[Pro] Dropbox...am I doing this right?

So there are a few threads here about collaboration on a Freeway site. After reading them, I thought I would use drop box.

Just double checking to see if I’ve got things correct and to see if there are others out there who have had luck using dropbox.

I’ve created a site for a non profit, the non profit bought a copy of Freeway Pro. The site will be very large, and they will need to make lots of daily updates to the home page and a few other pages.

I have been assigned with continually building and transferring the old site to the new freeway site.

If we set up a shared drop box folder and only ever open Freeway from the drop box folder we should both be able to upload and make changes without overwriting each others work. Is that correct?

Thanks,
Rich


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If we set up a shared drop box folder and only ever open Freeway from the drop box folder we should both be able to upload and make changes without overwriting each others work. Is that correct?

I don’t believe that flow will work how you describe. I don’t believe that Freeway recognize more than one computer having the same file open at the same time. What most likely will happen, since I haven’t tested this, is when the file is open on your client side and you try and open it on your side you will get an message saying file is unavailable or already open, or something to that effect.

You basically will have to take turns with the file. Having it on Dropbox is no problem, but opening in two different computers at the same time from a single source should be.


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If we have to take turns editing the file, that will be fine. Just as long as our changes don’t overwrite each others.

We will give it a go in a test folder before we make any big moves…

Thanks


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As long as all the needed files are kept in the Dropbox you should be ok. It’s when there are two different resource folders that have differing content that you will run into trouble.


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HI,
You will be able to both open the file at the same time. The file on your machine will be a local copy of the one in the cloud. What will happen is that DropBox will spot a conflict and rename one of the duplicates. It will be up to you or your colleague to determine which is the “master” file and to restore content from the dupe file to the master one.

The same will apply to publishing the site - especially if you are working together. Again, dupes will be created by DropBox’s server. You just need to be sure that if you are editing the file that on one else is.

You and your colleague also need to be sure that file references are correct - check by loading the Freeway file and going to Edit>Resources and look at the full file paths to files used.

I use Dropbox at times to share Freeway files between machines, but both Macs I use are set up identically (my short user name, both boot drives named Macintosh HD), so:
Users/paul/Dropbox/Freeway project
will work because Freeway is looking for the file in a specific place.

However, I do not know the implications if your user names are different. I need to check this, but I am guessing that Freeway will assume that referenced files are still in my “paul” user folder, and not, say, one called “fred”. It may decide that files are missing.

I’ll have a look at this and post back.


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HI,
just did a quick check on a Freeway file using a second user on my Mac. Second user has (obviously) a different name.

The good news is that referenced files that are in the Media folder (next to the Freeway file) should be referenced OK. Obviously, if you are referencing files scattered around your HD, then these will be lost to your colleague (and vice versa). The solution here is to keep all your site’s assets in the same folder as the Freeway file is in:
/Project Folder
Freeway File
/Media
Image 1.psd
Image 2.psd
etc…

The bad news is Actions - some Actions have support files inside their bundle - extra code, images. etc… If those are not present in both your Action folders, then there may be problems. If an Action is not found on the HD, then a copy in the Freeway file will be used. Any Action which relies on external resources will not have those files available to it, and it will fail. So be sure that any Action you use is available on your colleague’s machine as well.

Hope this is helpful.


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Thanks Paul,
So the main points…

Be diligent about keeping files (graphics, pics) in the drop box media file.

Make sure any actions used are on both copies of freeway.

Watch out for any dupilcte files, if we ever end up working on the file at the same time…

Thanks for looking into it.


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HI,
glad to help.

Another Gotcha that you need to be aware of. If an Action publishes resources in its bundle, or in a support folder along side it, then those resources will be deemed to be still available and present from that location.

Let]s assume that your Action is publishing a file - image.png - which is in a ~support folder in the Action bundle. The path is likely to be something like:
paul/Library/Application Support/Freeway 5/Actions/Images/image.png

Now it is possible that this will auto resolve when the file is opened on the another machine, and Freeway will find the file at (for example):
rich/Library/Application Support/Freeway 5/Actions/Images/image.png

However, it may not - I’ve not really checked this part of the equation - but just be aware that this could be a problem that would need resolving manually.

The thing to do is obviously share a copy of the Freeway file on Dropbox with your colleague and thrash test it to see what problems arise. Then work out a protocol to ensure that only one of you edits the file at any given time.

I think Finder file labels transport between Dropbox users - so choose a colour and when it’s a certain colour, you know the file is being used elsewhere.

It would be interesting to know how you guys get on with this - post back when you have a methodology that works for you.


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Hi Rich,

You may want to read this article on workflow using dropbox - Dropbox Will Simplify Your Life - The New York Times - as it may be helpful to you.

Good luck!

Bryan


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I will keep you all posted. This non profit puts on a very large sled dog race in Alaska toward the end of January. They probably only get a few site visits every week, but over the course of a 3 or 4 days during the race their site will get thousands of visitors.

Hopefully we have enough time between now and the race to iron out any issues.

Thanks again.


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Thanks for the testing Paul. That’s pretty much what I expected.


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On further reflection it may work better to set a folder within the Dropbox as your publish destination. This way there will only be one published version at any one time…as long as you don’t both open the file simultaneously. The trick will be knowing when it’s your turn to open, hopefully after they have closed.


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Quick update. So far so good. As mentioned actions were a small problem, I made the assumption that some of the actions I used to build the site were standard actions that Freeway shipped with, so when my counterpart opened Freeway on his end, we had some problems. But we just killed those actions and moved on.

Thanks again for all of the help, just though you all should know that it is working out.


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