Synchronizing Datafiles
Between a Mac and Apple Mobile Devices

iData Pro provides two methods for synchronizing datafiles on the Mac with datafiles on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. (To keep things simple, we will just refer to the iPhone below.)

The simplest method is via a local WiFi network, created using a wireless router, such as Airport Extreme. This is the method of choice for a single individual who just needs to keep datafiles on both platforms in sync.

If you need to synchronize when the iPhone is outside the range of the WiFi network, another possibility is to subscribe to Dropbox, which is a commercial file storage service. iData Pro can synchronize to datafiles stored in an iData folder in the Dropbox Apps folder. This option is useful mainly when one individual is using iData Pro on the Mac, while another is using iData Mobile or iData Mobile Plus on the iPhone, because it requires that actions be taken on both platforms.


NOTE: iData Pro can open two kinds of datafiles:

     1. iData 3-style datafiles, having an .id3 file name extension: These datafiles can have multi-styled text and embeded images in the Freeform Text Area.

     2. iData Mobile-style datafiles, having an .idm file name extension: These datafiles can have only mono-styled text in the Freeform Text Area.

From its beginnig, iData Pro could synchronize datafiles that had an .idm file name extension to the original iData Mobile.

Beginning with version 4.0.19, iData Pro can also synchronize datafiles with an .id3 file name extension to the newer iData Mobile Plus.

When a WiFi connection is made to either mobile app, iData Pro can recognize which one it is connected to, and it will  synchronize only the appropriate kind of datafile for that mobile app.

This means that iData Pro will not synchronize .id3 datafiles to iData Mobile, and will not syncrhonize .idm datafiles to iData Mobile Plus.

Since both mobile apps handle things the same, we'll just refer to "iData Mobile" in the following text.

Uploading a Sync File to the iPhone Over a Local WiFi Network

    1. Open iData Mobile on the iPhone. Be sure that WiFi is turned on, and a WiFi network is selected in the iPhone Settings application.

    2. Tap the  icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the Datafiles window.

    3. In the next window, tap the WiFi Synchronization button. This will bring up the following window.


    4. Note that the top line in this window says, "No WiFi Connection". If you see this line, it means that your iPhone does not have a good WiFi connection. Once the WiFi connection is good, you will see that it now says "Starting Connection". At that point, you can proceed with synchronization.



    5. Leave this window open until you finish creating your sync file. (You can create as many sync files as you wish while this window remains open.)

    6. Open the datafile to be synced in iData Pro. If this is a datafile that does not already contain a Sync ID, iData Pro will assume that you want to create a sync file to match it.

NOTE 1: This datafile must be in the correct format, as explained in the NOTE above.

NOTE 2: Memory is extremely limited on the iPhone. We strongly recommend that you do not try to use datafiles any larger than 5 MB in size. If you start to create a sync file that is larger that 5 MB, you will see a warning notice, and will have a chance to cancel the process. Then you can try to reduce the size of the datafile. iData Pro provides a function to split a datafile into two smaller datafiles, but if you are creating datafiles from scratch, you are probably better off just being careful not to exceed this file size.

    7.  Choose Synchronize Datafiles... from the File menu, read the text in the dialog sheet that comes up, and click the OK button.


    8. Next you will be asked how you want to create the sync file. When the following dialog appears, you can enable the Always use this synchronization method checkbox to avoid this dialog in the future. (This option can be changed at any time in the Special tab of the iData Pro Preferences dialog.)



    9. When you are ready to proceed, click the Sync Through WiFi Network button.

    10. If you have multiple active WiFi devices, you may see the following dialog. In it, select your iPhone, then click the OK button.

 

NOTE iData will remember the name of the iPhone that you select, and will use it in the future if it is available. If it is not available, this dialog will appear again.

    11. At this point, an "Uploading" progress sheet will open at the top of the datafile window on the Mac. When the sheet closes, the WiFi Synchronization window in iData Mobile will say, "File Uploaded".  At this point, you can tap the Close button in the WiFi Synchronization window in iData Mobile, and your datafile will appear in the Datafiles list.


Synchronizing a Pair of Sync Files Over the WiFi Network

Once a sync file has been created on the iPhone, you can make changes to it and/or to the original on the Mac. When you want to get both datafiles to match again, you can perform synchronization. The process is very similar to what you did to create the sync file in the first place.

   1. Open iData Mobile  on the iPhone. Be sure that WiFi is turned on, and a WiFi network is selected in the iPhone Settings application.

    2. Tap the  icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the Datafiles window.

    3. In the next window, tap the WiFi Synchronization button. This will bring up the following window.


    4. Note the address beginning with http at the bottom of the window. As explained in the previous section, if this window says "No WiFi Connection, you will have to make sure that you have a good WiFi connection before proceeding.

    5. Leave this window open until you finish syncing on the Mac side. (You can synchronize as many datafiles as you wish while this window remains open.)

    6. Open a previously synced datafile in iData Pro. Because it will contain a Sync ID, iData Pro will assume that you want to synchronize this datafile (as opposed to creating a new sync file).

    7.  Choose Synchronize Datafiles... from the File menu. When the following dialog appears, click the Sync Through WiFi Network button.



    8. If you have multiple active WiFi devices, you may see the following dialog. In it, select your iPhone, then click the OK button.

