Dropbox and Text files -- OS X doesn't play well

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by booyahbooyah, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. booyahbooyah, Apr 14, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013

    booyahbooyah macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2011
    Here's the situation.

    I have a textfile on my Dropbox. I open, edit it, and close it via various devices, including an iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, and Mac with OS X Lion.

    Only my Mac gives me problems.

    Here's what happens:
    1) I make changes to the text file in some device that is not my Mac.
    2) Next, on my Mac, I control-click on my text editor's icon on the Dock, and I see the file in the list of "recently used" list of files.
    3) I click on this text file's name.
    4) It opens up some old version of that file. E.g., if the file name was "myNotes.txt", it will open up a file named "myNotes (deleted 9weri090w09e8rw).txt". And it opens this file from a hidden location that seems to be the local cache of Dropbox's deleted files.
    5) Text editors I've tried so far: textEdit and textWrangler.

    I know that one of the persistent issues with the OS X is that Applications do not behave in predictable, consistent ways. I also realize that Steve Jobs had anal issues with cross-platform software and may have asked Apple engineers to deliberately create problems for people like me who also happen to use Windows PCs.

    Nevertheless, I'm okay with all this because I've figured out workarounds for all the typical problems.

    But I can't seem to fix this situation. What can I do to fix it?
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Before you blame Steve Jobs for conflict in the Middle East, you would be wise to learn that many people use Dropbox across platforms and have no problems with it. In my case, I use it on MacOS X 10.4.11, OS X 10.8.3, Window 7 Home Premium, and iOS. On none of my target platforms do I have your issue.

    This is a forum in which Mac users help each other. It might be useful for those who have your issue to post your workaround.

    You should be mindful of the fact that saving a document in a new application may change its file type. This is not a Dropbox issue. Whatever you are doing, you are forcing your editors to access their backup copies of your documents. This is not guaranteed to work, but it is worth a try:

    For TextWrangler:
    1. Select TextWranger/Preferences.
    2. Click Application in the sidebar.
    3. Uncheck Reopen documents that were open at last quit.
    For TextEdit:
    1. Select TextEdit/Preferences.
    2. Click the Open and Save tab.
    3. Check Delete the automatic backup file under When saving a file:
    See if these suggestions fix your problems.
  3. booyahbooyah, Apr 16, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013

    booyahbooyah thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2011
    Thank you for your reply.

    It seems to be working for textWrangler. (UPDATE -- it turns out I was being premature -- it doesn't work).

    I don't see that option available for textEdit (perhaps because I have OS X Lion).

  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I use textedit with mountain lion and dropbox and have zero issues with updating files. I update on 3 different Macs and review the files on 3 different ios devices. never a problem with text files.
  5. booyahbooyah thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2011

    Yeah -- I think they fixed the issue with Mountain Lion. I use Lion. Thanks for replying.
  6. printz macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2012
    So, if I have some files continuously open with an Autosaving editor in OSX, those files are saved in Dropbox, then I edit them from another computer without Autosave, then I return to the Mac, what will the Autosaving editor do:

    - update its buffer content to the new version downloaded by Dropbox?
    - keep its buffer content 'frozen' until you change a character, after which you start getting warning messages about conflicting versions?
    - silently overwrite back the version downloaded by Dropbox with the state it has been before Dropbox's edit?
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    The files in your Dropbox folder are shared among each device linked to your Dropbox account. You need to change your workflow to accommodate the fact that certain applications like to hold onto files even while they are shutdown.

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