iCloud Sync Issues

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  • August 12, 2021 at 8:47 AM #44952

    Dean Harris
    Participant

    I am synching Tap Forms between two iOS devices via iCloud but continue to experience issues when doing so using my iPad Pro.

    Device 1: iPhone 12 Pro (iOS 14.7.1) – Syncs flawlessly to the cloud every time.

    Device 2: iPad Pro (iOS 14.7.1) – Only syncs when the app is initially opened. After making a few changes, those changes are “saved” to the device but NOT synched back to the cloud unless I close and re-open the app to “kick-start” the synching process.

    In the meantime, if I open the app on my iPhone and make any changes, the next time I launch the app on my iPad any previously made “iPad” changes are overwritten by my recent changes made while using my phone.

    I have tried everything from using Nearby Sync (instead of iCloud), to re-copying the databases from my phone phone back to my iPad, backing up and restoring, reinstalling the app completely, building a new test app on my iPad to see if perhaps it’s just those existing databases impacted, etc… and all to no avail.

    The only difference between to the two devices is my phone is Wi-Fi + Cellular, whereas my iPad is Wi-Fi only. However, Tap Forms is the only app that gives me synching issues on my iPad. All my other iPad apps synch w/o issue. So it’s not the Wi-Fi.

    That said, as much as I love Tap Forms, I find myself looking for an alternative as I continue to lose hours’ worth of valuable work unless I consciously remember to “force sync” my changes by quitting and restarting the app every time I make a change that I want to stick.

    That said, open to feedback and suggestions. But at my wits’ end. :-(

    August 12, 2021 at 2:54 PM #44953

    Sam Moffatt
    Participant

    I don’t have an answer for the iCloud issues, I personally use CouchDB for everything and that usually works. If you have an always on device running a major desktop OS (Mac, Linux or Windows), then CouchDB will run on it and you can sync with it. For small use cases, IBM Cloudant works as well but their free tier is limited. Limitation of this is that if you do changes off your wifi, then without punching holes in your network, you need to reopen TF on your network to sync the changes.

    August 13, 2021 at 8:50 AM #44958

    Dean Harris
    Participant

    Thanks much. But the device IS connected to WiFi when the changes are being made. It’s not like I’m off in a forest somewhere making edits. This is evident because an initial sync happens when I launch the application and if I quit and restart the app, it syncs again. If I didn’t have a good WiFi connection that sync wouldn’t take place. I also encountered the same issues when trying Nearby sync instead. It’s like the application just decides to quit responding after the first few edits and the only way to “send” those follow-up changes is by restarting the app BEFORE you make changes on another device. Otherwsie, work is lost.

    August 14, 2021 at 12:31 AM #44962

    Brendan
    Keymaster

    Hi Dean,

    When you made the small database to sync, did that work at all? Or are you saying that even on a new, smaller database you also had these same sync issues?

    FYI, I am working on a new version which will have better sync and even Dropbox as a sync option. Although it’ll be a while before it’s ready.

    Thanks,

    Brendan

    August 14, 2021 at 4:37 PM #44971

    Sam Moffatt
    Participant

    I wonder if there is a poison record somewhere gumming up the works. The nearby sync works by pulling changes from other devices which works around a certain amount of issues because it’s not pushing the change. That does mean the app needs to be open and in the foreground for the sync to happen on iOS devices though I gather that’s likely not the problem.

    Personally I’d look at setting up Apache CouchDB on your Mac and let it run in the background then use it to sync. The CouchDB sync is bidirectional so that it will both push changes as they happen to the server but also will pull the changes as they happen so other devices see them quickly. This is different to the pull only model of nearby sync. By default that will only work whilst your Mac is on, CouchDB is running and you’re on your network but that might make things a little more stable or at least give you a more interesting error message.

    The only other thing I’d do is resend a clean copy of the database from a master device and replace the others but I gather you’ve already done it.

    August 15, 2021 at 2:33 PM #44979

    Dean Harris
    Participant

    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    Brendan, to answer your question, Yes… even the smallest database presents issues but only on the iPad. Again, when opening the app on iPad, the first thing the app does is checks for any pending changes and makes the appropriate updates. After which, if I begin editing or adding records (still on the iPad) the first few edits work and appear to sync “as I go”. But after 2 or 3 min. it stops synching completely. If I close the app when finished w/o remembering to re-open/re-close the app on iPad to force a sync I will lose all but those initial first few edits I made if I even open the app on my phone and then return to the iPad later. Seems similar to what [tonyt] just reported (#44977) except his issue deals with iPad -> Mac vs. iPad -> iPhone.

    Sam, Yes, you are correct I tried that twice already. And for the record, I encountered the same behavior when using both iCloud Sync (which is very convenient when it works) and Nearby Sync. It’s like the app just gets hung-up on the iPad and needs a kick in the ass to pick up those changes. Even trying to initiate a manual sync (using the sync button) produces no response.

    August 15, 2021 at 4:25 PM #44981

    Sam Moffatt
    Participant

    The Nearby Sync will only work if Tap Forms is active on each device at the same time. If the device goes to sleep, iOS will put Tap Forms into the background and sync will stop. In the case where if you’re making changes on your iPad and the iPhone goes to sleep, any changes that happen won’t be sync’d until you have both open at the same time. That’s mostly a limit of iOS and how aggressively it terminates applications once the device locks. Nearby Sync is a pull system so that means that each device needs to pull the changes from the other, reconcile them locally and then the other device needs to pull the reconciled changes.

    If you’ve got another desktop class device, Mac/Linux/Windows, I’d still recommend installing CouchDB on it and seeing if that makes things more reliable for you.

    August 15, 2021 at 5:01 PM #44982

    Dean Harris
    Participant

    Thanks. Yes, I’m aware that. But the app still hangs with both devices open and next to each other. In other words, I understand the differences between the two sync options I’ve tried. I really don’t believe this is sync issue as much as some sort of file corruption.

    That said, I think I identified the isolated area down to one collection of forms contained within my “Media Library” documents. The other collection of Documents seem to be synching ok. While everything in this particular document folder (CDs/DVDs/LPs/Info Tables) tends to be problematic, even down to the very smallest form containing only 11 simple records. Just not sure how to fix it. The same Document collection works flawlessly on my iPhone and I already tried deleting the Media Library forms and resending working copies from my phone back to my iPad.

    I’ve attached screen shots of what it the Media Library Document looks like “hanging” upon opening and while editing. As well as my Home Screen displaying other working documents.

    I guess what I’m asking now, is what is the best way to restore that collection of forms w/o losing my data. As previously mentioned, I’ve already tried deleting them and resending the “working” forms from my iPhone back to my iPad. I’ve tried backing up and restoring the forms (which seems like it just brought along the problems I had), I’ve compacted the databases as well. Completely deleted the entire Tap Forms app from the iPad and re-download the app. I’m at a loss.

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    August 15, 2021 at 10:29 PM #44987

    Brendan
    Keymaster

    Hi Dean,

    One thing you could try is to rebuild your document into a new, fresh document. Use the Export Tap Forms Archive command to export a copy of each of your forms. They’ll appear in the Exports folder in the Files area on the Tools tab.

    Then create a new, empty document and import each .tfarc file by going to the Exports folder, then tapping on the .tfarc file. Tap Forms will ask you if you want to import the archive.

    That will hopefully prevent the problem coming along when you use the Send Document function or backup and restore.

    Thanks,

    Brendan

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