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~/Dropbox folder syncing issue [In Progress]

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I've been keeping Alfred 2 in sync between my MacBook Pro and Mac mini manually since the v2 beta came out, and was thrilled to see syncing finally come in.  However, after fumbling with it for an hour back and forth, I had to delete the syncing folder in Dropbox to make it stop.

 

Alterations made to the default settings in preferences on one machine (let's say starting with the Mac mini, though this went back and forth several times) would invalidate those alterations on the other machine (let's say the MacBook Pro), essentially resetting it to default preferences, including the deletion of all added themes. Attempts to correct the issue on the MacBook Pro would reset the Mac mini to default prefereces, deleting the added themes again.

 

Very frustrating. I've since set them both to where they were before manually, and neither of them are syncing with Dropbox.

 

Love the app, and love the work you guys are doing, though.  :)

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As stated in the announcement for this latest beta, if you've been using a cobbled-together hacked syncing method so far (there IS a reason we recommended against it ;) ), you'll need to first reset everything back to normal, remove any symlinking you had in place first.

 

I've been using syncing for testing purposes for about a week, using Dropbox, and everything's been going very smoothly, so ensure that you:

  1. Reset all preferences so that they are found in ~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2/ and remove any previously used sym-linking
  2. On your first Mac, go to Advanced and click "Set preferences folder..." and choose your Dropbox location so that the top of the window says "Copy your preferences into this folder"
  3. Ensure that Dropbox has time to sync to your second Mac
  4. On your second Mac, go to "Set preferences folder..." and go to the same Dropbox folder so that the top of that window says "Use the preference file already in this folder".

 

This should have you up and running with no problems :)

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I was able to get syncing working but seems like it didn't save my themes and custom searches.

 

Did you have any forced syncing setup such as symlinks? Alfred just copies the entire folder structure into into the location you set, so it would either fully work or not work at all.

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As stated in the announcement for this latest beta, if you've been using a cobbled-together hacked syncing method so far (there IS a reason we recommended against it ;) ), you'll need to first reset everything back to normal, remove any symlinking you had in place first.

 

I've been using syncing for testing purposes for about a week, using Dropbox, and everything's been going very smoothly, so ensure that you:

  1. Reset all preferences so that they are found in ~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2/ and remove any previously used sym-linking
  2. On your first Mac, go to Advanced and click "Set preferences folder..." and choose your Dropbox location so that the top of the window says "Copy your preferences into this folder"
  3. Ensure that Dropbox has time to sync to your second Mac
  4. On your second Mac, go to "Set preferences folder..." and go to the same Dropbox folder so that the top of that window says "Use the preference file already in this folder".

 

This should have you up and running with no problems :)

 

Nope. I've not been using any sym-linking. Don't even know what that means, I've just been manually changing the settings on each machine to match as the updates come.

 

I paused sync on Dropbox on my MacBook and turned the sync back on. I shut down Alfred and replaced the preferences file in Dropbox with the original from ~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2/ so my preferences would be the same, but they weren't.  Themes were gone again, too.  So again, I go through and set them back up again.  I close the prefs window, call up Alfred, and my preferences have reverted again, and my theme is gone again.  All while Dropbox is paused, so I know it's not creating any problem.

 

Help?

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Nope. I've not been using any sym-linking. Don't even know what that means, I've just been manually changing the settings on each machine to match as the updates come.

 

I paused sync on Dropbox on my MacBook and turned the sync back on. I shut down Alfred and replaced the preferences file in Dropbox with the original from ~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2/ so my preferences would be the same, but they weren't.  Themes were gone again, too.  So again, I go through and set them back up again.  I close the prefs window, call up Alfred, and my preferences have reverted again, and my theme is gone again.  All while Dropbox is paused, so I know it's not creating any problem.

 

Help?

 

You shouldn't have to manually copy any files anywhere. If Alfred is working as expected without syncing setup, delete whatever was in Dropbox, just set the sync folder to something like ~/Dropbox/Alfred. Alfred will copy the preferences he needs into this folder and then restart himself.

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Did you have any forced syncing setup such as symlinks? Alfred just copies the entire folder structure into into the location you set, so it would either fully work or not work at all.

Nope, but now it worked all right with b123 :)

 

FWIW I had a old Alfred folder at my Dropbox directory which I used for syncing Alfred 1, but I've used ~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred to sync Alfred 2 prefs

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b123 just changed some text in a label, nothing else :P

Before updating I opened com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred-Preferences.plist with xcode and removed both "syncfolder" and "NSNavLastRootDirectory" keys, and then, I renamed my old ~/Dropbox/Alfred folder to Alfred1 and with b123 I enabled syncing with "~/Dropbox/Alfred" instead of "~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred".

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Ok, I started with a clean install. Deleted the Alfred 2 app, and the data in ~/Library/Application Support. Installed a new download from the media.alfredapp.com/v2beta/ website. Set Alfred to sync to ~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred 2, then began setting preferences. Once I had it the way I wanted, I quit Alfred and started it again. My preferences were reset.

 

Please let me know when a build of Alfred makes this run better. It's the only problem I've ever had with Alfred, and I'm done fighting with him today.

