Shadow Plan
An outliner by Codejedi Inc.
Copyright 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, etc etc.
Jeff Mitchell

Shadow Desktop Reference Guide

Updated for Shadow Desktop 4.0



This is the Shadow Desktop Reference Guide; please see the FAQ and website for additional documentation. http://www.codejedi.com
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or to join in the discussions and feature requests!
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Section One: Registration

  1. I've bought; How do I register/unlock my Shadow Desktop?

Section Two: Using Shadow Desktop

  1. Creating a new outline on your desktop
  2. Opening an existing outline
  3. Saving your work (and filename conventions)
  4. Working with button bars and panels
  5. Creating new items in an outline
  6. Deleting (and Undeleting) items in an outline
  7. Changing items
  8. Moving items around
  9. Selecting columns to show in the list view
  10. Using the clipboard
  11. Finding items in the outline
  12. Zooming 'inside' of items
  13. Quick filtering to hide items
  14. Fast expanding and collapsing the view

Section Three: Printing, Importing and Exporting

  1. Print preview and print
  2. The simple-textfile importer
  3. Using save-as to export

Section Four: Working with Shadow Plan Handheld

  1. What is two way synchronization?
  2. Moving files back and forth
  3. Synchronizing an outline
  4. Backup and restoration



Section One: Registration

"Registration" is actually two parts; purchasing your registration is done at one of the web stores. Support the site you downloaded from, using their webstore or Codejedi's webstore if you do not recall.

When you purchase a registration from somewhere, you will be emailed an unlock code (a "registration code") for the Palm OS Edition, or an unlock file (a "key file") for the Desktop Edition.

A registration code needs to be entered into your handheld, while a key file needs to be copied to somewhere on your hard disk.

Registering Shadow Desktop - Palm OS Edition

Registering Shadow Desktop is done through the Shadow Plan handheld application. This keeps it nice and simple -- most people will need to only enter a single registration code to unlock everything they've purchased (handheld and desktop) and the registration will carry around with you, unlocking desktops for your use wherever you sync. You can have purchased three packages so each is detailed below.

Product Description Price (USD, Early 2004)
Shadow Plan Handheld for Palm OS The handheld software only. This purchase does not include Shadow Desktop -- if you wish to purchase the Desktop, you'll want to look for the 3rd option below since you already own Shadow Plan Handheld (ie: You do not need to re-purchase the handheld to get the desktop!)

Registration: See the Quick Start Guide for details.

$15.99
Shadow Plan Handheld + Windows Desktop Bundle This includes the handheld software and the desktop application software. This is the works.

Registration: The registration code you will receive must be entered in exactly the same fashion as normal (into the handheld.) After you perform the registration and a Hotsync, your handheld and desktop will both be unlocked. See the Quick Start Guide for details about how to enter your code.

$22.99
Shadow Plan Windows Desktop Expansion Pack This is what you would buy if you already have package one, the handheld software only, but want to get the Desktop application and don't want to buy the whole bundle. It includes a registration code for just the desktop application.

Registration: The registration code you receive will only be useful to expand an already registered Shadow Plan Handheld for Palm OS registration. If your Shadow Plan is not already registered, this registration code will do you no good. If you have previously registered your Shadow Plan, you should just enter the new expansion code to register your Desktop purchase. If you did purchase Shadow Plan separately but have not yet registered it, you must first enter your code for it and then follow up with your new expansion pack registration code. See the Quick Start Guide for details about how to enter your code.

$9.99

Registering Shadow Desktop - Desktop Edition

For this application there is no handheld involvement of course, so you will receive a key file via email after purchase. This key file is a short file that identifies the purchaser and license details.

Simply save this file from your email (it will arrive as an attachment) to the same directory you installed Shadow Desktop to (ie: in the same place as Shadow.exe is found.) The default location is c:\Program Files\Codejedi Inc\Shadow Plan.

Running Shadow Desktop with the key file present will unlock the full application. If the key file is corrupt, incorrect or missing, the application will run in limited mode.





Section Two: Using Shadow Desktop

Creating a new outline on your desktop

Creating a new file is easy to do, so feel free to create them all day long!

Like most operations, there are multiple ways to do it:

Opening an existing outline

With Shadow Plan there are always multiple ways to do it:

Saving your work

There is of course Save (save to current filename) and Save-As (save to a new filename). Hitting Save for a new outline, or an imported outline, will always go to Save-As anyway, to give you an opportunity to enter a filename. (Save-As will also let you save to different formats and is how an Export is performed.)

