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{ Monthly Archives } February 2010

SyncEvolution 1.0 beta 2 released

SyncEvolution 1.0 beta 2 is available. Binary packages are provided, including Bluetooth support this time. Major improvements:

  • easier setup of a phone with the sync-ui and GNOME Bluetooth plugin
  • prevention of slow sync enabled by default and integrated into sync-ui
  • recovery dialog and restore from backup in sync-ui
  • database dumps and comparisons more efficient


Despite some open issues (see below), this release is ready for getting packaged in staging areas of distros as replacement for 0.9.2 and for day-to-day use. If you find issues, please report them.

SyncEvolution synchronizes personal information management (PIM) data like contacts, calenders, tasks, and memos using the SyncML information synchronization standard. Up to and including 0.9.x, a third-party SyncML server is required. In the 1.0 beta, SyncEvolution itself is already able to act as a SyncML server, both via HTTP and Bluetooth (direct sync with phones).

As before, documentation for 1.0 is only available in the “Development” section, including HOWTOs for setting up the HTTP SyncML server and phones manually.

Details

Setting up a phone became a bit easier with beta 2, because SyncEvolution is now integrated with the GNOME Bluetooth panel: once a device with SyncML client support is paired, a button offers to bring up the sync-UI and configure or synchronize with that device. We do a fuzzy match against the Bluetooth device name to find a suitable template (not manufacturer/model, because that is not readily available). Still not many (read: hardly any) templates available, though.

The binaries on syncevolution.org are compiled with Bluetooth support. libbluetooth2 or libbluetooth3 should be installed, but are not essential. If there is no suitable version of it, the Bluetooth channel has to be selected manually as part of the syncURL.

Unexpected slow syncs are prevented by default, in contrast to beta 1 where this feature was available but turned off. When an unexpected slow sync is detected in a client, users have to follow the instructions provided by the command line or sync-ui and choose how to proceed (explicitly request slow sync, refresh from server or client, restore from backup). SyncEvolution as server currently cannot prevent slow syncs, even when initiating the sync with a phone.

In preparation for syncing automatically, logdir and database handling was improved considerably. Backups use less disk space because identical files share the same file content via hard links. This also speeds up the synccompare Perl script. Database dumps and the corresponding comparison are delayed until the session really runs, which avoids doing needless work a) when the server a client tries to contact is unreachable or down and b) by only including sources that are really in use during a sync on the server side.

The Synthesis XML configuration was split up into different parts which are assembled from /usr/share/syncevolution/xml. Files in ~/.config/syncevolution-xml override and extend the default files, which my be useful when adding support for a new phone.

Summary of changes since 1.0 beta 1:

  • sync-ui: recovery dialog (MB #8050), device setup, config usable with long strings (MB #9278), fixed displaying of source phases during sync (MB #9320)
  • sync-ui + syncevo-dbus-server: integration with Bluez to detect paired devices (MB #9216, MB #7089), select template based on device name (MB #7838), detect network and Bluetooth connectivity (only with ConnMan, MB #7700), passwords stored in GNOME keyring by syncevo-dbus-server are shown with dots in sync-ui (MB #9169)
  • Evolution addressbook backend: avoid picking CouchDB, second try (MB #7877) * Evolution calendar backend: minor fix for change tracking when deleting a single instance of a recurring event
  • build fixes: Bluetooth compatibility (MB #9289), use libical _r variant of calls because 0.43 has issues in the normal version, conflict with system libsynthesis and libsmltk (MB #9811)
  • Horde: avoid confusing the server with a deviceId that starts like the ones used in old Funambol clients, helps with calendar sync (MB #9347)
  • better reporting when SyncEvolution dies during a sync (only happend once when it wasn’t installed properly, but still… MB #9844)
  • performance improvements: synccompare much faster/database dumps consume less disk space/more intelligent about expiring obsolete session directories and backups/database accesses are reduced in several backends (MB #7708), shorter logs (MB #8092)
  • slow sync detection: now also works in the case where the client detects an anchor mismatch and enabled by default (MB #2416)
  • OBEX transport: some error handling changes and removal of polling, now also possible via sync-ui + syncevo-dbus-server (MB #9436)
  • API changes: SyncSource introduces an “isEmpty” operation which is needed for the slow sync detection
  • SyncML: split up configuration (MB #7712), increased default message size because the old one might have been too small for large DevInf structures
  • several fixes for virtual data sources (”calendar+todo”): now works on client side, fixed naming on server (MB #9664), fixed error message for slow sync detection, supported in combination with sync-UI (MB #9535)
  • fixes for shared configuration layout: finding sessions of peers in non-default context, adding sources affected peers in the same context (MB #9329), wrong context during –configure when using shortcut for peers in non-default context (MB #9338)

Known gaps for 1.0 final and beyond:

Redesigned and reimplemented D-Bus API, required by sync-UI:
- ’syncevolution’ command line tool bypasses D-Bus server and runs sync sessions itself (MB #5043)
- availability of peers not detected when using NetworkManager (connected for HTTP, paired for Bluetooth; MB #7700)

SyncML server in general:
- suspend/resume support is untested (MB #2425)
- the progress events and statistics reported for a SyncML client are not generated when running as SyncML server, will require a fair amount of refactoring in the Synthesis engine (MB #7709)

HTTP SyncML server:
- a configuration must be created for each peer manually, including a remoteDeviceId value that contains the peer’s SyncML device ID (MB #7838)

OBEX SyncML server (”sync with phones”):
- does not support phones which require a SAN 1.0 message (MB #9312)
- determining a working configuration for an unknown phone requires a bit of experimenting, which should be automated (MB #9862)

OBEX SyncML client:
- parsing of SAN message is rudimentary and depends on an existing local configuration, needs to be refined depending on which SyncML server software it is meant to work with (MB #6175)

Automatic sync (MB #6378):
- no support for the various server push notification mechanisms
- no intelligent detection of local changes
- no regular background sync, development is in progress

Upgrading from 0.9.x:

  • Upgrading and downgrading should work seamlessly when using existing configurations. But this being a beta, better ensure that you have backups of both your data and your configurations in ~/.config/syncevolution.
  • The new configuration layout is only used when creating new configurations or explicitly invoking “syncevolution –migrate”. Such configs cannot be used by older SyncEvolution releases.

Source, Installation, Further information

Source snapshots are in
http://downloads.syncevolution.org/syncevolution/sources

i386, amd64 and lpia binaries of 1.0 beta 2 for Debian-based distributions are available via the “unstable” syncevolution.org repository. Add the following entry to your /apt/source.list, then install “syncevolution-evolution”:

These binaries include the new “sync-ui” GTK GUI and were compiled for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy). Older distributions like Debian 4.0 (Etch) can no longer be supported with precompiled binaries because of missing libraries, but the source still compiles when not enabling the GUI (the default).

The same binaries are also available as .tar.gz and .rpm archives in http://downloads.syncevolution.org/syncevolution/evolution. In contrast to 0.8.x archives, the 1.0 .tar.gz archives have to be unpacked and the content must be moved to /usr, because several files would not be found otherwise.

After installation, follow the getting started steps.

FOSDEM 2010

To learn more about SyncEvolution, come to FOSDEM 2010:


Slides are available as .ppt and .pdf under the links above.