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Can you set VW to check Dropbox for the default files?

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At the moment all of my bespoke stuff (plants etc) is on Dropbox but each user then has to download it to their hard drive. We all use multiple computers and it is getting a bit hard to work out who has which version of what.

Are there any reasons why I could not set up Vectorworks on each computer to look at Dropbox instead of \Applications\Library\default etc and avoid the downloading step?


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I DO NOT KNOW IF THIS WILL WORK... But you can try it any way...

I am assuming that you lot are not on a network... It would be the same process if you were...

Use a workgroup folder in your dropbox and see if VW can find the dropbox directory. We at work, have a workgroup folder located on our server, but I am unsure if a dropbox would work the same...

The workgroup folder would have the same folder hierarchy as the application folder, and you will place the corresponding files in their folders. Including favorites etc...

Go to VW Preferences, User Folders tab, and click add at the bottom to locate the workgroup folder (on the dropbox)...

Let us know if it works...

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A WG Folder allows you and other users (pointing to it) to basically use 'custom-default' resources that are in one location. Any edits made to the resource can replace the existing one. The idea is that everyone shares these resources, and there is no need to open/download them each time. It works pretty much like your Application folder (where VW defaults are stored).

The way VW works is this... It looks for the specific file in the following order:

1. Your User Folder - Should be unique to each user. Where certain custom resources are automatically stored.

2. Your Workgroup Folder - If specified. Very useful for a multi user environment.

3. VW App Folder - Where the factory defaults are stored.

If I understand you correctly, you have a Dropbox folder (kinda works like a server) which users can locate from anywhere. I have never used the Dropbox app. But once you can access it like any other folder from the finder menu, I believe, you should be able to place your WG folder here.

To create it... place a new folder (eg. OFFICE STANDARD), in the Dropbox location. Go to your User Folder (to begin with and get the folders), and copy the 'Libraries' folder into the 'OFFICE STANDARD' folder. Every user should then go to their VW Prefs and point to the 'OFFICE STANDARD' folder on the Dropbox. Granted that this folder is filled with your 'custom-defaults', each user should be able to 'pick-up' these resources straight from VW, once the corresponding folder on THEIR individual VW App folder, does not contain the same named file!

The main thing is (I would think) is that you are almost always connected to the Dropbox via internet, for it to work smoothly. That's all... or so I believe... :-)

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This should work as Dropbox simply places a folder on your hard drive. You can put any folders you want inside it. A background app handles the synchronization.

You don't need to be connected to the Internet to have access to your Dropbox folder (that's the beauty of the system). You'll have the most recently updated files regardless. Of course if you (or anyone else accessing the same Dropbox) makes changes to the files within, an Internet connection is required to sync all the boxes.



VW 12.5.3 ~ 2011, depending on the moon phase

Macs, PCs, and several Amigas

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I believe that VW only looks for Default Content at startup. Therefore, if the content changes in the middle of the day, it is unlikely to be seen.

I also don't know what the effect of changing the content of Favorite files "behind the back" of VW will be.

Both are things I would test and see if they work the way you want/need them to.

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VW checks for Default Content in three places and in the following order.

Firstly in your USER folder which you can specify in Vectorworks>Preferences,

Secondly in a series of Workgroup or Project files that you can rank in order of preference.

Thirdly in the Vectorworks folder in your Applications directory (I'm on a Mac),

You MUST have the following directory structure in the folder you nominate for either USER or Workgroup folder [Named top Level eg VW]/Libraries/Defaults/ or it won't work. At least it didn't on my computer

I set up my Dropbox folder as a Workgroup folder (you select Dropbox/VW and the program then looks for /Libraries/Defaults underneath this. Don't select Dropbox/VW/Libraries/Defaults as the folder or it just sends help messages every time you log on) and it WORKS!

Did try to set Dropbox up as my USER folder but VW "migrates" all content from the default location and I ended up having to reactivate the software and then restore from Time Machine. I'm sure it does work but it didn't for me.


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  • 1 month later...

I am trying to use project specific room finishes in the workgroup folder on the network. I have setup a folder as noted above, which seems to partially work for me. Although the OP was using Dropbox, it should be a similar setup for a network location.

I have modified room finishes and put them in the workgroup folder on the server. When I start a new drawing and insert a space object, the room finish information is pulled from the workgroup folder. When I modify the room finish information, the new finishes are written back to my User folder on my computer. Any changes made will not be accessible to anyone else that might need to modify those finishes.

Is it possible the have any finish changes written back to the Workgroup folder on the network, and not to the User folder on individual computers.


Edited by SteveK
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  • 1 month later...

Speaking just to the Dropbox setup...

I have our entire Library on Dropbox. Here was my method.

Once copied to Dropbox I renamed the original library folder to Library(original) so it was saved but ignored by VW. I then created a new Library folder and created alias' to each folder located in my DropBox library. The only exception here was Favorites. Each users Favorites need to be pointed to their own installation of DropBox on their own drive so these had to be created at each station. Once created at each station, however, all worked well.

Even without any Favorites the Vectorworks Libraries folder in the Resource Browser got to the DropBox library correctly.

One caution, I originally tried to just create one alias named Library linking all contents inside to DropBox but the Favorites conflict caused VW to error out because the paths set in Favorites confused it. Keep Favorites out of DropBox.

This setup allowed for all Default Content from any tool that references Default content to pull it from the DropBox libary.

Anybody who adds anything like a symbol or a wall type back to the library it becomes immediately available to all other users.

I created this setup because I had one guy who works from home 2 days a week but still needed access to our common library. This way he has it because its all part of his DropBox on his computer.

Even from home, however, if he is on-line with his computer he is syncing with DropBox and always up to date with the latest revisions. Even if its only a few minutes after an update.


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