Sync Things easily between Macs

Posted on Aug 23, 2009 in productivity | 5 Comments

thingshead

I recently decided to leave my favorite GTD / ToDo application iGTD because of lack of development. It took me few weeks to choose between the most popular replacements on the Mac, OmniFocus and Things. In the end Things won. At least this round.

Maybe I didn’t think it all through because right after my decision I stumbled upon the Things Wiki that although you can sync to iCal and iPhone, syncing between two or more macs is not supported yet.

User contributed information states that you can do this with either iDisk and me.com service or by using Dropbox. I started reading the iDisk information. I have been using me.com (former mac.com) service from the time it started (sigurarm@mac.com) but I have to say, that although I like it a lot to host my pictures, sync my iCal calendar and more, it is very slow for me. I have read complaints from Europe users about the speed but never really got into the discussion why this is so slow. So I ruled iDisk out.

On the other hand, I use Dropbox too. Dropbox is similar to the iDisk in that a centralized server somewhere out there makes a copy of everything you put on it and if you open your account on another computer you will have a copy there too. In the case of Dropbox it’s a folder called Dropbox on all your macs which is syncronized. And it does it quickly.

The deal is not bad: 2GB space for this use for free. Next option is a bit steep, about $10 a month, but that is for 50GB’s. The free deal would do for most who are only thinking of syncing Things.

Another user contributed file tells how to use Dropbox for syncing, but it didn’t work for me. Maybe I messed something while trying to make a symbolic link. Not sure. So what is one going to do?

Culturedcode says also on the Wiki that: “Choosing a web based location like iDisk is not possible.” Well, I just found out that this is not exactly true.

So here is the way I do this:

1. Get a Dropbox account. It’s free and easy to set up. Here is a referral link https://www.dropbox.com/ which will give me some extra Dropbox space, but if you rather not want me to get that you can use the regular URL.

2. The database Things uses, called Databse.xml is located at <home>/Library/Application Support/Cultured Code. What I did was to make a folder inside the Dropbox folder called Library. In there I made a Application Support folder and inside it a Cultured Code folder.

3. Move your current Database.xml file over to the Cultured Code folder inside the Dropbox folder. I recommend that you make a backup copy first, just in case. I know I don’t have to tell you to make sure Things is not open, but I am not saying I could not do such a stupid move myself.

4. Now, hold down the Option key and launch Things. It will ask you what Library (database) it should use. You will now select the one inside Dropbox.

thingslibrary

5. When you go over to your other mac which you have already installed Dropbox on too, you will find that the whole folder structure you made before is already visible there. You then open Things on that mac holding the Option key down and point to the Cultured Code folder inside the Dropbox. You should only have to do this once on each mac.

Just remember to have only one Things open using the database at the time.

This was easy wasn’t it? I have not tried this with the iDisk but I can’t see why it should not work the same way there. If you like to try, simply back up your database (don’t be a stupid) and make a new one to experiment with. Put in one or two tasks and see if it syncs.

Happy syncing your things … err, Things!

5 Comments

  1. Rob
    24.08.2009

    I am also a major fan of things. They seem to be working hard on a more elegant solution for syncing and charing, but it might be a couple releases away.

    This article will surely be useful for many people, however I would like to point out that this was indeed brought up several times at Cultured Code and they have acknowledged dropbox as a decent temporary solution.

    http://culturedcode.com/things/wiki/index.php/DropboxSync

    http://culturedcode.com/things/wiki/index.php/Syncing_Things_between_several_Macs_using_Dropbox

    Cheers,

    Rob

  2. Sigurdur Armannsson
    24.08.2009

    Great to get those links. I overlooked a minor big thing in the Wiki at Culturedcode.com which obviously makes this article a rediscovery rather than a discovery.

    But anyway, according to the response I have got, many were not aware of how easy it is to use Dropbox and no need to open Terminal to make hard links.

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  4. Don Crossland
    25.08.2009

    Nomadesk is actually a better solution for syncing and backing up. Lots of extra features.

  5. Lisa
    01.12.2009

    Hello,

    Does anyone know if this method will work to sync iGTD between Macs? iGTD’s database seems to be a .sql file located in /Library/Application Support/iGTD if I am correct. It seems like it could work easily but I’m afraid to experiment before I get solid advice on the matter.

    If it works, I’d like to follow these instructions, move the .sql file to Dropbox, and begin syncing iGTD between my 2 Macs.

    Advice on this is warmly welcomed! Thank you!

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