 

    9. At this point, a "Downloading" progress sheet will open at the top of the datafile window. The message will briefly change to "Synchronizing". If there are no cases of the same record having been modified in both datafiles, the message will then change to "Uploading". When the sheet closes, you can tap the Close button in the WiFi Synchronization window in iData Mobile, and your datafile will be identical on both platforms00.

See the section on Manual Synchronization, below, to learn how iData Pro allows you to resolve those cases where changes have been made to the same record in both datafiles.

Creating a Sync File on Dropbox

    1. Open the datafile to be synced in iData Pro. If this is a datafile that does not already contain a Sync ID, iData Pro will assume that you want to create a sync file to match it.

NOTE: Memory is extremely limited on the iPhone. We strongly recommend that you do not try to use datafiles any larger than 5 MB in size. If you start to create a sync file that is larger that 5 MB, you will see a warning notice, and will have a chance to cancel the process. Then you can try to reduce the size of the datafile. iData Pro provides a function to split a datafile into two smaller datafiles, but if you are creating datafiles from scratch, you are probably better off just being careful not to exceed this file size.

    2.  Choose Synchronize Datafiles... from the File menu, read the text in the dialog sheet that comes up, and click the OK button.


    3. Next you will be asked how you want to create the sync file. When the following dialog appears, click the Sync Through Dropbox button. When the following dialog appears, you can enable the Always use this synchronization method checkbox to avoid this dialog in the future. (This option can be changed at any time in the Special tab of the iData Pro Preferences dialog.)




    4. At this point, an "Synchronizing" progress sheet will open at the top of the datafile window. When the sheet closes, your datafile will appear in the iData folder within the Apps folder in Dropbox.

       NOTE: The first time you do this, the Dropbox sign-in page will open, and you will be asked to sign in and then comfirm that it's okay to create an iData folder in your Dropbox. At that point, you will have to repeat this process one more time. Once the iData folder has been created, the following dialog will come up:



If you don't want to see this dialog every time you synchronize a datafile to Dropbox, simply click the Always Allow button. Otherwise, click the Allow button.

Synchronizing a Pair of Sync Files via Dropbox

When synchronizing a datafile stored on Dropbox, iData Pro and iData Mobile perform different roles. If it is to be successful, careful coordination between the Mac user and the iPhone user is required.

The workflow is as follows:

    1. The iData Mobile user must save any changes to the datafile to Dropbox.

    2. The iData Pro user then synchronizes the Mac version of the datafile to the one on Dropbox.

    3. Finally, the iData Mobile user downloads the synchronized version of the datafile from Dropbox.

Here are the steps involved.

    1. If the iData Mobile version of the datafile has been changed since the last sync, save it to Dropbox. See the iData Mobile User Guide for instructions.

    2.
Open the Mac version of the datafile in iData Pro. Because it will contain a Sync ID, iData Pro will assume that you want to synchronize this datafile (as opposed to creating a new sync file).

    3.  Choose Synchronize Datafiles... from the File menu. When the following dialog appears, click the Sync Through Dropbox button.



    4. At this point, a "Downloading" progress sheet will open at the top of the datafile window. The message will briefly change to "Synchronizing". If there are no cases of the same record having been modified in both datafiles, the message will then change to "Uploading".
When the sheet closes, the datafile on the Mac and the one in Dropbox will be identical.

See the section on Manual Synchronization, below, to learn how iData Pro allows you to resolve those cases where changes have been made to the same record in both datafiles.

    5. Once the synchronization process has been completed, the iData Mobile user must read the modified datafile from Dropbox. See the iData Mobile User Guide for instructions.

Manual Synchronization

When changes have been made to the same record in both datafiles, iData has no way of deciding which changes to keep and which changes to ignore. Therefore, you will be given a chance to compare all such records in both files and to manually update the local datafile however you wish.

After all automatic sychronization changes are completed, if any manual changes are required, iData will open the remote datafile for you. "-REMOTE" will be added to the file name in the title bar of the remote datafile, to make it easier to identify.

When the remote datafile opens, most of its toolbar buttons and menu items will be disabled, and its Find Box will be blacked out.This is because no changes can be made to the remote datafile. All changes must be made in the local datafile, then both datafiles will be updated on disk to match the local datafile. Furthermore, you will not be able to manually navigate among records in the remote datafile.



The way iData controls the manual synchronization process is by opening a Synchronize Records window, as shown below:


The text at the top of the dialog explains the process. Notice that record numbers may not match in the two datafiles. This is because records may have been reordered in either datafile since the last time they were sychronized. iData uses a unique identifier attached to each record, rather than relying on changeable record numbers.

    1. Select a pair of records in the list to cause those two records two be shown in the two datafiles.  You may click directly on a pair in the list, or you can use the Previous and Next buttons to move from record to record.

    2. Make any desired changes to the record in the local datafile, referring to the matching record in the remote datafile as necessary. When you are done, click the Finished With This Record button, and the record pair will be removed from the list.

    3. Continue with the process until no more records remain in the list.

    4. Click the Done button. The remote datafile will close, and both datafiles will be updated in their original locations.

You can abort the synchronization process either by clicking the Cancel button in the Synchronize Records window or by closing either datfile window.

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