Sync between machines


I’m new to Joplin and tried to put a simple setup in place: taking notes on a Android tablet and a Windows PC and having notes kept in sync between the two machines… but totally failed.

My Android 8.1 tablet has Joplin 1.0.312 installed on it. I have a single notebook, containing a single note (text only). I have deleted the notebook and notes that are created by default. I have setup synchronization targeting the file system, with a path of /storage/emulated/0/Documents/Joplin (side-note: I had to find the path using another app, the configuration field provide no help, having the equivalent of a “file picker” would be more user-friendly).

When I synchronize, two “.md” files are created in this directory, and also 3 directories with a name starting with a dot. Side-note: those files are not Mardown files, as the name implies, more like a mix of YAML and JSON, and are not made to be modified by the user; “.md” files are supposed to be human-editable text files with a markdown syntax, so that choice of extension is confusing.

First question: there seems to be a JEX file format that Joplin can work with, how can I sync my note to a Jex file on Android? Having a single file instead of a directory structure would be more convenient for reasons I’ll describe below.

By connecting my tablet to my PC (running Windows 7) via USB, I can access and copy the .md files to a local directory (the hidden “dot” directories are not exposed by Android and cannot be copied, even when Windows is configured to show hidden directories). Using Joplin portable v1.0.175, I tried to import the notes using the “Import > RAW Joplin Directory” by then I get an error : SQLITE_CONSTRAINT: NOT NULL. When I recreate the .lock/.ressource/.sync directories and their content exactly as they are on the Android directory, I get the same error when trying to import.

I though the principle was simple. Install Joplin on my tablet and my PC, synchronize each of the app to a local JEX file and then find a way to keep both JEX files synced remotely (by copying, or using one of the zillion methods there are to keep a file in sync between several machines). Obviously I missed something.

Second question: How do I setup a flow to share notes between several machines using the “file system” sync, not OneDrive nor Nexcloud nor the orther cloud options that are build-in?

Hopefully, the issue is obvious to one of the more experimented used, I’ll appreciate any help.


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I’m new to Joplin myself, so my information may not be entirely correct - but you can’t sync in the way you picture it. Joplin uses two locations on all its apps: the sync location (which is a location that should be accessible by all clients and should never be touched by human hands) and the location where the notes are stored (your working folder).

It’s definitely not possible to import the sync folder using JEX or any other means - it would lead to no end of problems. That is the reason why Joplin offers so many cloud services, because you need a central location for the sync folder (I use Dropbox but the closest to completely self hosting would be something like NextCloud).

I really don’t think you can sync both Windows and Android to the same location using the file system itself… you might find something useful here but I’m not sure how reliable such a feature would be with Joplin. Edit: even that uses some cloud service, so really I don’t think there is any app that syncs a folder directly between Windows and Android!

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Thank Sophia for your answer. Right now I just tried to generate a “sync location” on one system, and copy it manually to another system to try to sync. Off course, in a day-to-day use, this would lead to conflicts and stuff but I’m doing it sequentially, just for testing.

Until this very basic procedure succeeds between system, I consider that my understanding of how Joplin works is incorrect, so it’s pointless to automate the mirroring between systems. I know at least a couple of ways to keep specific file or directory mirrored between Android and Windows: freefilesync with local disks, Syncthing on a LAN, Autosync for Google Drive via the cloud, etc.

Still curious if anyone can point me to some documentation or tutorial so I can understand how synchronization via local filesystem is supposed to work. Main documentation doesn’t say much about it and I would like not to have to dig into the source code for that.


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We're learning together :slight_smile: And hopefully a more experienced user will be able to answer you more extensively than I could :smiley:

I don't think that your idea is entirely impossible - just the way you pictured it. Theoretically you should be able to copy your sync folder across to some Windows location - and then point the Windows sync location (Tools - Options - Synchronisation - point "File system" to the sync location - wait for your notes to be populated).
Then copy back that sync location to your Android sync location, and wait for the app to process the changes (Menu, Synchronise, wait for it to finish).

The real problem, I think, is in getting that Android folder to sync with your Windows folder - but if you can find a way to make that happen, you should be home free. Theoretically :smiley:

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@Sophia, @Vokaye !

Even if I’m not an experienced user myself, I can say that I have noticed similar problems as described by Vokaye.

I’m syncing Joplin via WebDav between a PC and my mobile phone. I’m using a very small Todo-List every day, which sometimes sync to my PC and sometimes does not.

However, as far as I now, the syncing-business is a very tricky one and I’m pretty sure, that it will work perfect one day. So I’m backing up my database on a regular basis at the moment.

I really love Joplin and Laurent is doing a great job here…

Syncing with Dropbox just works for me.(4MB 1000 notes) …maybe you want to give it a try…

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@patrick-atgithub: I definitely will, thank you so much!

Can confirm - Dropbox is rock solid. I have synced thousands of notes (5GB because I have lots of big attachments) and it took it all in stride. For the sake of testing (and following advice, haha) I just deleted over 3,000 PDF notes (this got my database back to just over 2GB) and Joplin/Dropbox handled it all without a hitch.

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@Sophia thank you, i just restarted Joplin with Dropbox. Wow I'm really impressed - 3000 pdf files - the Dropboxsync must be really rock solid :sunglasses:

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