Syncing folders (i.e. making sure that the changes you make in one folder are reflected onto the other) can greatly help to improve your workflow and save you from extra housekeeping chores you have to undertake to make sure that the files you are working on include the latest changes you made while you were on your laptop or at work.
DirSync Pro is an open source portable application that can help you to quickly set up, synchronize and manage synced folders. A mere 670 KB download, you just need to extract the ZIP file and it’s ready to rock!
DirSync Pro is a Java application, this means that it can run on Windows, Linux and Mac. What this also means is that you need to have Java runtime on your machine to run DirSync Pro (which is generally installed on most systems or else you can download it here).
Once DirSync Pro is up and running you need to set up the directories you want to sync. You can specify a directory label (something descriptive that you will use to identify your sync setup) and then the directories, of course. You can setup a one way sync from A to B or B to A or a two-way sync between A and B.
DirSync Pro also gives you full control over what you want to copy and what not to. You can specifically include or exclude files and folders within the directories you are syncing. You can specify which files you want to sync – newly created, larger, modified or all. You can optionally keep backups of changed or deleted files, specify how sync conflicts should be handled and how to handle file deletions.
In addition, you can create a set of default settings according to your needs. These default settings are used, unless you override them with custom settings for a directory pair.
One feature that I truly adore is the ability to create lists (which are somewhat like profiles). You can setup directories just like above for each list. When you are done just hit save and DirSync Pro will generate a config file. This allows you to have separate directories synced according to your current need. If, for example, you have connected your laptop, you can load the laptop list and then synchronize all your file between laptop and desktop computer. No need to run those syncs everytime you try to sync a directory or two when you don’t even have a laptop connected.
DirSync Pro can be used to sync files across different file systems and over a network. It can handle symbolic links and time stamps very well and has worked flawlessly for me for quite sometime now. I use synced directories to back up my USB pen drives, backup my files to an external hard disk, set up automatic syncing of project files or important configuration files (vimrc’s, bookmarks etc) between work and home using a combination of DirSync Pro and Dropbox.
Do you sync directories? What clever hacks have you come up with in terms of syncing? Are you a devout Dropbox user? How do you think this compares? Mention them in comments!