I’m running Joplin on two computers running Windows 10 - a laptop and a desktop. Both are running:
Joplin 1.0.201 (prod, win32)
Client ID: (different for each computer)
Sync Version: 1
Profile Version: 28
Revision: e65af8c1 (master)
They are synced through a Nextcloud account (which seems to be syncing all my other files just fine). I am not syncing to WebDAV as my host does not support it, I’m just using the File System as a target and Nextcloud is syncing that folder.
Unfortunately, I’m having some significant (but rather subtle and insidious) syncronisation issues.
For the first few months, things seemed fine. I inputted my data from my old evernote account (manually note by note, not with a file import) and started adding new notes in Joplin. There are probably one or two hundred notes at this point. Things seemed to be working great, apart from occasionally slow sync due to the 3-step sync process (Joplin syncs to local Nextcloud folder, which then syncs to nextcloud folder on other computer, and finally other Joplin client syncs with those files).
So far I have only had one file conflict, after I’d edited a file on both computers simultaneously, and it was nicely marked red in the notebook sidebar and I was able to manually correct the error.
However, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve started noticing some strange behaviour. Certain notes I wanted to add to were not present on the laptop, and my notebook structure seemed a little off. I thought the computers might just be out of sync or slow to sync, but things continued to seem off and I finally sat down with both computers, made 100% sure they were synced, and started comparing files.
The results were very worrying. While I have not found notes with conflicting content (yet), I have found that my notebook structure on laptop does not match what I have on desktop, and I have a non-trivial number of notes on desktop that do not exist at all on my laptop client. I do not know if the reverse is true, if certain parts of the laptop database do not exist on desktop, but I cannot rule it out.
I am quite shocked at this result. I cannot notice a pattern to the affected files. My only hunch (and it’s pretty weak) is that it might have to do with moving sub-notebooks in and out of regular notebooks (with drag and drop in my case), and those changes perhaps not being reflected in the sync process and then causing an ongoing issue within that particular folder. But I have been editing notes inside some of the suspect folders yesterday that sync fine, while there are files created or edited a week or two ago that never synced, so I can’t seem to pin down any definitive logic to the issue myself. Doing a software comparison of the databases is beyond me - I am not a programmer, but right now I’m kind of wishing that I were.
This has been a serious blow to my confidence in Joplin. The issue is not catastrophic (I don’t seem to have mangled or conflicting data), but it’s pretty bad, as I can’t even be sure if my desktop database is definitive to start again from scratch with a fresh install.
I love open software, I love the idea of Joplin, I’ve been taking lots of notes on the issues I come across to file bugs and suggestions and try and contribute to its success, and I was very happy to finally be free of the closed system of Evernote. But this has the potential to subtly threaten the integrity of my personal database in the long term, which, needless to say, is not good. In some ways it’s almost worse than a major corruption, because I can’t tell when the issue started, can’t tell exactly what is affected, and can’t just restore from a backup.
I’ve drawn out a large diagram of the kind of differences I’ve come across between the two installations. Apologies for the massive image, but I thought it best to lay out the various parts of the problem visually.
If you can help explain the potential reasons behind the problem, or any ideas about how to run a (non-programmer friendly) content comparison and the most practical potential solutions (Reinitialize? Export and Re-import? Other fixes?), I would be enormously grateful.
I’m glad I was holding off on adding an Android client to the mix, or I would be in serious trouble with potentially 3 differing databases to try and reintegrate
Joplin is an amazing tool and I want to see it do well, but this has me seriously worried.