How do you transfer your documents to all your Macs, iPhones, and iPads? What’s the best way to share them with other users? And how do you sync every user’s changes? Cloud services such as Dropbox and the like have become very popular for tasks like these.
These services work with your usual files, are reliable, widespread, easy to set up, and even free of charge for many applications. So do these services solve all the problems of working in a virtual team? Unfortunately not. When you’re working on one document using multiple devices you run quickly into issues. Those time-consuming changes are lost if users continually overwrite each other’s files. In some cases, cloud services spot these conflicts and create special files for this purpose. While your edits aren’t lost, they are now spread across multiple files. So you have to go through the painstaking process of identifying chances in all conflicted variants and adding them in manually.
Example of a text file with conflicts because of synchronization.
Does it have to be like this?
No. Merlin Project uses our latest technology, MagicSync, which is optimized in a variety of ways for cloud services. With the help of MagicSync, Merlin Project synchronizes the changes made by multiple users without any data going missing or generating conflicting files. You don’t even need to close and re-open your documents to see the external changes, they simply appear immediately.
The sync function works even if you’ve been working on your documents offline for a while. Next time you go online, syncing will take place, allowing you still to undo your own changes (cmd-Z) long after you last synchronized them even if you quit Merlin Project in the meantime.
Sometimes you want to keep major changes to yourself and not have them affected by other edits? No need to pull the network connector. Just switch to the 'Private Work Area' of your Merlin Project document. While the latest document version will continue to be synchronized with your own devices, other users will see your private changes only if you choose to publish them.
Smooth project management in a team thanks to MagicSync
Simply drag and drop your Merlin Project documents to your cloud directory, and off you go. This whole new way of collaboration allowed by our MagicSync technology is special and unique, so we applied for a patent and now own it.
The macOS version of Merlin Project works with all popular file sharing platforms and cloud services. We’ve tested it with the following:
- iCloud Drive
- Google Drive
- Microsoft One Drive
- Synology Cloud Station
- AFP- and SMB-file sharing
Merlin Project Go for iPhone and iPad currently supports these services:
Prefer working without Cloud services?
With Merlin Server, we also offer our own application for syncing documents which means you don’t need to use external cloud services. What other benefits does Merlin Server offer me?
- Sync as many documents with as many users as you like even over a slow Internet connection. Merlin Server is extremely fast and data-efficient.
- Control access to your documents using Merlin Project’s user and rights management system.
- Send project reports automatically.
- Allow project customers without a Mac or iPhone to view your projects via a web browser.
- Keep sensitive data under your control without entrusting it to foreign cloud services.
Merlin Server is by far the most efficient method as it only transfers the actual changes. File-based cloud services transfer entire files every time they are synchronized, which naturally eats up more of your data allowance. The cloud services we are familiar with, analyze which sections of a file have actually changed and only transfer those parts, keeping additional consumption in macOS within limits.
Merlin Project Go however does need to transfer each time entire files due to restrictions with the interfaces published by the cloud services. This is why MagicSync throttles the upload speed of changes from Merlin Project Go; it consolidates as many changes as possible into one upload as in most cases it doesn’t matter whether changes arrive immediately or with a few minutes’ delay. That said, if changes are urgent you can force Merlin Project Go to upload changes immediately.
Not at all. You can edit shared documents offline just as freely as personal documents no matter if you’re using a cloud service or Merlin Server. When you’re back online, everything synchronizes automatically.
Yes. Without any restrictions. Contrary to some other solutions, MagicSync does not lock sections of a document while other users edit them.
In this instance, the latest change always takes precedence. Some exceptional instances exist where different changes are incompatible with each other. In all of these cases, the latest change takes precedence as long as it is not undone in which case the older change becomes active again.
Yes. MagicSync always keeps a list of every document change, and uses it for both; syncing document statuses and/or undo requests.
This is possible currently, only if you open the project under that particular user-resource’s name and call then the undo command.
Yes. You can also do manually in Merlin Project, whatever MagicSync does automatically via a cloud service or Merlin Server. To integrate changes for example out of an edited project status you've received via email, just call 'File > Integrate Changes…'
Theoretically yes, if the service supports the UIDocument picker in open mode with document packages. As far as we know, this applies only to iCloud Drive. On Dropbox, MagicSync uses its native interface on iOS to communicate directly with the cloud server.