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Tomboy and how to sync two set of notes

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 8 seconds

tomboy

Tomboy is a note taking application from GNOME written in C#. I first came across Tomboy notes when using the Ubuntu LiveCD.

Its ease of use make using Tomboy as natural as handwritten notes. The first thing I noticed was the decluttering of my physical desks after moving over to Tomboy notes. I still use pen and paper most of the time, but I tend to transfer any important notes to Tomboy.

My main use for Tomboy is for creating cheat sheets of code snippets. In addition to my general notes, I have one note for PHP snippets to initiate debug tracing or to turn on error reporting. I have another note for Perl one-liners and other useful Linux stuff.

The most powerful feature of Tomboy is its ease of syncronisation. This is really useful if say, while at work you realise you need to add something to your home todo list. Another lifesaver was when I needed to provide emergency server support at the weekend out of the office. I could view my Linux cheat sheet from home while shelling to the server.

It took me six months how to figure out how to get syncing working on XP, until I realised Dropbox could sync with a local folder on Windows. Dropbox is a file storage and synchronisation provider who gives free storage up to 2GB. I have yet to find a wholly open-source solution for synchronisation that works cross-platform.

Many other posts on the internet cover syncing Tomboy with Dropbox using the Synchronization add-in. The problem with this is that you can only sync one set of notes, i.e. either your home or your work notes not both. So I put my problem to the Tomboy mailingĀ  list. Sandy Armstrong, who develops Tomboy, got back to me saying instead of using the Synchronization add-in, just get Dropbox to sync your notes folder. The great thing about this was that I could keep two sets of notes in sync.

So to do this, run Tomboy with the –note-path option. For example on both my home and work machine I have the following shortcut to run Tomboy with a note path within my drop box:

"C:Program FilesTomboyTomboy.exe" --note-path "C:Documents and SettingsJoe BloggsMy DocumentsMy Dropboxtbnoteshome"

This shortcut opens up my home notes. To access my work notes, I have a separate directory called work and so replace “home” with “work” in the above shortcut.

One more thing, Sandy recommended using the NoteDirectoryWatcher which updates notes if they happened to be changed while it is open.

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