MD2015.7 crashing. + Synching different versions

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flying.boy

05 Dec, 2017 11:04 PM

I have MD 2015.7(1358) on 2 machines running Sierra and HighSierra.
I experience Moneydance crashes/forced exits when attempting any file operation which calls for a file browse screen.

It has been reported that upgrading to 2017 fixes these problems (at least for some people).

I'm nervous about upgrading a program which works fine (mostly) so I was wondering if is possible to continue synching (by having the .moneydance files on iCloud drives) but with 2015 on one machine and 2017 on the other.

If that is a permitted way of working then I could get some hands-on experience of the upgrade and verify that upgrading has fixed the crashes.

Thanks
David

  1. 1 Posted by sth on 05 Dec, 2017 11:46 PM

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    No, the syncing has to be identical versions of MD. See the KB article:
    http://help.infinitekind.com/kb/syncing-and-sharing-data/syncing-wi...

    To fix the crashing bug in High Sierra, you need build 1643 or later, use the "preview" version, since that fix is not in the current release.
    http://infinitekind.com/preview

    A major update of the OS or two usually means that applications also have to be updated....

  2. 2 Posted by flying.boy on 06 Dec, 2017 12:13 AM

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    Thanks for your reply sth.

    Just to clarify:

    Do the 2 computers have to have the same 'build number' as well as version number?

    If/when I download and install MD2017, will it be able to read the existing 2015 data file? (Does it perform some kind of restructuring?) . Having once installed 2017, does this make regressing to 2015 impossible?

    Could I install 2017 ALONGSIDE 2015 for a period while I evaluate 2017 on some test data?

    Thanks
    David

  3. 3 Posted by sth on 06 Dec, 2017 01:18 AM

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    I have no idea if they should have the same build number. I assume that there are fixes in syncing that later builds have but that is just a guess. There is usually some file restructuring between versions. Some have had issue upgrading from very old versions to current versions. But the 2015 -> 2017 update should go smoothly as 1 version upgrade. But yes, in short the 2017 version will update your file. KEEP A BACKUP OF THE OLD DATA!!! Regression is not possible except export to qif and then import into the older version. But that loses a lot of things.

    I am not sure about running them along side each other. I did that for awhile before switching to 2015. But they share preferences even if you open each version explicitly and have different named files.

  4. 4 Posted by flying.boy on 07 Dec, 2017 07:32 PM

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    Thanks again, sth. I'm nervous about experimenting 'irreversibly' on my live data, but I've come up with a plan:-

    I shall move the data files from the iCloud Drive to local directories on my 2 computers.
     I shall then upgrade 1 computer to MD2017, treating that version of the datafiles as 'experimental'.
    The datafiles on the 2nd computer will be maintained 'live' with MD2015.

    If 2017 fails, I still have the 2015 version to use to repopulate both computers and reinstall the iCloud Drive sharing.

    If 2017 works well, I shall start using it with the 'live' datafile, then reinstall the Share.

    I feel I have had good advice here, and now have a practical route to a solution.

    Thanks again.

    David

  5. 5 Posted by dwg on 07 Dec, 2017 08:03 PM

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    On Windows it is certainly possible to run 2 versions of Moneydance but not side by side.

    You obviously have to install the software to different locations but you also need to have 2 separate users, so that each has preference files and anything else version specific is isolated to a user.

    When using syncing you should use identical version down to the build number.

    With Moneydance 2017 data sets should always be on the local drive, there have been too many problems when the files are on any shared drive. A shared drive can be used for the syncing function and you can certainly use it for the destination of manual and automatic backups.

  6. 6 Posted by flying.boy on 07 Dec, 2017 09:39 PM

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    Thanks dwg.

    1. I’m not using Windows …

    2. My only reason to use 2 different versions, on separate computers and non-sharing, is to evaluate MD2017 on some realistic test datafiles with the option to regress back to my live MD2015 dataset if MD2017 causes me problems. I have a testing plan in mind.

    3. Eventually I want to have identical MD versions on 2 computers with synchronised data. Up to now I’ve been using MD2015 with datafiles on an iCloudDrive. This has been trouble-free so far.

