A WebDAV file sync error occured. Report ID: 1080572418

After not syncing for about a month, I obtained a WebDAV file sync error. Sync proceeds manually if I click the circular arrow, and entries are distributed to multiple Mac/Windows machines I use, but files are not distributed, and the sync ends with an exclamation sign icon appearing with the message that a WebDAV file sync error has occurred.

My files are stored on my own WebDAV server (connected to my web host). I can open and list the Zotero folder on either Mac or Windows machines by simply going to the URL. There are about 3,200 items in this folder, several 100s of MB of PDFs etc.

This was certainly working OK as recently as five weeks ago.

I have tried a 'Full Sync with Zotero Server', 'Restore to Zotero Server' and also 'Reset File Sync History' (which I think failed to complete).

File Sync Server is successfully set up according to the results of clicking 'Verify Server'.
  • I just tried renaming my old zotero folder on the WebDAV server to 'zotero-old' and made a new empty 'zotero' folder.

    I then ran 'Reset File Sync History' in the hope that all files would be re-uploaded.

    But again I got the same 'WebDAV file sync error'.
  • edited August 19, 2010
    Here's another strange thing: either Firefox or my ftp/WebDAV client Cyberduck can list the ~3200 files in my zotero folder within about 30 s of trying to log on.

    However when I use 'Connect to Server' on my Mac, the Mac finder never lists the files in the folder and perpetually shows a spinning wheel, no matter how long I leave it.

    I don't see how that could affect Zotero, which comes in via Firefox rather than the Mac Finder, but just mention it in case it is relevant to someone.
  • It's a problem with your WebDAV server. It's either storing or returning invalid data for the .prop files.
  • Even when zotero cannot upload to a new empty zotero folder (see above)? It may be a problem with my WebDAV server, but it would seem to be even more basic than the validity of the data: it looks like zotero simply cannot store or access any data on my WebDAV server, more like...
  • Invalid mod date '<!DOCTYPE html PUBLI...' for item 0_2ISXJR92</blockquote>
    Zotero is getting HTML when it goes to retrieve the 2ISXJR92.prop file, either because the file erroneously contains HTML or because the server is returning an HTML error message instead of data for some reason.

    We can't support individual WebDAV servers, though, so I'm afraid you're on your own on this. Send debug output to your WebDAV administrator (and/or look at it yourself) or use a different server.
  • If Zotero can't store or access data on your WebDAV server, and neither can Finder, then it's probably a problem with the server. There are some WebDAV servers out there that don't follow the specification; yours could easily be one.
  • edited August 20, 2010
    Thank you both very much for your help. With what you've told me, I think I may have something to explain this: as part of my troubleshooting, I was examining my zotero WebDAV folder from a Windows XP machine, using the built-in WebDAV access. I found a 'strange' invisible file (turned out to be .DS_Store, created by previous browsing with a Mac). Not in itself a problem, but when I tried to delete it, Windows returned the interesting error:

    "Unable to delete .DS_Store.

    where mydomain.com is the 'master' domain under which I created my WebDAV server as a subfolder.

    Some relevant background: round about the time these zotero sync problems began, I had updated many pages on my web site, hosted on the same domain. I made a new .htaccess file for the domain, to forward old page URLs to new ones, and to direct all 404 Missing File messages to a new page I created called 'missing.html'

    Here is my hypothesis: on sync, zotero is trying to retrieve a file such as 2ISXJR92.prop which is not present, and my server obediently returns the http file 'missing.html', just as I told it to in the .htaccess file.

    So now I propose, instead of putting my zotero folder in a WebDAV folder which is merely a subfolder of the domain managed by the .htaccess file, I think I might as well create a whole new subdomain off my main domain (my hosting company Dreamhost allows me to create an unlimited number of subdomains). I'll name the new subdomain 'zotero.mydomain.com', set it to run as WebDAV and reserve it for only zotero-related contents. I won't put any .htaccess file in it.

    I'll report back on how it goes.

    PS: I have not looked at the debug log yet.
  • Yes, that fixed it. My Mac is currently uploading all the files. When that is done, I'll point my other machines and other copies of Zotero at the same new WebDAV file server.

    Thank you for your help!
  • Just to confirm that this has all been working satisfactorily since this fix, on both Mac and Windows machine.
  • For what it's worth, the Mac Finder does TERRIBLE things with WebDAV.

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