Button Bars and Panels

Shadow Desktop offers a very flexible and customizable user interface, based mostly on dockable window and toolbars. Translating to English that means that most of the windows and buttons can be moved around to the way you want them placed, and Shadow Desktop will remember the placement for you.

Dockable windows are little tool windows (such as the Outlines Panel, or Find Panel, and others) that can be either docked or undocked. While docked, a window is attached to the main Shadow Desktop application and other windows will resize to accomodate it, and everything is kept nicely in place. An undocked window is a window that you have grabbed (while docked) and pulled it off the main application, freeing it. It is now a floating window with a titlebar that you can reposition anywhere you want it. You can also dock a floating window -- simply position it near a window edge and the main application will try and grab onto it for you.

Toolbars are like dockable windows, but tend to be small and contain only buttons. Traditional applications have a strip of buttons across the top edge of their main window. Shadow Desktop will by default show a half dozen or so toolbars along the top of the screen (and may be multiple rows deep depending on the window size.) However, you can move the toolbars around to juggle their order, attach them to another edge of the window, or hide some of them altogether!

Both dockable windows and toolbars may be hidden or visible. Dockable windows all have a little "X" in their top right corner. Clicking it will hide the dockable window, removing it from your Shadow Desktop display.

All dockable windows and toolbars may be moved around. Each will have a grab handle -- two thin lines along their top or left edge. You can click and drag on that little handle to pull the gadget around. If you pull a toolbar or docking window off the main window, it will become a floating window, or you can attach it to some edge of the main display.

Toolbars can be attached to any edge of the Shadow Desktop window -- usually on the top edge, they may be attached to the bottom as well, or the left or right edges. (They will become vertical strips if attached to the sides.)

Dockable windows can be attached in many ways, though some dock windows will refuse to attach to some locations. For instance, in Shadow Desktop 4.0 the Details Panel will only attach on the left or right edge as it is a vertically laid out window; however, in the future it will also have a horizontal orientation so attaching it to the bottom or top will become available.

An important tool is the right click menu -- if you wish to hide or show a dockable window or toolbar, you can right click in a dockable area to bring up a listing of the gadgets. (Try right clicking in the top toolbar for instance.) Note that this is the only way to show or hide docked toolbars, though undocked windows and toolbars have the little "X" you can click on to hide them.

Creating new items in the outline

Creating items is why we're all here, so theres a few ways to do it. Using the keyboard shortcuts is very convenient.

An outline is hierarchical, which means items may contain other items. A task may be comprised of many items, and those items may in turn contain other items. As such, you can create an item at any level within the outline. Item relationships are usually referred to much like in a real family -- an item may have children items (items contained within itself), or parent items (items above it), and siblings (items in the same level).

As such, you can create a new item -- a new sibling item by hitting New Item, and it will be created at the end of the list if no selection is active, or right after the selected item if an item is selected. But if you create a child item, an item must be selected of course, and the item will be created down and right (indented, within) the selected item.

Deleting (and undeleting) items

In many applications, deletion of text is final, but not so in Shadow Desktop; a deleted item is simply hidden from view, though otherwise fully present!

It is important to note the Filters at this point; By default, Shadow Desktop will hide deleted items, and show checked items. You can easily alter the filtering (by using the button bar, for example) to show deleted items. Shadow Desktop will show deleted items with a red background, so you know they're deleted.

Select an item, and hit the Delete option (garbage can in button bar, or Delete key on your keyboard, for example); if the filter is active, the item will vanish from the display. If the filter is inactive, the item will simply turn to a red background.

Should you wish to undelete an item, you need only disable the filtering (hiding) of deleted items (otherwise there will be no way to locate the item to restore!). Once the filter is changed to inactive, the deleted items will be plainly visible. Simply select an item, and hit Undelete on it.

When an item is deleted, all of its children items will also become deleted! When an item is undeleted, all of its parents will be undeleted! These automatic operations must occur in order to make sense of the outline.

An important operation is the Purge. This will be needed mostly by Desktop Edition users -- when you wish to shrink the file size, or eliminate old deleted items, just hit Purge and they are immediately removed. There is no way to recover items that have been purged! Handheld users should not use the Purge option except under the most dire circumstances! During a hotsync, a purge is automatically performed. The reason to not perform a purge prior to hotsync is that we need to keep the deleted items around so Shadow Plan handheld knows what to do with its copy of the items. Remember, a synchronized list will exist on both handheld and desktop. Deleting an item on one side needs to delete it on the other side as well, and these deleted items represent the desire to delete. So after deleting items in Shadow Desktop, simply perform a hotsync at some point and they will be purged on both sides of the synchronization.

