Is it possible to use dropbox instead of the webdav facilty in zotero 1.5b? If so, how exactly?
  • Not really.

    Some are using dropbox to mirror their zotero directory on multiple machines. This does not take advantage of the special facilities for syncing in 1.5 (and is hence more "fragile"). Some others have at least talked about mounting dropbox & serving it via a WebDAV server on their local machine.
  • I use dropbox and it works perfectly. I sync the whole zotero folder (database + storage folder). I do not understand what noksagt means with it is more "fragile".
  • technically, I just added the whole zotero folder to my dropbox folder and disabled syncing in zotero to avoid conflicts.
  • I was just going to ask about Dropbox...can you tell me where to find the zotero files? I did a full disk search and can't identify them...
  • I don't understand this. Usually they are in your firefox profile, unless you did not move it somewhere else. see here
  • I have tried but have problems. When I add something in zotero on pc A, the file is then synchronized in the zotero folder in dropobox on pc B, but you don't see it as a zotero item in zotero library. Moreover, in the dropbox folder, the sqlite file is perpetually syncing.
    Many thanks for any advice.
  • Post scriptum. Of course I have PC A turned off, and hours before turning on PC B
  • I do not understand what noksagt means with it is more "fragile".
    If you're syncing the database via dropbox, there is no conflict resolution. This is fine if you sync between the time you stop using Zotero on one machine and start to use it on a second. It is probably fine for most network-connected Zotero instances. It may not be fine if you do a lot of offline work (on a laptop, for example). Assuming turcaret25 remembers to sync before switching "PC A" off, it may be "good enough."
    the file is then synchronized in the zotero folder in dropobox on pc B, but you don't see it as a zotero item in zotero library.
    You must either set dropbox to sync to your zotero directory on PC B or must set Zotero on PC B to use what you presently mount as a dropbox folder to be your Zotero directory. I don't know if you are having more general issues with dropbox, which is not explicitly supported by Zotero.
  • Unfortunately I am a technical naive and I don't fully understand noksagt's explanations. What I've done is creating a dropbox folder - with into the same zotero folder into - on both pc, linking the zotero library to this folder, and I've not enabled zotero syncing facilities.

    As I said, what you put into in one pc, via zotero, is shown in both dropbox folders, but not in the other zotero library in the other pc. Moreover dropbox seems not able to sync the sqlite file.

    However, I have one more question for noksagt. Since you don't seem to be very earnest regarding the possible marriage of dropbox with zotero, which other provider(s) of online storage would you recommend?
  • Unfortunately I am a technical naive and I don't fully understand noksagt's explanations.
    Feel free to ask for clarification. But, again: if you have questions about getting dropbox data from their servers to a particular directory on your machine, then that isn't a question that is zotero-specific & you should ask in the dropbox forums. It sounds like you can, at least, use dropbox to get data onto you local machine. One solution would be to go to the zotero preferences/advanced & to select this as your custom storage location. Then restart firefox.
    Moreover dropbox seems not able to sync the sqlite file.
    And, again: this is a significant limitation to using third-party syncing. Others do use drop box and other third-party tools to sync their sqlite file. But, if you are already using Zotero 1.5, why not use it to sync ONLY the storage directory? Use Zotero's server sync for the database.

    You don't say anything about specific error messages you're getting. Perhaps it isn't syncing because you have written to the database mid-sync? Or there are changes to sqlite on both machines that it can't reconcile? Or you have the file opened (e.g. by having firefox open)?
    Since you don't seem to be very earnest regarding the possible marriage of dropbox with zotero, which other provider(s) of online storage would you recommend?
    Any service that has WebDAV, so would use the officially-supported sync methods. I have my own WebDAV server & have no experience with others. Other people have suggested Apple's idrive/mobileme, JungleDisk Plus, box.net, using a PHP script on your webhost, and others. I can't vouch for any of them, though. See:
  • You can use dropbox as WebDav service, albeit an unsecured one. The address is http://www.box.net/dav/
  • Aren't box.net & dropbox.com separate services?
  • edited April 14, 2009
    ohmygod, you're right, yes they are. Damn. I completely forgot that I got that box.net account after the dropbox tryout! You can really tell somebody's been awake too many hours in a row, I guess. Sorry about the mess.

    Just to clarify to others, dropbox doesn't have webdav service, but the 2250 MB size is true. box.net is only 1GB with webdav.
  • This boils down to a commercial issue:
    Zotero is a non-profit supported service that does not, as far as I know, intend to make Zotero a for-profit web service.
    Therefore, providing low server bandwidth/storage synchronization directly from Zotero is all that can be expected.
    However, Zotero should try to work with Dropbox, box.net or similar cloud storage providers. A way to do that is to propose to them that
    1) Zotero has a significant number of current users and is a well developed program in its genre
    2) Providing this type of organized research/notation capability is precisely the type of capability that the online storage outfits can benefit from to differentiate themselves.
    3) Zotero could probably benefit by close collaboration to relinquish the need for your own sync servers or support only the database while the storage guys support the content.

    As the web moves more mobile users want to have seamless synchronization. So, it makes sense for Zotero to work out the commercial issue and stop pissing and moaning that it is someone else's responsibility via webdav or webwhatever.
  • 4GPro: zotero already does work with commercially-available cloud storage, seamlessly so far in my experience.

    I don't understand the problem. Who's 'pissing and moaning' (to use your charming phrase), and what about?
  • No, it works with hosted WEBDAV which is not provided to the end user.

    If Zotero is to be used easily by non-techies and broader population, users should not have to have Webdav or any other server available to them. Webdav is not in the cloud... do you want to serve the world cloud with webdav? If not, then it is still an academic, individually hosted support application.
  • 4GPro: using a webdav service is no more difficult than signing up for web-based email or Facebook, both heavily used by the "broader population".