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Ok, I started with a clean install. Deleted the Alfred 2 app, and the data in ~/Library/Application Support. Installed a new download from the media.alfredapp.com/v2beta/ website. Set Alfred to sync to ~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred 2, then began setting preferences. Once I had it the way I wanted, I quit Alfred and started it again. My preferences were reset.

 

Please let me know when a build of Alfred makes this run better. It's the only problem I've ever had with Alfred, and I'm done fighting with him today.

 

 

When setting the sync folder, Alfred simply sets the path for looking for settings and nothing else, it really is very simple internally.

 

All I can think is there is a permissions problem on your Mac preventing Alfred from actually persisting his data files. Could you open OS X's Disk Utility.app, select your drive and then click repair permissions.

 

You could also try setting up a completely fresh sync folder such as ~/Dropbox/Alfred/ in case the ~/Dropbox/Apps/... folder has somehow become corrupt.

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Unfortunately syncing seems to be buggy with my setup:

 

Alfred v2.0 build 123

OS X 10.8.2 German Locale

Dropbox 1.6.16

Alfred v1.3.2 build 265 still installed, but stopped

 

After losing my preferences when enabling sync on the new beta I started from scratch:

- quit Alfred 2

- deleted ~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred 2 (this was my preferred preferences location)

- deleted ~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2

- deleted ~/Library/Preferences/com.runningwithcrayons.*

 

- recreated the folder ~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred 2

- started Alfred 2, setup license data

- only changed General -> "Where are you" from "International" to "Germany" and checked Features -> Default Results -> Essentials -> Bookmarks.

- quit Alfred, restarted

- both changes kept; looking good :)

- enabled sync: Advanced -> Set preferences folder... -> ~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred 2 -> Set folder and restart Alfred

- Alfred.alfredpreferences was created in designated Dropbox-folder

- Alfred restarts and comes up on Advanced Preference Pane

- "Where are you"-setting back to "International", Default Results: Bookmarks: unchecked :(

- changed above mentioned settings again, closed Alfred Preferences window

- opened Alfred Preferences: settings reset to default!

 

So I don't even need a second Mac to kill my settings with sync: as soon as I have syncing enabled, I'm unable to change any settings which should normally be synced - immediately quitting Alfred after changing something doesn't work either: sync on -> settings lost...

 

For the records: strange symlink-pseudo-syncing was never used, Disk utility fixed all permission problems before trying this.

 

Please feel free to request more details necessary for fixing this and keep up the good work,

best regards,

 

Nico

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Unfortunately syncing seems to be buggy with my setup:

 

Could you zip up the following:

 

the preferences that were created in your ~/Dropbox/Apps/Alfred 2/

~/Library/Preferences/com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred-2.plist

~/Library/Preferences/com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred-preferences.plist

~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2/

 

If you could email them to beta@alfredapp.com, we'll take a look to work out what could be going amiss :) Thanks!

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After more investigation and experiments, it looks like the instances where users have had issues with syncing, they've been too quick at trying to set up their second Mac, causing Dropbox to get confused and create a corrupted file.

 

In summary, when setting up syncing, start with your primary Mac and let it sync fully up to Dropbox then fully back down to your second Mac. Rushing this will almost inevitably result in conflicting data in Dropbox and can be quite tricky to fix, so waiting an extra minute to ensure Dropbox has completed its sync will save you a lot of time :)

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Hi folks,

 

as mentioned above, I didn't have problems syncing the preferences to a second machine - in my setup simply enabling the sync feature on one single Mac reset all my settings which should have been synced and I was unable to permanently change stuff from that point on.

So I tried again with v2.0 build 131 - but to no avail.

 

As it turned out, the problem actually was a Dropbox problem, but nothing that could have been changed by waiting for a complete dropbox sync: I thought it would be a good idea to use a subfolder of the Dropbox "Apps" folder for keeping the Alfred prefs - a bad idea, as Dropbox is somewhat picky about this kind of special folder...

 

The "Apps" folder on your Dropbox root is the designated place for external programs using the Dropbox-API to place shared content. Maybe you already tried some iOS-App with Dropbox support - normally these programs request either full access to your Dropbox or only limited access to its own folder (inside the "Apps" folder); if you grant it, you'll receive an email ("...you've connected a new app to Dropbox. Awesome!") and find this app inside your Dropbox setting under "My apps".

 

So there obviously is some magic going on with this special Dropbox location: reproducible and independent of the name ("Alfred 2", "Alfred2", "Alfredo", ...) of the subfolder I choose for the Alfred preferences: if I put it inside ~/Dropbox/Apps/ the prefs get corrupted and Alfred is unable to keep the settings.

 

I now chose an "Alfred 2" folder directly under my Dropbox root and everything works as expected. So my advice: stay away from your "Apps"-Dropbox-folder... :)

 

Have fun,

Nico

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So there obviously is some magic going on with this special Dropbox location: reproducible and independent of the name ("Alfred 2", "Alfred2", "Alfredo", ...) of the subfolder I choose for the Alfred preferences: if I put it inside ~/Dropbox/Apps/ the prefs get corrupted and Alfred is unable to keep the settings.