Note that of course a Handheld Edition user will want to use Purge on Desktop only lists. ie: If you create a desktop list, and do not synchronize it, then Purge will be useful of course, to remove unwanted deleted items.

Changing items

Altering of items is an important thing to do of course! Again, we present many ways of doing it, so that you can work the way you wish to work!

The obvious way to edit your outline items is in the List View, the grid that takes up most of the Shadow Desktop display. However, you can turn on and off some dockable windows that you can perform edits in as well, should you wish larger text edit areas, or wish to see more detail and less of the list proper.

There is the Details Panel, which is a large dockable window that shows most information about an item. It contains a good size multi-line title text edit area, and a large multi-line note text edit area, as well as all the dates etc. If you have turned off many of the columns in the main grid, this panel will be vital for altering unshown information. It is also a good way to get item specifics while manueavering around the list view.

Another very useful panel is the Note Panel; this panel is one large text edit for the item note. Perhaps if you're working on an essay or writing a book or the like, you only care about item titles and their notes, so you may disable most of the columns in the outline, and hide the Details Panel, leaving only a large Note Panel and the titles in the List View.

As you can imagine, there are many configurations you can use; some handy layouts are as follows..

Remember, you can drag the toolbars and panels around as you see fit; you can have Notes on the side, or on the bottom.. whatever suits your needs. You can hide it, or make it a floating window on another monitor if you're in a dual monitor situation. Its your call!

You can also push items around (Alt+Arrow, button bar, etc) or delete, or other operations of course; see other sections of the manual!

Moving items around

As always, there are several ways to do juggle items around in your list.

To quickly nudge an item around in a list, the Push Arrows are very useful. They're available on the button bar as well as via keyboard shortcuts and in the menus. A push will simply move an item in one direction or another, so Push Left (Promote) will push an item to the left (since it is now a higher level on the list, it is called Promotion.) Push Up will simply swap the item with its previous sibling item, if there is one. Push Up All and Push Down All will just push an item repeatedly until it has no more siblings above or below it (depending on the Up or Down direction, of course.).

Another handy method is drag and drop -- just click on an item (that is not in text edit mode in the list view!) and drag it away. Your mouse will show a little square payload icon under it. Where the payload icon is placed is where the item will get dropped off at. Note that the mouse cursor point is not where the drop will occur.. instead, the drop will occur when the payload icon is showing.. an item or two down from the mouse pointer tip.

Drag and drop is handy for moving an item some distance or to another parent item or the like; push-arrows are the best when just wishing to move the item a short distance, or swapping it around with other nearby items.

View Manager - Selecting columns to show

Shadow Desktop's list view will by default show a number of columns in it. However, for any given list you may not want all those columns and instead want a different set of columns, or almost no columns at all! The View Manager is a tool that lets you select which columns to show, and in what order you wish them. Sometime after Shadow Desktop 4.0 you'll also be able to save column selections into templates for re-use in other lists, etc.

The View Manager is broken up into two halves -- the left half shows a list of available columns (which grows each new Desktop version); the right half shows the currently activated columns, and in what order they're in.

Buttons between the two halves offer various options, such as adding a column from the left list to the right, or removing one from the right. There are also buttons for pushing a column in the right half up a notch, or down, so as to re-order them without having to repick them all. It will not let you add a column twice or other strange things.

After you've finished setting up the rightmost list as you see fit, just hit OK and you're done -- your list view will reconfigure to match.

Note that Print and Print Preview will honour your column selections! If you turn off all columns except title text, then only title text will be shown in the printout! This is a handy way to control the prints, and Print Preview will be a handy way to get a quick overview or your list.

Item Clipboard

Much like on the handheld, Shadow Desktop includes an item level clipboard that lets you move items around in a list, and also between separate lists.

Note that the text clipboard is separate to the item clipboard. As of Shadow Desktop 4.0, the item clipboard is not shared with other desktop applications.. only the text clipboard is. For example, if you highlight some text in the Notes panel, and Ctrl+C copy it to clipboard, it will be avaliable in MSWord or Notepad. But if you select an item in the list view and hit Ctrl+C to copy the item, it will not be pastable into another application, since those applications do not understand Shadow Desktops complex data types.

Note that many of the handiest menu items include one or more keyboard shortcuts. Most of the menus list their shortcuts.

The clipboard, like in Shadow Plan Handheld, can operate in two modes.. Holding One mode and Holding Many mode. Both modes support the same commands, but if you move an item into the clipboard (with Copy or Cut), in Holding Many mode it will just add into the pot, but in Holding One mode it will replace whatever is in the pot right then.

