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  • Adam Behringer

    Seattle, Washington USA

    Adam is the founder of BEEDOCS, an artisan software company that makes great timeline software for Mac OS X.

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Syncing Timeline Files

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

We announced earlier that the new Timeline 3D release for iOS 7 will make it easier to share timeline files and media between computers. We are really excited to roll out these new features, because they address specific requests from many of our customers. We will discuss our file sharing solutions in more depth next week, but this week we want to focus on something we are not doing in the upcoming release.

Sync and the future

We get many requests for auto-sync between iOS devices, as well as syncing with the Mac, using iCloud, for example. Changes to a timeline on one computer would automatically show up on another computer. We would love for this to work as well. There currently are a few challenges, unfortunately, that have prevented us from implementing this feature so far.

The first challenge is our own. Timeline 3D for Mac uses a document format that predates iOS, iCloud and other modern technologies. We cannot sync between the Mac and iOS unless the document formats are the same. Thus, it will take a major new release of Timeline 3D for Mac that includes new document technologies (and drops support for older versions of Mac OS X) before we can do an automatic sync. We have that release in development, but it isn’t far enough along to predict a release date.

The second challenge is that I have been unable to get iCloud syncing to work consistently and reliably with Timeline 3D for iOS. It is a more complex issue for us than many other apps because of the large files involved (movies, high-res images, etc...). I have spent months of effort on this functionality. My best prototypes have worked some of the time but also corrupt documents sometimes too. We will not add a feature that makes data storage less stable, even if it is a high-demand feature.

We will continue to investigate syncing technologies as they improve. We are interested in seeing how Dropbox, Apple, OmniGroup and others are building solutions. We will investigate the possibility of building our own solution. However, for the immediate future, automatic syncing is unlikely.

The good news is that our new features make it much easier than before to collaborate and use multiple devices. We’ve been using it ourselves for a few weeks, and we are always bummed out when we need to use the currently shipping version for some reason. I hope that is a good sign that you will like the new features too! Stay tuned for more details on those features next week.

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