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maintaining authentication with Dropbox

authentication dropbox rootsmagic 7 rm7

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#1 robertjm



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Posted 23 December 2016 - 01:09 PM

Please make it so that once I authenticate with Dropbox that I do not have to authenticate every single time I want to run a backup to Dropbox!! 


I could have sworn this was the norm. But, several people on the Facebook group suggested it is not the case.


It should be. There a plenty of programs out there which authenticate security settings once, and then to revoke them, you either do so at the vendor's end (i.e.: Dropbox in this case) or through the program itself.


I shouldn't have to reauthenticate every single time I want to back up, and ESPECIALLY when I just authenticated within the same session of RM7. (I just ran a test where I authenticated to backup. Then after doing nothing else, I backed up to Dropbox once again, and it immediately asked me to authenticate again. That's nonsense).


To add insult to injury, since the Dropbox folder could be specified using the "on my computer" option, pointing it to the mapped folder for Dropbox, it really doesn't make it any more secure by constantly reauthenticating.

#2 Renee Zamora

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 03:05 PM

Authentication should remain in the same session. Its only if you close the program that you will need to login again. Within the same session it will open the Allow screen, just so you can confirm you really want to backup, or let you cancel if you don't want to. It won't ask for your login though to authenticate your account. If it is doing that then you may not be signed into your computer with admin rights.


I'm not sure if the Dropbox API allows the password to be saved or not. You are on the Dropbox API screen when you are authenticating. This is on our enhancement request list. 


If you have Dropbox installed on your personal computer then saving directly to the Dropbox folder is quicker. Some people don't want Dropbox installed for security purposes. They may also be sharing the computer with others like a family member, in a Family History Center, Library or University. That is why there is a need to let people login to their own Dropbox account inside the program. 


#3 robertjacobs0


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Posted 23 December 2016 - 04:01 PM

I've been told that it's a bad idea to backup directly to Dropbox; the safer technique is to backup locally and then copy the rmgb file to Dropbox if one wants to have a copy in the cloud.


If anyone can elucidate that I'd be grateful.

#4 zhangrau


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Posted 23 December 2016 - 04:20 PM

I've been told that it's a bad idea to backup directly to Dropbox; the safer technique is to backup locally and then copy the rmgb file to Dropbox if one wants to have a copy in the cloud.


If anyone can elucidate that I'd be grateful.

I think the issue with Dropbox is not with backups (RMGB), but with the active database (RMGC).


Like most database software, RM does a write to the file with every operation that changes data. Since opening an Edit Person screen changes the Last Edited date for that record, then RM follows up with a write (save) operation. The issue is that the latency (lag time) for write operations going through the internet (even with a good broadband connection) can cause delays and possible database corruption. So DO NOT open a RM RMGC file directly from Dropbox. Work with the active file on local storage (hard drive or USB).


Backups don't have a problem with frequent write operations, so they should pose no problems going direct to Dropbox (or Google or MS alternatives).

#5 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 05:01 PM

I agree that having the RMGB files "in Dropbox" should not pose a problem. I'm a heavy Dropbox user, and I can't think of any good reason to use RM's "backup to Dropbox" option when it's so much easier just to have the RMGB files be stored in the Dropbox folder.


I also agree that it can be problematic to have the RMGC file in the Dropbox folder because any update of the RM database triggers an immediate backup of the whole database to Dropbox. This can  obviously create excessive network activity. It also has been reported sometimes to cause corruption of RM databases. So a good strategy might be to keep your RMGC file outside of RM and to copy it into Dropbox only after exiting from RM. Another strategy (and the one I adopt) is to keep my RMGC file in the Dropbox folder and to pause Dropbox when I'm working in RM.


One question about best practices with RM and Dropbox has to do with why you are using Dropbox. Are you using it only as a backup mechanism, or are you using as a way to be able to use the same RM database on two different computers (not at the same time!). The strategy is much simpler if you are only using Dropbox for backup. In this case, there may not be a compelling reason ever to have your RMGC file in Dropbox provided only that you make sure that your RMGB files are in Dropbox. If ever you have a major disaster, your disaster recovery strategy would be to install RM on your new computer and the first thing you do is to restore your RMGC file on the new computer from the most recent RMGB file in Dropbox.


But if you are using Dropbox to share one RM database between two computers (not at the same time!), there are more options. For example, you could keep your RMGC file outside of Dropbox, except you copy it into Dropbox just before you switch to the other computer (and vice versa, of course). But another strategy would be never to have your RMGC file inside of Dropbox at all. Instead you keep your RMGB files in Dropbox and you always restore your RMGC file from the most recent RMGB file (no matter which computer it was created on), you always exit RM by taking a backup, and you never actually "open" the RMGC file. Instead, you always restore it at the beginning of a session and back it up at the end of a session.


So there are several good ways to use Dropbox in conjunction with RM, and also some not so good ways. You just need to choose the way that best meets your own personal needs.




#6 stringbob


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Posted 15 November 2017 - 12:24 PM

I recently started using RM, having been using another app for many years. I really like RM, except for one issue; not-saved authentication into Dropbox. I have another, unrelated app that uses the marriage to DB perfectly. Upon exiting the desktop app, it automatically syncs with its DB folder. (It also has the option to manually sync without shutting down.) I have the same app on several mobile devices. When I open the app on my phone, for example, it automatically goes to DB to retrieve the latest version of the data file. There are configurable rules on each device to dictate what overwrites what, so updates can be made from any device if I choose.

I'd love to see this functionality built into RM. :)