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Anyone keep database and images on google drive?


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#1 strathglass

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 08:44 PM

It should work transparently I think, but want to see if anyone has tried this to confirm.

 

 

In my case this would mean database file is at:

c:\Users\<username>\Google Drive\Genealogy\RootsMagicDB\<myRMDBfile>.rmgc

 

...and all media files would be in folders under:

c:\Users\<username>\Google Drive\Genealogy\Exhibits\

 

 



#2 robertjacobs0

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:09 PM

Why bother? Even if it works, you'll be stymied sometimes by internet outages, slow transmission times, and the like. If your internet connection fails, your work-session ends. Much better, I would think, to maintain the data on your own machines and upload only the backup files to the cloud.

 

I do my own work on two machines & keep them synchronized with batch files. The latest .rmgc is copied over from one machine to the other. It can be done easily on one's LAN or with flash drives. It does require a little care — one has to be careful not to add or edit data on both machines without synchronizing, but it's really not hard to remember which machine has to be brought up to date.

 

Another problem is that you are at the mercy of Google. IIRC (I may be mistaken about this) your agreement with Google gives them the right to inspect your data and perhaps use it to guide their advertising. Another potential issue might be the inadvertent disclosure of information about living people. Everything we know about the practices of Google and others suggest that it's not paranoid to be concerned about such matters. I don't use their cloud even for my backups.



#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:12 PM

There can be problems with solutions like Dropbox working transparently with RM databases.

 

I keep my RM database in Dropbox and I have played with keeping it in OneDrive. Neither one is Google Drive but the concept is the same.

 

The first problem is that the RM database is just that - a database. It is not a sequential file that is loaded into memory when you do a File>Open and which is saved when when you do a File>Save. Rather, the RM database is a true database file that is updated continuously as you work. If your computer crashes you should lose no work, and you can't forget to do a save when you exit because there is no save when you exit because your work is already saved.

 

The second problem is that even though RM has the database open and is updating it, RM does not lock out other apps from reading your RM database at the same time. This is actually more of a good thing than a bad thing for me because it means that I can run SQLite queries against my RM database while RM is open. Also, I don't know for sure but I suspect that RM not locking out other apps is critical to RM's internal operations because RM is clearly using multi-threaded operations for background operations such as WebHints. Again,it's a guess but I suspect that if RM locked the database that it might be locking the database against such internal background operations.

 

The third problem comes from the first two - namely that it's not just things like SQLite scripts that can be accessing your RM database at the same time as RM, it's also things like Google Drive. There are two negative consequences. One consequence is that something like Google Drive will by trying to backup your entire RM database any time you make any change to your database, no matter how trivial for your change. This can cause huge network traffic on your computer. I'm not sure what all the triggers are that cause the RM database to be updated, but sometimes it seems like it can be something so simple as switch views or giving the focus to a different person. My experiments with this sort of thing are not very conclusive because they are not always repeatable, but nevertheless it remains the case that very small things you do can trigger a full backup of your RM database by something like Google Drive. The other consequence is that sometimes something like Google Drive can cause corruption of your RM database if it is reading your database at the same time that RM is trying to update it. I don't quite understand why this can happen, but it can.

 

Therefore, the official recommendation from the RootsMagic company is to keep your RM database outside of all cloud sync services such as Google Drive and instead to put your RM backup files inside of the cloud sync service of your choice. I personally violate this recommendation, but I do Pause my Dropbox sync whenever I am using RM and I Resume my Dropbox sync after I close out RM.

 

There are some pretty strong indications that OneDrive manages to co-exist with SQLite databases such as the RM database without creating these problems. I'm not ready yet to say that this is 100% proven, but indications are pretty strong. I have been lobbying the Dropbox developers unsuccessfully to fix their problems with SQLite databases. I use commercial apps other than RM that use SQLite databases behind the scenes. For example, I use Microsoft Visual Studio to develop C++ programs. Visual Studio uses SQLite databases behind the scenes where you can't see them, and Visual Studio and Dropbox don't play well together. Visual Studio seems to play well with OneDrive so far, and also with RM so far.

 

Jerry

 



#4 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:17 PM

Why bother? Even if it works, you'll be stymied sometimes by internet outages, slow transmission times, and the like. If your internet connection fails, your work-session ends. Much better, I would think, to maintain the data on your own machines and upload only the backup files to the cloud.

 

The internet sync services all seem to work with a local folder that is synced to the cloud. If your Internet connection fails, you can just keep on working because your data is all in a local folder. For the same reason,slow transmission times do not interfere with your work.

 

If you place your backup files in you local folder for the the cloud sync service, you don't have to upload your backup files to the cloud. The sync service will do it for you. You don't have to initiate the sync. The sync is automatic and transparent. The only problems (and they can be big ones) are if your RM database is in the local folder for the internet sync service. I described problems with this approach and a possible solution in a previous message.

 

Jerry



#5 robertjacobs0

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:30 PM

Thanks, Jerry. I think I recollect your post about that. But as I understood the OP, he was asking whether he could write directly to the Google cloud as though it were a drive on his own machine. If I now understand you correctly, the google drive software creates a local folder willy-nilly. I was unaware of that. If so, I can see where the other problems you discuss in your post would arise.

 

Synchronizing the backup seems sensible, although I still have serious reservations about Google's practices.



