Advanced Sync and Auto-Merge (iOS)

With the release of Strongbox 1.51.0 comes (finally) the much requested “Advanced Sync” feature. We wrote about this a little in our previous update about Compare & Merge. It is the “Merge” part of this feature where the real magic happens. This is core component that Advanced Sync relies on to perform smart updates so that you don’t lose or overwrite your important data.

Advanced Sync occurs in two directions. When you tap (or pull down) on your database, you “read” the latest version of your database from say Dropbox or your SFTP server for example. It also occurs when you add items or edit your database on your iOS device and push changes (or “write”) to the same remote storage provider.

Advanced Sync checks to see if the remote (e.g. Dropbox) database has been modified or changed from the copy you have “locally” on your device. It’s quite possible if you’ve got a family member or colleague working on the same database, or if you’re working across multiple devices swiftly. This leads to the dreaded “Sync Conflict” scenario. There are two conflicting versions of your database.

Previously you would have no choice but to choose between versions (local or remote) and allow an overwrite to happen. Less than ideal. Worse still, this may just have happened silently and you didn’t even get the option to choose which version to keep.

Sync Conflict Scenario – Now with option to Auto-Merge

With Advanced Sync, not only do you get informed that there are differences between your local copy and the remote, but you can view them (this is a Pro feature) and then choose to “Auto-Merge” them (available to all users Free and Pro) so that you keep both sets of changes. The Merge algorithm (described in more detail here) picks the latest changes, archives the older changes in your history and basically just does the right thing, getting out of your way. It won’t force you to pick a version in a confusing fashion either! It really is the best of all possible worlds as an old philosopher once said.

This has been a long requested feature and we believe this kind of functionality is a blessing in a password manager based on flat files and not on a centralised server where someone else owns your data. We hope you’ll agree this is really useful and important.

That’s it from us, it’s been a busy period of development (apologies for the flurry of updates recently!) and getting these changes out the door is not as smooth a process as we always hope. Thanks for putting up with these changes and please feel free to share this article if you think it will be of interest to anyone.

Coming Soon: We’ll talk a little about Offline Editing, our latest and (possibly) greatest feature!

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