    4. You state that sharing the datasets on a non-local drive causes problems, and then you seem to limit that comment to (or emphasise it for) MD2107. How can I find out more about these potential problems? Have I been just lucky that it has so far been problem-free in MD2015? I’m wondering if I could forget MD2017 and continue iCloudDrive sharing with MD2015 as now?

    5. If I take your advice about not sharing datafiles on non-local drives, where can I learn more about how to do this, and is the method considered problem-free?

    Thanks very much for this new contribution.

    David

  7. 7 Posted by sth on 07 Dec, 2017 10:22 PM

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    On the Mac you can run two versions easily under different users.

    Put the Money Dance Application in a folder called "Applications" IN YOUR HOME FOLDER. This makes the applications inaccessible to the other user. So make two users MD2015 and MD2017, each has their own private applications folder, their own separate data folder and preferences.

  8. 8 Posted by flying.boy on 08 Dec, 2017 01:48 AM

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    Hi again, sth.

    There is a misunderstanding here. It is not my objective to run different versions of MD on a single Mac, but to find a way of testing MD2017 without damaging an existing MD2015 dataset.

    Since I have 2 computers, currently sharing a MD2015 dataset using iCloud Drive, I will be able to 'unshare' the dataset then install MD2017 on just one of the computers for isolated testing while preserving my 'live' data files in MD2015 on the other computer.
    I will get round to doing this testing next week.

    My outstanding question is about sharing mechanisms. I am successfully sharing MD2015 datasets by storing them on the iCloud Drive but I'm being told this is not recommended, though I don't know why.

    I'm also advised strongly that MD2017 will not share datasets using the iCloud Drive. I raised the question whether synchronisation by other means (DropBox) is reliable.

    I apologise for not having made myself clearer in previous emails.

    David

  9. 9 Posted by dwg on 08 Dec, 2017 01:52 AM

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    I used Windows as an example you needed to convert it to Mac speak and I see sth has done this. :)

    On Moneydance 2015 and earlier if people wanted to share their data between users it was recommended to use Dropbox. This solution was shown to compatible with Moneydance and presented minimal risk (although no solution of this type has a zero risk) so long as the guidelines were adhered to. This solution also works across all platforms that Moneydance is supported on.

    With the introduction of syncing on Moneydance 2017 changes were made to how Moneydance reads/write data files to suit this capability. It has become evident that this is no longer compatible with dropbox with the result that users have reported corruption of data and strange occurrences when data is being updated. Given that MD2017 has syncing capabilities built in and it does not have the limitations inherent in sharing it is no longer necessary or recommended to use the older approach.

    As you are using Mac's there are a number of specific issues that could impact you. Any user of the later versions of Sierra will see printing problems with Moneydance, Apple made a change that impacted applications written in the Java language and this was not corrected until High Sierra. High Sierra on the other hand did something with File Chooser windows and this requires a build of Moneydance in the 2017.6 series to work around.

    There are knowledge base articles on Moneydance syncing with both other desktops and with mobile devices.

  10. 10 Posted by flying.boy on 08 Dec, 2017 02:46 AM

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    Thanks dwg. You are making me think I should do some more research.

    As I understand you:-

    MD2017 synching is no longer compatible with the DropBox solution but has its own embedded mechanism to synchronise datasets between computers. Am I being naive here? (I’m an Algol and Fortran child!) Doesn’t there have to be a shared file somewhere?

    You’re suggesting the crashes associated with file chooser windows are a feature of High Sierra (presumably on MD2015 and MD2017) and the problem is fixed by MD2017 Build 6xxx. [I’ve just done a quick check on my Sierra/MD2015 system and the crash is not there, thereby supporting your suggestion.]

    I’m aware of the printing delays using MD2015 and Sierra, which I don’t see in High Sierra, again confirming what you say.

    It seems I should be aiming at standardising on High Sierra (for the printing) and MD2017.6xxx for the File Chooser crashes.

    But I’m still confused about how Synch works in MD2017 and I’m puzzled why my current (working) synch method (dataset on iCloud Drive) is not recommended.

    Thanks for the time and effort you are giving to this.

    David
    PS I’m in the UK and need to get to my bed now …

  11. 11 Posted by dwg on 08 Dec, 2017 05:01 AM

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    Don't dis Fortran - I did a Fortran course many moons ago.