#6 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:40 AM

The OP's RM database was at

 

            c:\Users\<username>\Google Drive\Genealogy\RootsMagicDB\<myRMDBfile>.rmgc

 

which is on the local C: drive. That's how these things all work. I could be wrong, but I don't think that there is a cloud sharing service where the data is "all in the cloud" rather than being "local and mirrored in the cloud". Being "local and mirrored in the cloud" truly is the norm.

 

Having said that, whether your files are really "local and mirrored in the cloud" or whether they are really "just in the cloud" can to a certain extent be in the eye of the beholder. Let's take RM on the desktop and the RM mobile app and Dropbox for example.

 

Even if you "don't run Dropbox" and even if you "don't keep your RM database in Dropbox", a way to get your RM database from your desktop machine to your mobile device is to run Dropbox on your desktop and to place a copy of your RM database in your local Dropbox folder. I emphasize "a copy" because this is not the RM database on your desktop that you work on. On a periodic basis, you just make a second copy of your real RM database and the second copy is in your local Dropbox folder. Then you install the Dropbox app on your mobile device and you install the RM mobile app on your mobile device. The RM mobile app can then get a copy of your RM database from the Dropbox app on the mobile device on a just in time basis and only when it needs it. So in a sense, to your mobile device your RM database can be seen to be be "in the cloud".

 

Let's suppose you have three desktop/laptop computers (say two Windows and a Mac) and four mobile devices in your house - your iPhone and iPad, your spouse's iPhone, and your child's iPhone. You can install Dropbox on all seven devices. And let's suppose you put "all your data" into the local Dropbox folder on your three desktop/laptop computers. By default, "all your data" will be local to all three desktop/laptop computers all the time. The four mobile devices don't have anywhere near enough storage to contain all your data all the time. But you can look at any of your data in your Dropbox folder on any of your mobile devices, provided it's a file type that your mobile devices can understand. For example, my iPhone can display things like JPG files and DOCX files (Microsoft Word files) and lots of other file types just fine. And if I have the RM mobile app installed, I can display RMGC files just fine on my iPhone. But unlike on my desktop/laptop machines, the files aren't really on my iPhone until I need to look at them. When I need to look at them my iPhone, the Dropbox app on my iPhone makes a local copy on my iPhone, getting the copy from the cloud.

 

And just to confuse things, Dropbox on the desktop/laptop has options (NOT THE DEFAULT) where some or all of your files are not really there until you need them, either. But if you open a file that is not really there, you are not reading the file to and from the cloud. As a part of opening the file, Dropbox syncs the whole file to your local hard disk before the file can used. I keep saying Dropbox because that's the one I use. I also use OneDrive and it works the same way. From everything I have read about Google Drive I think it works the same way. And I think all of them work the same way. Nothing is really read or written to and from the cloud. Everything is written to and from a local folder. The files are either in the local folder all the time or just in time, and the default is usually all the time on desktop/laptop devices and just in time on mobile devices.

 

I understand not trusting Google. If you don't trust Google, do you trust Microsoft with OneDrive? Do you trust the Dropbox company with Dropbox. Do you trust the Idrive company with Idrive? If you want to share your data across all your devices like this, you will have to trust one of them. I mostly trust Dropbox but even so I run a piece of encryption software called BoxCryptor which works well with Dropbox and several of the other cloud sync services. Most of my Dropbox data is not encrypted, but all my personal financial data that I keep in Dropbox is encrypted.

 

There are indeed "fully in the cloud" services, but I don't know of any that store files per se. Doing so would simply be too slow. For example, ancestry.com itself without TreeShare to RM is sort of a "fully in the cloud" sharing service. You can create a tree at ancestry and fully share that tree with your spouse or cousin or sibling and all of you can work on the same tree. I'm not sure how ancestry works if more than one of you is working on the tree at the same time, but I think it works. But it works because it's not a Windows or Mac file that is being shared and there are not multiple copies of the data. There is only one copy of the data and it's at ancestry. The app at ancestry works out the sharing aspects of working in this manner and none of the data is synced with a file on your local device.

 

Jerry



#7 robertjacobs0

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 01:52 PM

Dear Jerry,

 

I don't care to trust my data to any of them — fortunately, I have no need or desire to access the data from devices other than my desktop and laptop machines. I publish what I wish via GedSite on a server hosted by John Cardinal. If these practices may make me a kind of computer-age Luddite, then so be it. I guess the point is that I control the data, keep private what I wish to keep private, and send out only what I am willing to show the public.

 

The practical consequence for my genealogical research is that I can access the website from any computer or cell phone that connects to the net; I can only work on my RM7 database from one of the computers — desktop at home, laptop on the road. This limitation seems to me a small price to pay for avoiding Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, and Ancestry sharing.

 

BTW,  I was one of the victims of the Equifax hack. There's little reason to believe that the various cloud services are hack-proof. If I may say so, you're wise to encrypt your financial data.

 

 

Robert



#8 JimDavis79

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 06:18 AM

Trying not to pile on.  I'm in the camp that works on multiple computers and stores backups locally and in the cloud.  I commend to your inspection a tool call Free File Sync to keep everything updated.  Works flawlessly, is donation-ware and is easy to run.  I back up every day with very little effort.


Best regards, Jim

"When you shake my family tree, nuts fall out."


#9 Vyger

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:03 AM

Cloud storage is a great way of keeping some things in sync but it is not recommended for your RM database. I know some who use it without problems but it is heavily dependent on your connection speed and working with the local folders on your machine created when the cloud storage service is installed.


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