How does "automatic" sync actually work?

How does "automatic" sync actually work? In other words, when does the automation come into play?

At a minimum, I'm sure Firefox must be open. But do you need to have the Zotero pane open as well in order for the automated sync to kick in?

I work equally at home and at office and often find the most recently added references not have been uploaded to the server from the other computer.
  • Currently: when the Zotero pane is opened, 15 seconds after the last change in Zotero, every hour idle when idle, and when returning from more than 15 minutes of being idle. The Zotero pane does not need to be open.

    If there's a conflict, auto-syncs are paused (with a sync error icon) until you sync manually, but those should be rare.
  • In other words, as long as I pause for at least 15 seconds after a change in Zotero, I should be covered? That doesn't really explain how I'm missing some of the references that I added to my home desktop computer, because I usually give Zotero more than 15 seconds to catch up at home.
  • No, you don't need to pause—the 15-second timer is unrelated to being idle. But if you shut down Firefox within 15 seconds of an edit, it won't get synced.

    I can't answer your question specifically, but see this:
  • Thanks for the link and the explanation.

    Still, it doesn't explain what I'm experiencing. My office computer is missing several references that I added through my home computer last night. If it was just one reference missing, the "15 second" rule makes sense - I might have shut down Firefox within 15 seconds of adding it. But I'm missing several references that were added over a span of a couple of hours, so something else must be going on.

    Well, it's not a big deal. I'll try to make a habit of manually syncing Zotero before logging off.
  • I linked to the page because it explains how to check where the issue actually is and other issues that can cause syncing to fail. There's no particular reason to think that auto-sync isn't working until you've checked, for example, whether you're getting a sync error icon on that computer (and also whether the items are on, but I assume you've done that).
  • Put another way, other than for the shutdown issue, syncing manually wouldn't be the solution in general unless Zotero is telling you explicitly that a manual sync is required.
  • Dan, you were absolutely right. I'm back at home, and it looks like I had been logged out of Zotero on my home desktop computer. I think a password manager that I had recently installed had logged me out of all websites.

    Mea culpa.
  • edited February 9, 2012
    Would it be possible to make Zotero sync when Firefox starts, regardless of whether the Zotero pane is open or not? Once the sync mode kicks in, it doesn't seem to matter whether the Zotero pane is open or not, so why not initiate the whole syncing mechanism upon the opening of Firefox, instead of the opening of the Zotero pane?

    It would help people like me who forget to open the Zotero pane before working on the draft and only get reminded by a missing citation error within Word.
  • problem is that Zotero only loads the database when you open the pane for the first time. That way it doesn't slow down people who only use Zotero occasionally - with a large database, it can take a couple of seconds to load it the first time you open that - it's probably a bad idea to add that to the FF start-up time.
  • Why not make it an option under preference in the future?

    By the same logic you mentioned, I get bogged down by several seconds while waiting for sync to complete in the middle of a Word-processing session, on which I conveniently put the blame for the interruption in my chain of thought.
  • In 3.0 the default is to store references in the document anyway, which makes being out of sync less of a problem.
  • I use 3.0 but "store in the document" is not default. I guess it only applies to new documents created under 3.0, not retroactively to documents created in prior versions.
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