Dear Thortspace … auto sync to the cloud is awkward

“The auto sync to the cloud is IMO awkward for the user. I personally don’t always sync to the cloud, so I need to be able to save locally and then decide at a later date whether to sync or not.”


Alternative title for this article is: How do saving, realtime collaboration and syncing to the cloud work in Thortspace from a technical point of view?

And how should this functionality work from a user experience point of view?

I agree that there is a lot of things we can do to make sync and collaboration more user friendly, but I think that is a separate issue from the mechanics of how the sync and collaboration work in respect of the technical approach taken.

ie. I agree with your sentence 1: auto sync to the cloud is currently awkward. And I agree that there needs to be more user transparency and possibly control in respect of when sync happens.

However, technically speaking, all saving in the Thortspace App (apart from when participating in a collaboration session) currently is already being done locally.

Related article:

Ie. unless you are a participant in a realtime collaboration session, whenever you save in Thortspace, the sphere file is saved instantly to your local cache — that is what happens when you either manually trigger a “Save” from the menu, or when the autosave kicks in a does one whether you want it or not.

By the way, if you don’t like a saved change, there is an Undo button in Thortspace which I think tracks all the changes made to a sphere since you opened the App — so you can always go back to state you liked more if there was one. Also at fairly regular intervals, if you are logged into Thortspace cloud server, the server takes a snapshot of your sphere at a current moment, and these appear on the “History” tab — bottom tab on the left-hand side.

You don’t have to be logged into the Thortspace cloud service at all for save to work, but your spheres will not readily sync between devices if you are not. If you are happy to keep spheres isolated on particular devices you don’t ever need to log in — at least that is currently how the App works.

Then, if you are logged into the Thortspace cloud service then (from memory) about every 15 seconds or so, any updated spheres are synced to the cloud.

In contrast, with real-time collaboration sessions, one of the collaborating devices is automatically assigned to be the P2P host for collaboration.

If you are a participant in a realtime collaboration session, any changes you make are immediately merged with the designated host device of the collaboration session, and in this case your sphere file is initially only saved on the device which is hosting the collaboration session (and then synced to the cloud as per paragraph 2 back).

Andrew is a Product Designer at Thortspace, the world’s first collaborative 3D mind mapping software. Thortspace enables breakthrough collaborative thinking whenever and wherever you need it most. More stories here.



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Andrew Bindon

Andrew Bindon


Andrew is a Product Designer at - #3D #collaborative #thought_mapping #app. See it more than one way!