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Issue 2.5

REVIEW

You Synchronize

Issue: 2.5 (May/June 2004)
Author: Toby Rush
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,013
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 2507
Related Web Link(s):

http://www.yousoftware.com/

Full text of article...

Anyone who deals with more than one computer understands the importance of file synchronization: being able to change a file on one computer and have a copy of that file automatically updated on another computer. Ideally, this should be an invisible process, yet flexible enough to handle specific situations differently if the user so desires.

There are several synchronization programs on the market, and You Software's You Synchronize is a respectable and noteworthy entry. Made with REALbasic, this program sports a neat, attractive interface and is easy to use. It also provides some added functionality to the basic synchronization scheme without getting needlessly complex.

Setting up the program is simple: when the program first opens, it takes you to the Settings pane of the main window, where you can specify the folders (one on each computer, presumably) which you'd like to synchronize. Once you've selected the folders you want to synchronize, you're ready to go; press the "Sync" button and You Synchronize rapidly makes sure the folders mirror each other precisely.

The primary strengths of the program, however are in the details. In the Settings pane you can specify some aspects of the synchronization, such as directionality (whether or not you want one folder to always blindly overwrite the other) and means of disposal (if you'd like removed files to be archived, put in the trash, or deleted in a way that makes them irretrievable).

Another important setting is the type of comparison You Synchronize makes to determine which files should be overwritten. The default method is Checksum, which analyzes the entire file to determine whether or not a file has been modified. This method is more thorough and trustworthy than just checking the file's modification date, although the latter method is available as a quicker option.

The program allows for multiple synchronization sets via the Projects drawer, which allows you to create, delete, edit, or rename new synchronization sets. Each set retains its own settings and historical data. You Synchronize also provides an interface for scheduling automatic synchronization.

To its credit, You Synchronize is easy enough to use that online help is more or less unnecessary. However, for those who need some coaching, the help window is a little difficult to manage. The documentation is provided in a single scrolling window with practically no formatting, making it tough to skim through. A search utility is provided for the text in this window, but it's a little surprising -- especially given the amount of polishing the rest of the program shows -- that online help isn't presented in concise, task-oriented Help Viewer screens.

Of course, the online help deficiencies are minor, and the program is a solid one with a great interface. You Synchronize provides a lot of power in an extremely intuitive format, and chances are slim that the average user will ever need to open the help window anyway.

End of article.