File/document/photo libraries vs the cloud

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Lastmboy, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Lastmboy macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    I'm hoping to switch to Mac shortly. I realize that I will need to "think" a bit differently when using OSX than in Windows. It's not just a matter of what replaces what. I'm working on this process, but some things still leave me a bit confused.

    In OSX, it seems that many things are stored in libraries or databases, instead of folders. Examples... iPhoto, Aperture, DEVONthink, etc. This is all cool and I can see the many advantages to that approach, particularly when it comes to searching for photos or documents. However, in this world where the "cloud" is so dominant and we share everything everywhere, I'm not sure how this fits in. With iPhoto/Aperture library files or DEVONthink databases, how do you have your photos, documents, etc. in the cloud so you can access them from other computers or devices? Does this mean you have to have duplicates of every file and have them stored and maintained in multiple different formats? How does Mac software fit with the new cloud architecture? :confused:
  2. mrderik macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2010

    This story recently in Apple Insider best explains Apple's thinking behind iCloud.

    iCloud is NOT what most people think of, nor how most people use and access their data, at least not yet. Yes, Mac (OSX) software tends to use library structures for files. That is one of the benefits to an 'integrated' software and operating system. Meaning, in iMovie you can simply click a tab and there's your iTunes music that you can add into your clip. Or your iPhoto library to choose photos to insert. Unfortunately, these library file structures have not been completely compatible with just any cloud based storage service. For instance, Dropbox, as good as it is, does support an iphoto library. But due to several technical issues, you end up burning about twice the dropbox space as your iPhoto library actually contains. And it tends to be slow to sync. Not to mention your (OSX) iPhoto library is not accessible from your iOS iPhone. At least not yet. You can 'sync' the photos, but the whole 'sync' concept is dead at this point. And that's what iCloud is (albeit slowly) replacing.

    SO back to iCloud - it was started - First - as a 'sync' location although it all happens in the background and you never see those 'files'. That's primarily contacts, calendar and e-mail. It has slowly become much more than that. With iOS 5 it became the storage place for your (automatic) iOS device backup. And you can 'store' iOS data files on it so that they are available to all your iOS devices (logged into the same AppleID - AND using the same APP). Note, iCloud does not work like a "Drive" where you copy files to for use on different machines with different software. And you really can't go to it and see everything that is there. That's not what it is. It is more of a 'server' and your "computer / device" becomes a terminal to that server. Yes, the "files" are stored on your devices and the cloud "drive" but you never see them outside of opening one in your application.

    So far it has been primarily limited to iOS application files. Mountain Lion will change that in so much as Applications on an OSX machine will have access to your iCloud 'server' account so that you can work on a file in a specific application on any (OSX or iOS) device. Move to another device, open the SAME application and there it is with your last changes to the same file. But again, the purpose is not to 'store' data files and have access to them from any program on any device. That's what Dropbox is for..... :)

    It's pretty clear at this point that Apple's evolution toward being the 'host' of all your information is on track and will happen, eventually. iCloud (and by extension iTunes) currently can "host" pdf's, music (iTunes match), Pages, Numbers, limited photos (photo stream), rtf (I believe) and numerous proprietary formats that specific APPS use. Again, at some point, it's pretty easy to see where iTunes (match) will also be able to match (or upload) your movies as well, at which point you're most of the way there. The only thing I use my dropbox for anymore is my Scrivener data and home movies.

    It's not perfect by any measure, and iCloud still has a long way to go. But what it does do, is let you see the future. And it is good.... :)

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