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AASync FAQ
 
I'm syncing my mac to another UNIX box and the sync fails, I get many failure messages.. why?

AASync does not sync some of my files.. why?

Are there any situations where use of AASync is not recommended?

If AASync terminates abnormally for any reason, can it possibly damage the source or the target folder?

Remote-to-Local sync using FTP is not detecting file changes every time. Why?

Can AASync be used as a system backup?

I set up a new sync definition. The initial sync took longer than expected, so in the middle of the sync operation another automated local sync operation changed the composition of the source folder. What can I do in this situation?

Can a sync operation be safely restarted after any kind of abnormal termination?

The sync engine chokes on my iWeb files when I upload to the server. Why?

Does AASync have to run for the scheduled synchronizations to start?

Can AASync handle a sync from a SAMBA mounted disk or a network share?

Does AASync have a limitation on the length or encoding of filenames?

I get a lot of 'File Not Found' messages while trasferring or syncing through FTP.. why?

One-Way versus Two-Way sync

I have files in the destination folder that should not be overwritten if they are newer then the source! Is there a setting for this?

I am publishing our website through FTP. I get errors like this:
Failed to load folder /Volumes/MyProject/[08-145]website/web/images/thumbs, ignoring...


I have a choice how to reach the destination folder: a local nfs mount, FTP or SFTP. Which one should I choose?

My scheduled syncs are not executed when the time comes


How do I move my sync definitions to a new machine?


I'm syncing my mac to another UNIX box and the sync fails, I get many failure messages.. why?

Depending on the files you sync and the protocol you use there are a large variety of errors you can get during the sync, especially the first time. Different UNIX systems have various levels of tolerance of certain filenames, character encodings, etc.. OSX is very permissive in filenames, for instance it allows very long file names with strange characters in them. Also, it is case preserving but NOT case sensitive. The other host you are syncing to may be much more limited. If you get errors, you should repeat the sync several times. If you keep getting failures always at a certain place, well, you may have to leave that folder out of the sync or try to change the source, or, if all fails and you cannot see what the incompatibility is, contact support with the error message, transcript, etc...

AASync does not sync some of my files.. why?

So you run the sync and the destination folder simply does not have some of the files?? Be sure to understand what sync mode you are using. If you are in default mode, the destination folder is not always checked, so a file is uploaded only if it has changed in the source folder! In a "normal" case the destination has all the files, so only the changed and newly added files are uploaded. So if you want to make sure all files are checked in the destination folder, be sure to check the box called "Always check destination folder" next to the Sync Mode button. That will force AASync to traverse through the destination folder every time to make sure your files are actually there. This is useful in situations where you have either changed sync settings or cannot be sure that the destination folder will stay intact between syncs.

Are there any situations where use of AASync is not recommended?

Yes, in cases where the source could change while the sync operation is in progress. AASync keeps running while it finds changes, and terminates only when it cannot find any changes. In these cases AASync may either runs forever, or returns with an error.

If AASync terminates abnormally for any reason, can it possibly damage the source or the target folder?

First off, the source folder's contents are NOT TOUCHED by AASync, so there is no chance that the source files could be damaged by AASync. Upon abnormal termination, the target folder may be in an undetermined state. Re-running AASync can solve this problem.

Remote-to-Local sync using FTP is not detecting file changes every time. Why?

FTP is a very poor protocol, and does not allow an error free comparison of files, due to the fact that FTP servers trash mod dates during upload, and allow no checksums. Due to these limitations, Remote-to-local sync in this case may not work correctly in some cases. With most FTP servers, mod date and size changes can be detected. One must test these servers before productions use, to make sure sync ops work as expected.

Can AASync be used as a system backup?

NO! AASync is *generic* backup program designed to be used on user folders, regular files, folders, links etc.. System folders (like /dev, /etc) contain special files that cannot be copied or moved. To do a system dump, one needs a special system backup program designed for that specific purpose.

I set up a new sync definition. The initial sync took longer than expected, so in the middle of the sync operation another automated local sync operation changed the composition of the source folder. What can I do in this situation?

This situation must always be avoided! You should not set up scheduled sync for very large source folders until you are certain that the destination folder has an identical copy and the manual sync process finishes without making any changes. Only after that you can have an idea how long the sync lasts, since that is size and network speed dependent!

Can a sync operation be safely restarted after any kind of abnormal termination?

Do not have to worry about restarting at all, AASync was designed to work fine after restarts. It might spews some errors during the first restart, but as long as it has a successful run, it restores the database. Just keep on running it until it has a successful pass without any changes.