    Yes MD2017 has its own mechanism, there is not a single shared file though, but it does make use of a shared location.

    Moneydance uses a technique that you often see with database replication. Each instance of the software has its own copy of the Data set stored locally, when you write, modify or delete data it gets written to small log files, these log files get copied to the shared folder where other instances of Moneydance can retrieve them from and apply the transactions in the log file to the local copy of the data set. So what you have is transaction log files being passed through a shared area. The way Moneydance write the log files to the shared area is different to the way it is writing the local data files.

    I believe Mac uses on Sierra should upgrade to High Sierra, I think the chance of Sierra being patched are pretty remote. At this time on High Sierra, Moneydance 2017.6 Build 1653 should I think be the version of choice, Sean has said that he should push a new stable release out but when that happens is anyone's guess.

    Your current method is not synching in any way what it is is a simple sharing of a data set/file, you have one data set that both systems use - although at different times as there is no method to have controlled simultaneous access to the data.

    TIK does not recommend hosting a Moneydance 2017 Data Set on any form of shared or network drive. Dropbox is the most common method that has been used with Moneydance (it supports all the systems MD uses) and what was reliably working in the past is no longer reliable. With general network shares I have also seen reports of poor performance, Moneydance is often working with small files and doing lots of reads and writes this is not ideal with a network.

  12. 12 Posted by flying.boy on 08 Dec, 2017 08:57 AM

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    Thanks dwg - that is very clear.

    I understand now that my iCloud Drive method of synchronising my two computers is slow and probably vulnerable to failure.

    I accept the argument that 2017 should be the target version, though I may wait for the 'stable release'.

    I also recognise the benefit of upgrading to High Sierra on the 2nd machine. (I have been reluctant because of a nightmare experience when upgrading from Yosemite to El Capitan a year or so ago.)

    When I have High Sierra and MD2017 on both machines I will implement the built-in file synching mechanism.

    A plan.

    Many thanks

    David

  13. 13 Posted by dwg on 08 Dec, 2017 09:55 AM

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    No problem.

    It sounds like you have a reasonable approach. There is an article in the knowledge base regarding the set up. I'd also suggest understanding each of the connection methods and their pros and cons.

    Also decide on what machine will be your primary and make note of it.

  14. 14 Posted by derekkent23 on 08 Dec, 2017 03:40 PM

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    I am not support staff just a user.

    When you are testing 2017 make sure your data set in in your hard drive in the default location see HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. Test the preview build from https://infinitekind.com/preview
    You can set automatic backups under FILE – PREFERENCES -BACKUPS to save to Dropbox.
    When you move onto syncing between two computer the following may be helpful. Note the sync method “Shared Folder” is not discussed.
    Before version 2017 you could place your data set in Dropbox (recommended) or as you seem to have found iCloud and open the same data set on your two computers, provided you opened only one at a time. Opening on both computer at the same time could lead to data corruption.

    Moneydance 2017 has an inbuilt sync engine which allows you to work on the same data set on two computers and on mobile devices at different or even at the same time.

    You have a number of options regarding the syncing method. In both cases you need a Dropbox Account, at least the free version. The best and most flexible option is called “Dropbox Folder”. However, if you did not purchase direct, but purchased through Apple, due to one of the restrictions Apply impose on Moneydance, you will have to use “Dropbox Connect” in the following steps. Dropbox Folder requires you to download and install Dropbox Client on all your computers.
    The following is an explanation given by Sean the software developer regarding these two syncing methods, Dropbox Folder and Dropbox Connection.
    “With "Dropbox Connection" Moneydance uses the Dropbox API to talk to the Dropbox service directly. So, you don't need to have Dropbox client actually installed on your computer, but you do need to be online when Moneydance is running in order for changes to be synced. With "Drobox Folder" Moneydance will just read and write files to your Dropbox folder on your computer, which means that you need to have Dropbox client installed and running, but you don't need to be online in order for Moneydance to read and write the changes.”

    When syncing with 2017 you have a primary and a secondary computer. The data set is stored in the default location on the hard drive of your primary computer. See under HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. Your data set is a folder not a file. It contains other folders and files. The data set folder is named yourdatasetname.moneydance. In later build of 2017 you are prompted to allow Moneydance to automatically move your data set to the default location if Moneydance detects you have your data set in Dropbox or on another cloud server. If you don’t allow your data to be moved it may become corrupted! DON’T STORE YOUR DATA SET IN DROPBOX or any other shared drive.