Which mode you prefer is up to you; holding many mode is very useful for mass moving a lot of items.. just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut with the button bar or keyboard, for instance, and have moved 5 items into the clipbard.. very fast and useful! But other times you'll want to just copy an item, and if you copy another item it replaces the former one in the clipboard. Entirely up to you!

Finding items in the outline

Find is a simple panel (dockable window); hitting Ctrl+F or the button on the toolbar will toggle Find panel on or off. You can of course dock it into place, or move it off aside if you like, though in general we think most people will just toggle it on and off as needed.

There are two checkboxes in the Find panel, to enable some options; Checking Case Sensitive will make your text match only exact case as your find criterion. Check notes will have Shadow Desktop search the lengthy notes of your items in addition to their title text.

You can actually initiate the Find by striking return on your keyboard or hitting one of the Find buttons -- Find or Find Next. Of course, only Find Next will re-apply the Find and locate the next matching item.

A warning is emitted if no match is found, so you know what happened.

Zooming 'inside' of items

Zooming lets you look at smaller pieces of the outline as if they were the entire outline. (As opposed to filtering, which picks and chooses which pieces to see, from all over the place.)

Remember that an outline is hierarchical, which is to say that items are shown indented and the indented items are actually contained within their parent items. For instance, you may have a list of two levels -- a top level with a half dozen items, and some additional items within one of them. The list would then look possibly like this:

Not so bad! However, imagine that you are working in a very large list, that is also very deep. You might have a book, which is very long in terms of number of items, and size of each item. Or perhaps you're working on a very detailed inventory and there are many categories of things in your collections.... perhaps a DVD listing. Top level could be categories such as Genre (Action, Suspense, Drama), while second level items (contained within these top level items) could be Year of release, and a third level containing the titles of actual movies. Maybe a fourth level with details about the movie itself!

We're starting to get complex, and we've not even begun. If you'd like to see Genre's, easy -- just Collapse All (Show Top Level Items) and voila. However if you wish to see the various years in your listing, you could expand to show level 2 with just one click... but wait, now we would see the years from all genres, instead of just the genre we want.

Enter Zoom.

If you select Action and hit Zoom In (or use Quick Zoom to do it), then you will suddenly see the items within Action as if they were the new top of the list; don't worry, your top level items are still there, but just hidden. You could even zoom into 2004 to see the list of movies shown as top level items.. again, your top two levels are still present, just hidden from view.

Example; if you zoomed in once, you might see:

OutlineZoom into ActionZoom into 2004
  • Drama
  • Action
    • 2004
      • I, Robot
      • Bourne Supremacy
    • 2003
    • 2002
  • Suspense
  • 2004
    • I, Robot
    • Bourne Supremacy
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • I, Robot
  • Bourne Supremacy

So Zoom will recuce the view of your outline, and thus make it easier to see.

Zoom In and Zoom Out are ways of digging deeper, or moving up, respectively. Some handy keystrokes are assigned so you can maneauver around quickly. Quick Zoom is an interesting function however -- it exists in the toolbars only and is a list of item's titles at the current top level. Selecting an item in the quick zoom will either select it (if it has no children), or zoom into it (if it does) -- this lets you have one place to keep clicking in to drill into the list deeper and deeper very quickly.

Tip: Zoom will also limit the scope of many operations; if you zoom into a sublevel, and then apply Collapse All for instance, then it will only do so to the visible items. If you then unzoom, the hidden items will not have been effected. This can be a very handy trick!

Quick filtering

It is very handy to limit the display to data you wish to see. The handheld is extremely powerful in this regard, and as of Shadow Desktop 4.0 the desktop is still catching up. However, it does offer these quick filter options which are extremely useful, with many more filtering options to come soon.

Watch for full complex filteing to appear soon (Shadow Desktop 4.1 or so is expected.)

The quick filters are available from the pulldown menus as well as the button bar.

The two quick filters currently supported are:

Note: Print and Print Preview should honour your filtering setup!

Fast expanding and collapsing the view

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do to trim down the display -- filtering, zooming and .. collapsing. Often you will collapse or expand items on your own, using keyboard shortcuts, clicking in the list view grid or other operations. But sometimes you just want to see titles, or sometimes you want to see all the goods.. and you really do not want to have to click away through-out an entire outline to find all the collapsed items to expand.