The sync engine chokes on my iWeb files when I upload to the server. Why?

Many times iWeb publishes your pages with : and ! characters in the filenames. When you try to upload these to an FTP server, it fails because these characters are not allowed in the filenames on most FTP servers. Solution: be sure to edit the filenames and make sure these characters are not used in the names (contents can have anything).

Does AASync have to run for the scheduled synchronizations to start?

No, once the sync have been scheduled, AASync can be terminated. Your syncs will be performed and the log saved according to your settings, regardless of whether AASync is running.


Can AASync handle a sync from a SAMBA mounted disk or a network share?

AASync does not care how you mount a filesystem onto your local host. As long as it is available to read, AASync can use it as a source for synchronization. If it is mounted read/write, then AASync can use it as a sync destination, regardless of the underlying protocol.


Does AASync have a limitation on the length or encoding of filenames?

No, AASync does no impose any limitations whatsoever. That having said, the destination host/file system's limitations do apply. For instance, if you sync onto an FTP host, you cannot have characters like '@' in the filenames.


I get a lot of 'File Not Found' messages while trasferring or syncing through FTP.. why?

Many times if the remote FTP server is windows, you have unreadable (hidden) files. These files do show up in the directory listing., but transferring them fails , hence the error message :"xxx.xx: 550 The system cannot find the file specified.". This is a normal response, it can be safely ignored.

One-Way versus Two-Way sync

By design, a sync definition represents a one way sync. That means, there is a source or (master) folder where you do your work. This folder is active, it changes. Then, on the receiving end of the sync, there is a passive destination folder that (hopefully) does not change, it simply receives changes from the source folder. So, how about when both source and destination get edited? In other words there is no "master" folder and we want the changed files in both folders to get synced into the other, much like phones do?

This is one of the most recurring questions. One must realize that a computer folder is not a telephone directory where contact records can be synced both ways. In a computer where files have naming conflicts and many other problems a two-way sync is not really feasable, it is simply too dangerous.
There is nothing to stop the user right now to set up two sync defs that are opposites of each other, that in fact would be a two way sync, but it is something we would not recommended at all! A two way sync is the fastest way to accidentally lose the files you are working on.
What is the solution then? It is to reorganize your work a bit... make sure you do not work on the same file on both locations, and if so, then use source code control like cvs or something similar. Name your folders/files differently in each location then you lessen the chance of files overwriting each other. The best way to deal with a two way sync is simply to avoid it altogether.

I have files in the destination folder that should not be overwritten if they are newer then the source! Is there a setting for this?

AASync cannot guarantee that newer files in the destination folder will not be overwritten. Why, because such a guarantee is simply not possible. You must realize that file modification dates cannot be compared between two different systems, since their time/date/timezone settings as well as clock states are different. Currently UNIX does not have a facility for this. Anybody who promises such a feature is simply lying. Not to mention the fact that FTP servers trash modification dates anyway, and even on an nfs or samba mounted external filesystems you cannot trust that the mod dates can be reliably compared with your client host. So, is there an answer? Yes. look the above answer and reorganize your work so backup/sync becomes manageable.

I am publishing our website through FTP. I get errors like this:
Failed to load folder /Volumes/MyProject/[08-145]website/web/images/thumbs, ignoring...

Two important caveats about backing up your files: You must make sure your source folder does not have unreadable folders, because they defeat the purpose of a backup sync. Also, you must consider that certain characters like quote, square brackets, star etc.. etc.. are legal on osx in filenames, but illegal in FTP, so if you want to back your files through ftp then those characters cannot be used in filenames in the source folder.

I have a choice how to reach the destination folder: a local nfs mount, FTP or SFTP. Which one should I choose?

SFTP is always the best choice. AASync will use an ssh shell, archivers and many other utilities to get the best result. It sounds strange, but an nfs/samba mount may not be the best choice, in many cases they impose restrictions, there are characterset problems and many other unforeseen complications. FTP is also very limited, it should be used if the other two protocols are not available.

My scheduled syncs are not executed when the time comes...

See Logs and Trouble Shooting

How do I move my sync definitions to a new machine?

Your sync definitions sit in AAsync's document directory. You can find this directory in the path YOURHOME/Library/Application Support/AASync_3.5 . Find this folder in the Finder, select it, then use the "File/Compress AAsync_3.5" menu. This will zip up this folder. Move it to the new machine in the same path in your new home directory. Your passwords are sitting on your keychain, you either move those too using the Keychain Access App, or manually run the syncs on the new machine and enter the passwords as AASync asks for it.

   
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