    Frankly, a reference manager isn't going to be of much use to someone more thick than the average Facebook chatterer.
  • It is? OK, then how do I set up Gmail to provide webdav support for Zotero?
    What if I want to use Livemail or Hotmail, or Yahoo! mail, or anyotherwebmail I freaken wnat instead?

    If you show me how to do this on any popular web email without a special account, then I will have to agree with you. Otherwise, what you suggest is brain-dead acedemic puzzle-palace land speak.
  • The point is not use of email but that you suggest that this is just as easy as signing up for and using an email program. If it is, show us your majesty.

    Otherwise, for a service to be easily available it either has to interface to or include the server capability. OK, if it is just for academics then so be it. That approach limits who will use and in what job or academic situation.
  • 4GPro: well, we just disagree then. I can't see that their natural target audience is in the slightest bit fazed by having to type 3 pieces of information into a dialogue. It's moot anyway as ultimately the zotero folks will decide their own market direction.
  • Then why did you answer?
    We just wasted anyone who reads this some time
  • @4GPro: I can't speak for CB, but I'd guess the issue was in part your tone. This community is in general a really friendly, civil, place. Some of your comments in this thread ("your majesty"? are you serious?) are not.
  • To put this thread back on topic, I successfully use dropbox+zotero across 3 machines. My dropbox folder contains both database and storage and I use the sync capabilities of 1.5b. The only thing you have to do is make sure you get into the habit of syncing upon opening a Zotero instance and after making changes.

    Basically despite dropbox's efforts to overwrite my local copy of the database, every time I sync, I ensure that database on the server is always the 'pristine' copy. This results in many conflicted copies of my zotero database that dropbox automaticallly creates, but every time I sync with the server I make sure that the local copy mirrors that of the server and not that of another machine.
  • Sorry for the irreverence.

    "We are all idiots but some of us are too stupid or egotistical to know it"

    I came to the thread thinking that Zotero is a very useful tool and that providing seamless cloud type capability is just one more relatively small step to make happen.

    I could see this expanded via Android, iPhone, and Symbian to the mobile devices but I would think that will require providing an alternative to or hosted webdav.

    I hope the good folks working on Zotero see the expanded universe of applications and users out there.
  • Thanks c0ldlimit, I'll try that.
  • I successfully set up webDav on SwissDisc. They offer a secure webDav server with a very small free account (50 MB), and what I think are very expensive paid options. Since I'm only using it for my Zotero folder and I don't have a lot of disc room on my computer for PDFs, their free account is enough to get me started. When I run out of space I will probably switch to JungleDisc, which has a very low pay-for-what-you-use pricing system (but apparently no free accounts).

    I'm not particularly good at this kind of thing and had never heard of WebDav before, so I had to actually READ THE INSTRUCTIONS from both SwissDisc and Zotero several times and follow them carefully, but it really was easy.

    It's just not as slick and easy as having both file/attachment storage and the database storage in one place. But once it was set up I don't have to think about (until I run out of space).

    I'm experimenting with DropBox for other files, but not for Zotero.
  • I use Dropbox with Zotero 1.0.10. I just make sure to close Firefox when I'm done, then I go home, and open Firefox, and my changes appear. I don't know what this "sync" button is, but I imagine it makes it so I can click that instead of restarting Firefox if I forget to close it?

    What would be nice if once Dropbox gets their API done, modify Zotero so that each time a change is made, it first queries Dropbox to see if there is a more recent version of the sqlite file, and if so, updates to that version before performing the change, then works on that updated version.

    Maybe just make an extension that loads and stores to a Dropbox-compatible sqlite file, since then you can modify the behavior on add/update/delete. Otherwise I think it has to be a core client modification.
  • Please excuse me if I'm asking this in the wrong place or if I'm asking a dumb question. I looked in the documentation but am still not sure what settings I have wrong.

    I was using Dropbox to synchronize Zotero and tried to be careful to turn off Firefox on one before opening the other. I couldn't seem to get my MobileMe idisk to synchronize properly, and so I've now signed up for Zotero storage.

    However, I'm still not sure whether I still need the old Dropbox Zotero synchronization. Sorry. I still have the data directory folder in preferences set to Zotero and am still getting conflicted files. Is there a way to put all my attachments in Zotero storage?

    Again, I'm pretty sure I'm missing something basic, but I can't see how to fix it. Thanks for any help. If it's RTFM please point me to exactly where.
  • Yes, you can pull up all your attachments in Zotero Storage, provided you have enough space.

    SInce this has nothing to do with dropbox, please first find out what exactly isn't working for you - if you get specific error messages search for them on the forum to see if this has already been addressed somewhere, if not start a new thread with a precise description of your set-up, what you've done so far, and what type of problems you're experiencing.
  • Adam,

    Thanks for the quick reply. I have 5 GB of space online, which is enough for my paltry references as they now stand. I will take your advice go through the forums and documentation again, but I'm (obviously) still confused regarding what goes where.

    For example, Zotero lets you add a link to a file or upload the file itself (it seems), but then when I look at my library online, the linked file seems to be there. Has the file marked just as a link also been uploaded? Should I convert what formerly were links to files in a folder on Dropbox to uploads of the files themselves?

    So my question is, is there a definitive description of how to set up Zotero to sync across multiple machines using Zotero Storage so that I won't get conflicts (that is, multiple copies of the files)? I guess I need to go back and reread all the documentation, I guess, but I'm not sure it has kept up with the progress in adding features such as Zotero Storage and how to convert to it.
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