere in your home folder
Authored by: Tommy_B on Oct 22, '09 02:56:57PM
no, not at all. ;) The average OS X user isn't aware of this functionality... by Apple's design I would imagine, because it can easily break if you're not familiar with how symlinks work.

With symlinks, the file paths are absolute, meaning if you move the original file, you'll break the symlink, which is bad; in contrast, you can move the original file associated with an Alias as much as you want and the system keeps track of its location so when you use the Alias, it will behave as expected. Obviously, Apple needs to cater to its widest audience, hence it's all about the Alias. It'd almost be irresponsible to build a gui into OSX itself for symlinking simply because a lot of people would end up with a disaster of broken symlinks.

To answer your question: what I do and what I recommend others do unless there is some mitigating situation not allowing this, is to treat your Dropbox folder as a "master database," which is quasi-accurate description of it as it is a representation of what Dropbox stores in the cloud. Since you're syncing each Mac to Dropbox with (I assume) the intent of maintaining identical information on both machines, it naturally follows that you'd want your "master files" stored in the Dropbox folder.

I'll illustrate by example:
(By the way, you can never be too careful. Back up your folders and files involved first just in case something goes screwy, sync is not an infallible process!)
I want to have my feeds from Vienna reader available to me on any of my Macs (there's no built in sync). When I first set it up on Mac A & had all my feeds entered, I copied the relevant folder containing the feed info into my Dropbox folder; don't change the name of the folder or the contents as you'll likely run into trouble. I then deleted the original folder the application had set up. I created a symlink from the Dropbox folder to the default directory for Vienna data files.

I launched Dropbox on Mac A and let it upload the new folder, which was then downloaded to Mac B.

I hadn't configured any feeds on Mac B's Vienna installation so I just deleted Vienna's default folder right off the bat and created a symlink from the Dropbox folder that had just synced up to the directory where the default folder had been.

open Vienna on Mac B and there are all my feeds that I created on Mac A. And I've been in sync ever since.

For illustration, the specific entry I made on the command line
ln -s /Users/xxx/Documents/Dropbox/Vienna /Users/xxx/Library/Application Support/Vienna

As long as you have the same directory structure in place on your machines, you'd use the exact same command on each, adjusting for any change you might have in username amongst your machines; my boxes all have the same username.

Of note: If the two folders you are intending to sync up start out containing different data, you'll need to merge the contents onto Mac A before you do anything, otherwise you'll lose your data on Mac B. For instance, if I had feeds on Mac B Vienna already set up, I'd export them and import them into Mac A's Vienna before starting.

One last technical disclosure for the nit picky: Vienna allows you to move the location of the actual database file containing feeds through a command line entry; however, it does not support moving the entire Application Support folder which contains other data necessary to replicate your experience from machine to machine.

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Sync to Dropbox from anywhere in your home folder
Authored by: Felix on Oct 22, '09 04:26:36PM

Sounds about like the Peter Coxhead tutorial:

http://www.pxc.me.uk/misc/dropbox_mac_use.html

Convoluted process but it works OK.



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