 

I now chose an "Alfred 2" folder directly under my Dropbox root and everything works as expected. So my advice: stay away from your "Apps"-Dropbox-folder... :)

 

Have fun,

Nico

 

Incredible work there! I had never heard of this folder and have done some reading about it and you are bang on, this looks like it could be the cause (and all users who have reported above were trying to use this Apps folder).

 

I will update Alfred's syncing prefs to prevent users from using this folder :)

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I've just released b133 which prevents you from selecting this folder. I'm going to move this to "Noted" now as I think we have now gotten to the bottom of the issue, but I'm interested in GamerChase reporting back too!

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I've just released b133 which prevents you from selecting this folder. I'm going to move this to "Noted" now as I think we have now gotten to the bottom of the issue, but I'm interested in GamerChase reporting back too!

 

I'll give it a go this afternoon.   :)

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I still got the problem with the "apps" folder...and i don't want to change the folder cause alfred ist not the only app i sync to this folder :-/

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The developers have been pretty clear that there's nothing they can do about us not being able to sync to the /Dropbox/Apps folder, as it's a Dropbox API issue. My advice is to either sync to a different folder, or don't sync to Dropbox.  :unsure:

 

Also, if you're still able to sync to this folder, your version of Alfred is woefully out of date, as Andrew blocked use of that folder exactly a month ago today.

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I've been talking to Dropbox about this as it looks like it could be a Dropbox bug... if I'm happy that the apps folder can be used reliably, I'll add back the ability to select it :)

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I have to report that I seem to be having extensive problems with DropBox syncing of preferences with Alfred 2.  I upgraded to version 2 with PowerPack yesterday.
 
I originally set up syncing of the references to 
 
~/Dropbox/Application Support/
 
but before I had even going Alfred 2 running on a second Mac, I noticed that settings related to the appearance would not stick (the Hat wouldn't say out of sight and the menu bar item wouldn't stay selected).  Also noticed Custom search URLs were not saved.  
 
After several cases where I completely wiped out all the 
 
~/Library/com.runningwithcrayons.*
~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2/
 
files and started from scratch, all I can say is IT IS NOT A PERMISSIONS problem (as I kept being told on Twitter), at this point I figured it was a BUG in either the DropBox API or Alfred 2.
 
I finally just kept the preferences in ~/Dropbox/ and that seemed to work.  I was happily able to use DropBox storage of preferences and everything was saved correctly.  At this point, after waiting for DropBox to have fully synced (its fast on our Gigabit network), I set up my office desktop Mac Pro with Alfred 2.  That worked perfectly.

I came into my office this morning, after playing with Alfred 2 Workflows on my laptop overnight and Alfred 2 on my Desktop was exhibiting the same behavior of reverting to default appearance settings, all custom search URLs were missing, and in a new bit of bugginess, a new theme I created would not appear.  
 
Quitting Alfred 2 and restarting it didn't seem to help.  I am wiping out the preferences again.
 
I really have come to believe there is a serious synching bug with either the DropBox API (which I have never experienced problems with before in other apps) or with Alfred 2 itself.

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I have to report that I seem to be having extensive problems with DropBox syncing of preferences with Alfred 2.  I upgraded to version 2 with PowerPack yesterday.
 
I originally set up syncing of the references to 
 
~/Dropbox/Application Support/
 
but before I had even going Alfred 2 running on a second Mac, I noticed that settings related to the appearance would not stick (the Hat wouldn't say out of sight and the menu bar item wouldn't stay selected).  Also noticed Custom search URLs were not saved.  
 
After several cases where I completely wiped out all the 
 
~/Library/com.runningwithcrayons.*
~/Library/Application Support/Alfred 2/
 
files and started from scratch, all I can say is IT IS NOT A PERMISSIONS problem (as I kept being told on Twitter), at this point I figured it was a BUG in either the DropBox API or Alfred 2.
 
I finally just kept the preferences in ~/Dropbox/ and that seemed to work.  I was happily able to use DropBox storage of preferences and everything was saved correctly.  At this point, after waiting for DropBox to have fully synced (its fast on our Gigabit network), I set up my office desktop Mac Pro with Alfred 2.  That worked perfectly.

I came into my office this morning, after playing with Alfred 2 Workflows on my laptop overnight and Alfred 2 on my Desktop was exhibiting the same behavior of reverting to default appearance settings, all custom search URLs were missing, and in a new bit of bugginess, a new theme I created would not appear.  

 
Quitting Alfred 2 and restarting it didn't seem to help.  I am wiping out the preferences again.
 
I really have come to believe there is a serious synching bug with either the DropBox API (which I have never experienced problems with before in other apps) or with Alfred 2 itself.

 

Alfred simply watches the Alfred.alfredpreferences folder and doesn't care where this actually is. He locally stores where he should be looking in com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred-Preferences.plist but other than that, he doesn't even know syncing is happening.

 

Check the preferences plist to see if the correct location is being read by using

 

defaults read com.runningwithcrayons.Alfred-Preferences

 

look for "syncfolder".

 

If the files are being messed with outside of Alfred's control (i.e. dodgy sync clashes etc), there isn't much he can do!

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