Imagine the scene. You have two folders you want to keep synced, each contain hundreds, if not thousands of files and folders, all with subtle changes that you can’t keep control of. Having both folders matching can be a real problem, although you may not have such an extreme problem it is still a pain. Today’s app review is called GoodSync, its a syncing application which you can use to sync folders and use it as a backup tool. Very useful if you have a server, network storage or two Mac’s (or PC’s) and want to keep the files in sync.
This app is very versatile, it can be used as both a sync and backup utility to keep files and folders equal. I am going to focus on the sync side of this app, however any sync method can also be a backup method, you just copy files and folders one way.
You first start by setting up a Job. This is essentially a containing name which can be used to organsise what you want to do. For example if you want to sync you MacBook Pro to your iMac you can create a Job called ‘Computer Sync’. If you want to sync your office documents with a remote server, you create a Job called ‘Office Sync’. Once you create a folder you can now add the folders you want to sync.
The app essential has two halves, I like to think as the source and destination folders (although these can switch around depending on what files are located in which folder). You pick a folder containing the files you want to sync. For example you work documents. You then, in the second half of the app select another folder which you sync the files to. As shown in the image above, this can either be on your Mac, your network disks, FTP servers (including SSH), Amazon S3, iDisk, Google Documents and other computers to name just a few.
Running The App
When you have set up the folders you want to keep synced, the next stage is to let the app analyse the folders to see what files are located within it. For the example in the image below, I have picked to folders on my Hard Drive (I don’t have anything else connected). It quickly found which files where the same, different or missing in each folder.
You can see from the image above, the two halves of the app. In the main window you have a ‘source’ folder and a ‘destination’ folder. Each line shows a file or folder and if a file is present or missing.
When the app has analyzed the folders, which is remarkably quick, although slower if you are using something other the Internet, you can sync the files. Once you press the button it will copy over the files at the block level. This means if you have a 100GB file, but only one block different (which can be a small number of bytes), it will copy over the changed block rather than the whole file. This makes syncing large files very efficient.
The app will copy across files and folders both ways, so it will compare the differences between the folders and make the changes accordingly. There is a feature in the program will analyse and sync the files at a regular basis, so you don’t have to do anything.
Extending The Experience
One of the specialist features of this app is the feature called GoodSync Connect. This allows two computers over the Internet to sync with each other. For example if you have an office and a home computer and want to keep you work documents in check you would set the app up on both your work and home computer and use the set up utility to allow the computers to securely talk to each other.
I haven’t tried this feature, but the how it works, section of the website makes it seem as easy as you would expect from a Mac app.
One of the other features is the backup option. This works exactly the same as the sync option, except it reads only from one folder and only copies into another folder. If you set this up with a tool such as Amazon Cloud Drive, you can create an off site, web based backup option. Extremely useful if you have important files and want to keep a secure backup. I currently use Backblaze, for my online off site backup storage however I can see this as a competitive solution.
Overall, from my short weekend test I can see this app as being very useful. The free trail allows you to set up three jobs and sync 100 files a time, so you can get a good feel of the full app. There is one small problem I find a problem and that is the folder _gsdata_ that the app puts in the folders you are syncing. Although can remove it through the preferences it is useful to the app, I would have rather seen the folder located within the applications preferences rather than the folder I am syncing.
To conclude, the app is easy to use, does what it says on the tin. Once you learn how to use the app, which takes about 30 minutes to get a good grip of all of the features you are ready to go. The full version costs $39.95, which is a little expensive, however if you constantly use it, I am sure will be value for money.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave one below.