    Your second computer does not have the same data set as the primary computer. Its data set is created from data synced via Dropbox folder “.moneydancsync” created automatically by the primary computer. If you are using “Dropbox Connect” and don’t have Dropbox Client installed you can only view the folder Moneydance creates as part of syncing by logging into your Dropbox account.
    The folder “.moneydancesync” may be hidden, so if you are looking for it set whatever your file explorer is called to show hidden File/Folders. The data set has the same naming convention as the primary data set and is stored in the default location on the secondary computer’s hard drive, but it’s not a duplicate of the primary data set. They are not interchangeable. In normal operation Moneydance on your devices reads and writes to the Dropbox folder “.moneydancesync”, creating small transaction files (mdtxn files) in such a way that there should never be any conflicts (at least not to any important files). Filenames are unique and the data is encrypted using your sync key (“Encryption Passphrase”). All changes are recorded in this folder and if any of the changes cause conflicts then they are resolved by checking timestamps that are internal to the file (i.e. not the file modification date).

    See also these set of articles http://help.infinitekind.com/kb/syncing-and-sharing-data

    Hope this helps

  15. 15 Posted by flying.boy on 08 Dec, 2017 04:10 PM

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    Hello Derekkent23

    That is an amazingly detailed and informative piece, Thank you.

    I’m not yet at the stage of installing MD2017, but I will remember to install the ‘preview’ version or later.

    I’m wary of DropBox. I somehow contrived to create 2 separate Dropbox folders a while agao and I don’t ever know which one I should be using! This will take some clearing up. Between them they contain several small shareble family photo albums. I had some confusion about deactivating and deleting these DropBox entities so I sort of said to myself it is all too difficult. I suppose I will have to man up.

    I read that Dropbox Connection requires the computer to be online when MD2017 is running. I can see that being a problem for me. So I shall expect to use the alternative, Dropbox Folder.

    I struggle with your explanation of MD2017 synch using Dropbox Folder. And I’m thoroughly stupefied by the idea that the two systems will have different data in their home space. No doubt if I follow the instructions all will be well. After all, you wouldn’t sell any (many) if it didn’t work.

    I will certainly follow the links people have been providing, as I move steadily towards an optimum configuration.

    I’m very grateful for everybody’s help.

    David

  16. 16 Posted by derekkent23 on 08 Dec, 2017 04:39 PM

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    I am not support staff just a user.

    The main outward difference in the two data sets is that the one on the primary computer allows you to set “Don’t sync” under FILE – SYNCING – syncing method. The data sets on the second computer, locks the syncing method under FILE – SYNCING – syncing so you can’t change the syncing method. That’s why the two data sets are not interchangeable. Your account data in the data sets is the same.

    Hope this helps

  17. 17 Posted by flying.boy on 08 Dec, 2017 04:52 PM

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    Sorry, Derek - That paragraph is as clear as mud to me! No doubt it will mean more when I get MD2017 running.

    I do appreciate your help, but that last one has given me a sore head from all that scratching.

    David

  18. 18 Posted by derekkent23 on 08 Dec, 2017 05:10 PM

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    I am not support staff, just a user

    Your right, thing wont much sense until you start syncing with 2017. Then you will get the moments, oh I see what that means. It’s like driving a car you don’t need to know how the engine works to drive, but some people just like to have an understanding of what makes an engine tick.

  19. 19 Posted by sth on 08 Dec, 2017 05:24 PM

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    Sounds like a reasonable approach. A couple of things, the "Preview" releases really don't preview new features at the moment. They are mostly bug fixes and security certificate updates. The "stable" release is actually unstable and crashes on High Sierra.

    Actually running it in two different users as I suggested was one way of running MD side by side without cross upgrading your data files accidentally. Doing on two different computers works as well.

    Under 2017, sharing the file is not recommended for the reasons dwg gave.

    There are a log of folks around who are Algol 60 programmers any more. We seem to have moved on. (in both senses of the word)

    As a note, I haven't had too many issues moving to High Sierra from Sierra, but YMMV. The telnet program goes away and you need to start using nc instead as low level detail.

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