10 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2012 12:25 PM by Stix Hart

    Dropbox workflow best practices?

    peterson1611

      I'm looking for best practices on using Dropbox for an InDesign/InCopy workflow. Specifically, in my own testing with two computers, I've realized that the lockout function does not work when using Dropbox, so multiple people can  edit the same file simultaneously... which is obviously problematic. Suggestions for how to avoid this? If I create a "lock" folder, and move files in there before editing them, will my designer's Dropbox refresh fast enough to prevent him from also opening that file?

       

      How are your own Dropbox workflows set up, for those of you that use it? Are there other hiccups, hangups or landmines I should watch out for?

        • 1. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
          Stix Hart Level 5

          In my experience this question depends on the size of your files and your teams upload and download speeds.  Depending on those you need to work out criteria yourself.

           

          Personally I don't use Dropbox with InCopy, only with InDesign, but there are a few issues to be aware of, mainly all assoicated with internet speeds.

           

          Great question by the way

          • 2. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
            peterson1611 Level 1

            Can you elaborate on the "issues" you describe, and how to avoid them? How is your workflow set up?

             

            Our InDesign files aren't huge, maybe 3 megabytes apeice, and we're all on high-speed cable or DSL, so far as I know.

            • 3. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
              Stix Hart Level 5

              Well the issues are what you stated yourself, namely that Dropbox doesn't copy the lock file across, and if you manually "locked" it by shifting it into a different folder another user could still grab it before Dropbox had shifted their copy.

               

              In that scenario though, you could speed up the shift by making sure that the InDesign file was updated on both computers first.  To do that you'd have to save the file, wait until it was uploaded (you get the green tick) and wait at least the same amount of time again (for it to download on the other computer) then shift it.  This means that Dropbox would shift it quicker because that is the only action it is transferring between computers.

               

              Another thing to be aware of though is that if your Dropbox is slogging way at another task (say uploading a folder of linked images) it might put doing that shift down the list.

               

              In conclusion I don't think it's realistic to expect Dropbox to stop two users editing the same file, you need some other project structure to achieve that.

              • 4. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
                Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I'd agree with Stix. You need a project structure where you indicate where a file is in the process. You could do this by creating folders in Dropbox. Depending on your workflow it could be folders like "Layout" or "Ready to Be Proofed" or some such. If a file was moved to the "Ready to Be Proofed" folder, it wouldn't be eligible to be edited in InDesign.

                 

                It's a people issue, not a technology issue.

                • 5. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
                  peter minneapolis Level 4

                  Steve Werner wrote:

                   

                  I'd agree with Stix. You need a project structure where you indicate where a file is in the process. You could do this by creating folders in Dropbox. Depending on your workflow it could be folders like "Layout" or "Ready to Be Proofed" or some such. If a file was moved to the "Ready to Be Proofed" folder, it wouldn't be eligible to be edited in InDesign.

                   

                  It's a people issue, not a technology issue.

                  Has anyone tried using a remote-control program like LogMein for collaboration like this?

                   

                  Regards,

                   

                  Peter Gold

                  KnowHow ProServices

                  • 6. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
                    Stix Hart Level 5

                    Yes, complete waste of time.  The lag is terrible.

                    • 7. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
                      BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                      Stix Hart wrote:

                       

                      Yes, complete waste of time.  The lag is terrible.

                       

                      That's being kind!

                       

                      Bob

                      • 8. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
                        peterson1611 Level 1

                        Thanks everyone, this is helpful. One more question:

                         

                        As long as I clearly delineate which files a given user is allowed to edit, Dropbox sounds like a good solution for collaborating on InDesign/InCopy projects. Have any of you run into other Dropbox pitfalls I should be aware of before I dive into it headfirst?

                        • 9. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
                          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          I just completed a DPS project consisting of 15 InDesign files with a someone 2,000 miles away which could not have gone any smoother if we were both in the same room.

                           

                           

                           

                          Bob

                          • 10. Re: Dropbox workflow best practices?
                            Stix Hart Level 5

                            My only issue is with files taking a while to appear and update, particularly large ones, like a whole lot of images.  But then I'm talking about N.Z. internet speeds....

                             

                            On the plus side Dropbox makes it great for when you want to go back to earlier version particularly with the packrat option.