My File System (if no file system or app is previewed in iOS 5)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by anthonymoody, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    #1
    For those of you who have followed similar paths as I, using an iPad as a primary computer (see my signature...), or even for those who haven't, the lack of a real file system on the ipad has been one of its bigger drawbacks.

    The situation is made worse by the way the current system results in multiple copies/versions of documents floating around iOS, a new one created each time the document is passed between apps. Add in the further difficulty of keeping things seamlessly sync'd with a Mac, and its quite a mess overall.

    I still use a mac as my media hub/sync for my household (also the source of streaming music for whole-house audio), and my preference would be for the Mac to also serve as a backup to my files, with the primary copy existing on my iPad. I would also like it all synced to the cloud. My current document (only) files total about 20GB and I definitely want a high ceiling for growth (call it 50GB).

    So. If Apple doesn't preview a viable solution to meet my needs when we get a peak at iOS 5, I am likely to shift away from my current workflow (which combines Goodreader, iWork apps, and minor use of Dropbox, iDisk, and Box.net for moving files back to the mac for back up purposes) and adopt a more refined solution I've been researching.

    It turns out that box.net offers direct file syncing with folders on a computer. So the idea would be to sync the entire documents folder on the Mac, and use the box.net app in place of Goodreader (assuming it too features AirPrint and a good search function), or continue to use Goodreader and use *its* syncing capabilities to sync with the box.net stuff.

    Dropbox does not offer direct (easy) folder syncing on a computer, however I did find a fairly simple to implement command line thing to create a pointer that gives you the same result. So I could conceivably go this route instead (I suppose it'd come down to the pricing for 50GB of storage bt the two services, and how robust each app is).

    The other neat thing is that iwork apps can directly download from, and save to, either Dropbox or box.net via WebDAV. Its not quite as nice as how it works with iDisk, but once you set it up its not so bad. I've already set it up for Dropbox and it works pretty well.

    With this in place, I'd have primary versions of everything on the iPad, accessible and backed up in the cloud, and synced back to my mac for further back up and local access if needed.

    I'd MUCH rather that Apple give us an app, or system change, that does all this better and more easily and in that Apple way wherein stuff just works. But if the iOS 5 preview disappoints, this is the next step for me...
     
  2. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #2
    What do you mean by "direct folder syncing"? Because I thought that is what I've been doing with Dropbox... :confused:
     
  3. anthonymoody thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    #3
    Sorry yes let me clarify. What I mean is the ability to say "I want my dropbox to automatically sync with folder X on my desktop." That is a touch above and beyond what Dropbox does out of the box. So to speak :)

    You can get it to do what I described with a command line instruction that creates a pointer that tells Dropbox to sync with whatever folder you're pointing to, including your entire documents folder should you wish.
     
  4. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #4
    Ah, gotcha. Now that you mention it, I remember I was at first frustrated that Dropbox didn't have that functionality. Then I reorganized my documents into "things I want synced with Dropbox" and "things I don't want synced," and it's been working so well I forgot about it. In a way, having to separate my documents by this criteria has simplified my workflow.

    I beleive you deal with many many more documents than I do, so the lack of a proper file system on the iPad must be much more problematic for you. For my purposes, however, Dropbox + File Browser provides me with 95% of the functionality I need. I just have to periodically delete outdated copies of documents from Pages. Which for me isn't bad, because I only load a few documents into Pages at any one time.

    But then, the iPad isn't my primary computer, it's my on-the-go computer, with my iMac still the main computer for most tasks. Well, my ToDo list is now only on my iPad. And also my time tracking app. I think iOS devices really shine at PDA tasks. I never did find task/time management programs that I liked at a reasonable price for the computer, but iOS apps in this category are just wonderful.
     

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