Network access to files
Previous: Thumb-drives supported
The Personal Editions (Pro and Lite) and the Student Edition do not support direct network connections for files that are to become occurrences. You will need to move or copy a networked file to your computer before it can become a Topicscape occurrence.
You can't assign the folder where your Topicscapes will be stored (called the "My Topicscapes" folder if you did not change that) or database files (.3DT) to a network location. Also, it will not be able to open Topicscape .3DT files that are accessed from a network share, and it will not accept the introduction of files that are on a network share, whether they are to become copied, moved or 'point-to' occurrences.
If a file is on your own computer, but you have shared the directory it is held in, you cannot access it over the share. For example if your computer is MyPC, and your shared documents folder is C:\Users\Public\Public Documents, shared as MyShared and there is a file in there that you want to bring into a Topicscape, you need to access it like this:
you cannot bring it into Topicscape if you drag it from the folder viewed like this:
even though it is ultimately the same folder.
Sharing Topicscapes between computers
But if you need to share Topicscape files among, say, a work computer and a home one, in addition to the USB approach mentioned in the previous section, you can use a Cloud synchronization service. Internally, we have used OpenDrive and DroBox for this, but there are many others. Most have a free option.
Once set up, this will keep multiple Topicscapes in step, and it provides transparency about its actions, allowing you to decide on updating and deletion of files, or give you the option to allow synchronization of various types to take place unattended, once you have recorded your decision.
If you use OpenDrive, you might find it convenient to make a small change after installing Topicscape. Instead of accepting the default location for your Topicscapes, which is:
C:/Users/<your account name>/My Topicscapes
you may want to change it to
C:/Users/<your account name>/Documents/My Topicscapes
The default is set up to minimize path lengths but the second choice is better suited to the way OpenDrive works, because it has a "My Documents" folder.
You can also use files in other cloud services, provided that you are referencing files located in your own computer, where those files are in the folder(s) that are synced via the cloud.
For DroBox, this would typically be files in C:\Users\<You>\Desktop\Dropbox (Topicscape will not directly manipulate files seen at https://www.dropbox.com/h in the web interface).
You can copy an entire Topicscape to C:\Users\<You>\Desktop\Dropbox and operate it from there, and the Topicscape will be synced across multiple PCs.
Using the cloud is not a true multi-user solution, because all versions of Topicscape are personal products, really intended for use on one machine only. It does not look out for, or handle, update collisions where two people are trying to edit one file simultaneously (or before the first change to the file has propagated to the other PC). That said, provided there are real-world agreements that avoid simultaneous editing, this is a useful half-way house to multi-user operation. Simultaneous editing includes two people working on the same Topicscape at the same time, because the .3DT file is being continuously updated, even if none of the occurrence files in the Topicscape are being edited.
Assistance converting to the Cloud
If you have already installed Topicscape in the default location, there is an item in the Tools menu that will help you make this change:
Tools > Permanently move Topicscape's base folder ('My Topicscapes')
These are the limitation of using a cloud service with Topicscape:
- If you are using cloud synchronization you should not use the Link option when introducing files to Topicscape. Instead select Move or Copy. Any files you link to in Topicscape (rather than moving or copying into Topicscape) will only be accessible on the original PC, unless you've linked to a file somewhere in the cloud service's local folder. It will appear inside the topic cone in black text as an occurrence and will show <file missing>.
- Some Topicscape settings are held in the Windows registry, and these will not be transferred by DropBox.
- Anything in Topicscape Box will only be accessible on the PC on which they were transferred to Topicscape Box.
- Finally, and the reason we ourselves do not use cloud services for our Topicscapes, you have less control over access to cloud files than files that are only on your own PC - but we're just paranoid.
A common case
The most straightforward use of the cloud with Topicscape would be having a work computer and a home PC with access to the same Topicscape by synchronizing a Topicscape folder on each via the cloud. This is commonly done.