Sync Services Framework (How It Works and What You Can Do)
Subject:   Incomplete Sync
Date:   2005-11-22 05:03:24
From:   nollam
The story that is so often painted of MacOS Xs sync'ing mechanisms never seems to mention the huge limitations. I love the Mac environment, but was shocked to discover the following. If any of you guys know work arounds let me know.

First, while it is true that address book sync's simply to ones phone and ipod, and while it is true that one can publish a read/writable address book through .mac, it seems that both activities cannot be done together. My assistant publishes a phone book that I subscribe to, but only my local address entries are published when I sync to my phone or ipod. The same problem exists if one subscribes to a shared address book from LDAP, a problem which I incorrectly thought I'd overcome with a .mac account. This limitation makes the service virtually useless to me, and in the case of the author ... has she considered how Jack can sync his address book (that she manages) to his ipod?

The second issue is a little different and concerns iCal. Curiously this does allow shared calendars to be sync'ed to both iPod and phones---it's problem is that the calendars are only readable remotely, and can only be updated at the publishing machine. Multiple writers in a distributed environment adds potential coherency problems if two people update the same entry at the same time, but there are numerous schemes to overcome it.

In the end it seems that iCal sync's because Apple's implementation is to copy (and periodically recopy) shared calendars onto the local machine (replicaation of read-only data is simple). On the other hand, address book does not sync properly, because the data is not copied locally (to avoid coherency problems), though why this should this inhibit sync'ing I have no idea.

Perhaps I've missed a button in a preference somewhere or someone out there has discovered a workaround. I'd love to hear if you have a solution, otherwise I'm going to have to write my own.


-- dave