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Using ComicBase with OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive

Mark J. Castaneda

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This particle article was originally pulled from a newsletter that Pete wrote that's worth sharing.

If you ever get errors using the ComicBase software with errors relating to your database being locked or busy, read on...

There's also a YouTube Video Pete discusses this here: https://youtu.be/YhZMB3SWci8?t=2031

Using ComicBase with Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive

Spoiler Alert: OneDrive Pulls Some Sneaky Stuff that Can Cause Trouble If You're Not Careful!

With ever-increasing speeds for internet speeds, cloud backup solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft's OneDrive are becoming increasingly popular--sometimes they're even pre-installed on new computers, or auto-installed when you activate other software like Office 365.

What all these programs are designed to do is to automatically back-up and sync certain folders on your computer to a server somewhere, so that you can easily share files with others, or have a backup in case something happens to your computer's hard drive. Basically, just by copying files to particular folders on your hard drive, the sharing software takes it as a signal to upload it to the server. Similarly, it'll automatically download a copy from the server if it sees that the copy on your hard drive is older than what the server has.

Most of these sharing programs use a separate folder as their magical "synched" folder. I.e., the "Dropbox" folder if you use Dropbox--so you'd have to intentionally copy something into that folder if you wanted to have the service manage it.

Unfortunately, Microsoft OneDrive, as it frequently comes preinstalled, will attempt to take over your main Documents folder without asking--even going so far as to remap the content from your Documents folder into a special "OneDrive\Documents" folder. This can be a real problem for ComicBase users, since the ComicBase Database typically resides inside the Human Computing\ComicBase Databases folder inside your Documents folder. This means that OneDrive will often take control of that folder and start backing it up every single time you open a ComicBase Database.

Important: Don't Put Your Active Database in the Synched Folder

Since database files tend to be quite large (in ComicBase's case, almost 1 GB in size), and they change every time you open or use them to make even the smallest change, having your active ComicBase Database file in a synched folder like this will result in a huge amount of network activity. Moreover, since databases are loaded in pieces from disk into memory as they're used, the disk copy being backed up is likely not a complete picture of your database--it may not even be an openable copy--so all that network activity is generally for nothing until the database is closed.

The real danger, however, comes if your computer's clock gets out of sync with the clock on the OneDrive (or Google or Dropbox) server. In that cases, the server could conclude that the copy of your work they already have on their server is more recent than the one on your local computer, and attempt to sync up the server copy over your local copy, effectively throwing out the work you just did on your local computer.

If you decide to use one of these services with ComicBase, be sure to avoid letting it sync the folder your have your active database in. In OneDrive's case, go to the OneDrive control panel and either turn off synching of the Documents folder, or move your ComicBase Database to a location which isn't being directly synched by OneDrive. If you'd like to direct your ComicBase's Backups (under Setup > Preferences in ComicBase) to a folder that one of these services syncs, that's just fine--in fact, it could be a great backup for you in case your computer's drive fails. Just don't let them directly sync the folder which contains your main ComicBase Database.

It's Your Computer

Please reach out to your sync service's support desk for more information on using it, but also remember that if a cloud sync service like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox came preinstalled on your new laptop, there's no requirement to use it all. With any pre-installed software, it's a good idea to ask yourself whether you really wanted to use it in the first place--and go and and uninstall it if not.

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  • 11 months later...

It would be extremely helpful if you would provide instructions as to how to change the folder that Comicbase uses to store the database.  My old database file wasn't in my OneDrive folder, but Comicbase kept copying it over into OneDrive. 

Of even greater utility - when you pop up the warning message about saving into OneDrive perhaps you could have a dialog box that asks the user where they would like to have their database stored.   You have options to redirect where the backups should be stored, it should be as easy to setup where the user wants the main database stored. 


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  • 1 month later...

Workaround solution if you don't want to deal with turning off/uninstalling the back program.

-With ComicBase closed, create a new sub-folder on your Local C Drive (ex: My ComicBase Databases)

-move your working database to this folder.

-once moved, simply double-click on your database itself from its new folder location and it'll load into ComicBase.

-immediately quit out of the software. When you start up the software from the ComicBase desktop icon, it'll load the database from its new location.

*if you use ComicBase Sidekick be sure to update the database list (Settings>general tab) so that your database is being accessed from its new folder location.

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  • 10 months later...

I really hope you will fix this.  It's a major bug, frankly.  I have "lost" my database to this almost every time I open it and make even the smallest change. I've moved my DB file every single time with the same steps outlined here - it keeps happening. This time, after entering over 1K issues I just about gave up.  

This is a major issue - cloud computing is vital for many other things in life/business, so please fix this.  I can't just turn off OneDrive, it's important for many other things.  I have loved this software for years, but at this point I find myself wishing there were an alternative.  I am loyal - please fix this!

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Brad, if you move you database file to a folder that OneDrive (or any other sync to cloud software) does not monitor, you should not have a problem.

This is not a ComicBase problem but deals with any database program.

Databases are a terrible process to have some other process mess with it as they are dealing with units of work and commit points. The Cloud sync programs don't care about this and can grab a copy in the middle of database processes getting them out of sync (which defeats the point of syncing).

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