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(Archived) HELP: What actions will create a conflicting note?



My colleagues has never been able to update on of my notes in our shared notebook. Every time she gets a "conflicting" error.

Is there a list somewhere of what actions will create that conflict? For example, if I have a specific note open in my desktop client and she updates that same note, does that create a conflict?

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I have zero experience with shared notebooks but these two forum posts from '09, and no longer accessible, were the best explanation of conflicting notes and syncronization I'd seen. I don't know if it really speaks to your issue, but I'll toss it in for the taking:


Re: Conflicting Changes -- documentation for

by engberg on Tue May 05, 2009 11:16 am

If a note is changed in the server from another client (or from the web "client") before you sync changes from your PC, then the client will notice that the version on the server is more recent than the last time it synchronized. These changes can be large (editing the text of the note) or relatively small (adding a tag to that note).

When a client notices that the server's copy of the note has been changed too recently, it will pull down the "current" version from the server and move your local conflicting note into the local "Conflicting..." notebook so you don't lose your changes. You can then discard the conflict notebook whenever you want, or you could decide to keep the local version and discard the one on the server by moving it back to its original location.

- Dave Engberg (Evernote)


Staff Posts: 5901Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:43 pmLocation: Mountain View, CA


Re: synchronization

by engberg on Fri May 15, 2009 7:44 pm

Our synchronization scheme is similar to what you see in a client-server mail system (e.g. IMAP). Under this scheme, the server is always "right" ... it is the definitive answer about what is in your account, in the same way that a mail server is authoritative about what's in a mail box.

When a client syncs, it always gets the list of new changes from the server first, and then it reconciles them locally. This means that the client sees about any conflicting changes first, and may locally resolve them by putting the conflicting local note into a "Conflicts" directory so you don't lose your data. This would only happen if you changed the same note from two different systems before synchronizing, however.

Once the client finishes resolving updates from the server, it asks the server to make a set of updates. For each update, the server verifies that the change will leave your server account in a valid state. I.e. the server won't let you delete a notebook and then upload a note that goes into that notebook. This means that problems are reported on the client, but the server version of your account is not corrupted (unless there's a significant bug).

If you want to make a copy of your notes for local storage, you can use the "Export" feature of either client. You could later import these notes back into your account, but they would be copies of the originals ... they wouldn't affect the original notes.

- Dave Engberg (Evernote)


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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:43 pm

Location: Mountain View, CA


Re: synchronizationby evernoteuser on Fri May 15, 2009 8:19 pm

Thanks for the explanation.

Would I be able to differenciate which note was from the import and which was original? Also with 1000's of notes would I be able to easily delete the duplicates (or maybe filter them out before adding to the db) so that I was only manually dealing with changed notes?

It seems that you are not advocating making straight backups of the database then. Is that correct?


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Re: synchronizationby engberg on Fri May 15, 2009 8:24 pm

You should never get 1000 conflicts in a single sync unless you really worked at it by using two clients, avoiding all synchronization and manually making changes to 1000 different notes that would conflict.

I.e. the conflicts aren't generated by anything that we're doing on the service ourselves, these would come from your own activity on multiple different clients/interfaces without synching first.

The locally edited version of the note always goes into a local "Conflicts" notebook on your computer, and the definitive one from the service goes into the "normal" place in its notebook. I.e. the server wins.

You're definitely welcome to do your own backups of your local database file(s), or to export copies of your notes or notebooks to .enex files for import later. The export files, in particular, could be useful if you made a change that you later regretted. But this isn't strictly necessary.

- Dave Engberg (Evernote)


Posts: 5899

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:43 pm

Location: Mountain View, CA

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Don't know if this still relevant but this will happen if two people or more are working on the same note at the same time.


To avoid this you should edit notes one after the other and always sync your note back to the cloud (the sync button on Mac client, on the web version it's automatic) just before making edits and just after making edits. If you both do that you should avoid getting conflicting notes.


Another solution is to use LiveMinutes (http://appcenter.evernote.com/app/liveminutes/web-apps) which allows you to edit your Evernote notes together in realtime (like in Google Docs). 


Here's a video explaining how it works :



LiveMinutes also lets you chat and even conference in while editing your notes. You can also use LiveMinutes to share and pin comments to documents and visuals. LiveMinutes is free up to 5 workspaces (workspaces are like notebooks, they can contain as many notes as you want and have an unlimited amount of users), which is plenty, but you can also increase the limit by referring people. You can give it a try at http://www.liveminut...s.com/evernote 

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