I'd like to solicit some feedback about configuring local sync, in
particular command line options for it. I'm still debating this with
myself, so consider the following email as "thinking aloud"...
As you might remember from the "local sync" mail thread, local sync uses
two configurations (using a "foo" server implementing some protocol
"bar" as example):
1. "source" config @foo defines sources which access "foo" using
the "bar" protocol; source-config@foo provides additional
per-peer settings like a URL or username/password
2. "sync" config foo has syncURL=local://@foo and does a sync
involving local databases (the same ones also used with other
peers) and the databases accessible via @foo
The original plan was to avoid the need for the source-config@foo
settings. But that neglected that credentials for "foo" should be tried
to the @foo context, instead of putting them elsewhere, and that there
was no other property which could have been used for the URL, to name
just one example.
This setup with two configs leads to two usability problems:
* How can such a config be created from a template? "syncevolution
--configure foo" would be nice.
* How can properties of both contexts be modified in a single
command? This is necessary for the single configure command
above and for running a sync.
Related to this is the question:
* How can multiple source properties be set in a single command?
Not being able to do that has made the instructions for
configuring SyncEvolution as a server unnecessarily complex.
Syntax for property values
Currently there is "--[sync|source]-property <property>=<value>".
<property> is the name of one of the builtin properties. I can imagine
extending this syntax as follows:
[<config>/]<property>[/<source>]=<value> (syntax I)
where <config> is a configuration name (which may contain @ signs) and
<source> is a source name (like "addressbook"). The rational for
introducing the slash as separator is that neither config nor source
names are allowed to contain it.
evolutionsource=My Address Boook
evolutionsource/addressbook=My Address Book
@foo/evolutionsource/addressbook=Foo's Address Book
The drawback is that splitting the left side of the assignment is
ambiguous. In "foo/bar", either "foo" or "bar" could be the
name. This can only be decided when property names are well-known. Typos
would break this detection, leading to bad error messages.
So perhaps the following syntax would be better:
[<source>/]<property>[@<config>]=<value> (syntax II)
The ordering of source, property and config is more natural:
addressbook/evolutionsource=My Address Book
But now the meaning of @ is overloaded:
That is not a problem for a syntax parser, but less readable. The
ambiguity is resolved by declaring that @foo always a context.
I prefer the second syntax. Any other opinions?
As before, unqualified properties apply to all sources and all configs.
Templates for local sync
The current set of templates provide properties for just one
configuration, the one which uses SyncML to talk to a server or a
client. Creating a local sync involves creating two configs.
There is no 1:1 mapping between the two. It is possible to define the
@foo sources, then synchronize them with a) the @default sources with
foo@default and b) with a second set of sources in @bar config with
In the "syncevolution --configure foo" invocation, "foo" is the name
the sync config. But what is the name of the source config? I propose
the following heuristic:
* if syncURL=local:// (no explicit context): use @foo for peer
* if syncURL=local://@bar: use @bar
That way a command line user still has the chance to override the source
context name, while the right thing will happen by default. Examples:
syncevolution --configure \
--sync-property username=xyz \
--sync-property password=abc \
=> create or update @foo and foo, setting username/password in both
because they apply to both contexts
syncevolution --configure \
--sync-property syncURL=local://@bar \
=> create or update @bar and foo; credentials must have been set in
A template for "foo" then might look like this:
=== template.ini ===
fingerprint = Foo Server
description = sync with Foo using protocol Bar
=== config.ini ===
PeerIsClient = 1
syncURL = local://
=== sources/addressbook/config.ini ===
sync = two-way
uri = addressbook
=== config.ini@source-config@foo ===
syncURL = http://foo.com/
=== sources/addressbook/config.ini@foo ===
uri = /contacts
type = Bar Protocol
In the D-Bus interface, this would be returned by GetConfig() with "" as
key for "config.ini", "source-config@foo" for config.ini inside the
source-config@foo config, "sources/addressbook" for
sources/addressbook/config.ini and sources/addressbook@foo for
My hope is that sync-ui will simply preserve these additional entries in
the hash. When it does a "SetConfig()" call with the modified hash
(credentials inserted, sync mode for "adddressbook" set), these
additional entries tell the syncevo-dbus-server to do its magic and also
configure the @foo context. The advantage is that no or only minimal
changes to sync-ui and D-Bus interface will be needed.
The drawback is that this additional magic increases the complexity. For
example, SetConfig() is called for the "foo" config, but suddenly ends
up modifying a different config.
Password handling in local sync
Credentials in the sync config are not needed for the sync itself,
because the peer is part of the same process. But users and frontends
like the GTK sync-ui are used to setting credentials in the sync config.
Therefore I suggest that local sync should always apply sync credentials
to the context it is synchronizing with, if they are set in the sync
config. If they are empty, the values from the source config are used.
Make --sync-property/--source-property optional
A purely cosmetic change. It has irked me for a long time that the
command line was not able to determine automatically what username=foo
means. It had to be told explicitly that this is a property assignment,
and more specifically, a sync property (--sync-property username=foo).
This was necessary because theoretically, there might be sync and source
properties with the same name. But that would be confusing and thus was
avoided (and should be in the future).
That leaves the question of distinguishing parameters and the config
name from property assignments. That's easy, anything starting with a
dash is a parameter, anything with an equal sign an assignment. Explicit
--sync-property and --source-property parameters can be used to resolve
Best Regards, Patrick Ohly
The content of this message is my personal opinion only and although
I am an employee of Intel, the statements I make here in no way
represent Intel's position on the issue, nor am I authorized to speak
on behalf of Intel on this matter.