You'll see in the button bar a set of circular buttons -- (1) through (5+). The (1) will show only top level items (it will collapse the top level, so their children aren't visible). Clicking (2) will expand level 1 and collapse level 2 so that only levels 1-2 are visible. Clicking (3) will ensure only levels 1-3 are visible, while similarly (4) will ensure only levels 1-4 are visible. Clicking (5+) is a little different and will instead expand all levels so you get maximum visibility.

The List menu features some of these options as well.

Section Three: Printing, Importing, Exporting

Print preview and print

Print preview will show you exactly what a printout will appear like without consuming valuable printer ink or time; many people will also use print preview to get a quick overview since you can quickly page through it like thumbing through a magazine!

Print will print your outline out to printer if one is properly hooked up and configured in your operating system.

In general, hitting either Print or Preview will pop up a dialog box if it is the first time this session, or if the Desktop needs to gather some information from you. For instance, Print Preview will need to know what size paper is loaded and other options you may alter in the printer setup and so will offer up the Print Dialog. However, if you subsequently hit Print Preview this session (before quitting the application) it will not bother you with a Print Dialog and instead assume the same parameters again. When hitting Print, it will always offer you the Print Dialog so you can specify the number of copies and other interesting things.

It is important to note that Preview and Print will include only the columns of data that you have enabled in the View Manager -- which is to say, the data you see in the list view will be the same data you see in the printouts. (Although for prettying up the printouts, it may be slightly re-arranged.)

Also note that the printouts may offer additional functionality; in Shadow Desktop 4.0, the items may have a token such as "(3)" after the item title which suggests it has 3 non-deleted children.

The simple-textfile importer

Perhaps you've got a short textfile you'd like to bring in as an outline, or an email would be a great piece of information to attach to an item. Many applications can export their content as textfiles which makes it ideal for importing -- if you need to bring in some short MSWord text, this is the fastest way to do it. Many people will quickly bang out a list of DVD's or movies one day, and then just import it into Shadow Desktop when they get the chance.

Likely additional importers will be added; for Shadow Desktop 4.0 there is only the simple-textfile importer; it is relatively intelligent but still is just text oriented.

Putting together a file for simple-text importing is very easy!

There are two kinds of simple text imports:

Example of a textfile suitable for line-by-line import:

Drama
 2002
 2003
  I, Robot
    Will Smith
  Bourne Supremacy
 2004
Action
Suspense

Notice that in this case, leading spaces are used to suggest the hierarchy; you can also use tabs, or mix and match them.

Example of a textfile suitable for line,note,blank import:

Drama

 2002

 2003

  I, Robot
A movie vaguely based upon the stunning work of Isaac Asimov.

    Will Smith
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

  Bourne Supremacy

 2004

Action

Suspense

Notice the double-spacing of items, so they get split into items properly; "A movie vaguely based..." will become a note attached to "I, Robot" item.

Using save-as to export

Shadow Desktop can write your data out in numerous ways, with more ways being added all the time. In general, hit Save-As in the file menu, the button bar or via the keyboard, and in the "type" part of the Save-As dialog select a format other than Shadow Plan XML (which is the normal format for Shadow Desktop to use.)

As of Shadow Desktop 4.0, the save-as export formats are:

To perform the export, simply hit Save-As and select the proper type of export in the 'type' portion of the dialog; enter a filename and hit Save and you'll be notified when it is completed.

Section Four: Working with Shadow Plan Handheld

What is two way synchronization?

There are many different kinds of synchronization, but handheld users are typically aware of two main types:

Note that it can be difficult or impossible for a two way synchronization to manage some particularly ugly transactions, though Shadow Desktop will always err on the side of caution and recover in the safest possible way. For example, if an item is on both handheld and desktop what should be done if you delete it on the desktop, and modify it on the handheld? In this case Shadow Desktop's synchronization will choose to keep the item alive and keep your changes, since that is the most sensible thing to do. What if you move item B to be a child of A on one side, and a child of C on another, and then move other items to be around B (different on each side)? After a synchronization, Shadow Desktop will try and make the most sense of this sort of thing, but in the end the behaviour may not be easily guessed since this circumstance has created a paradox. But rest assurred, if you set yourself up for something ugly (such as moving items to be children of an item, and that item is deleted on the other side say) then Shadow will act to keep items alive and well so as to make data loss -- even through ugly mistakes -- nearly impossible! (It is rare people will put themselves into this position, but it can happen sometimes when you least expect it -- should you go on a 2 week vacation and take your PDA with you and not your desktop where you synchronize at normally, you may have weeks of changes in a given outline; when you then synchronize with the desktop at home, you may have made changes there too. After weeks, whose to say where you left it? But the system will work it all out and you'll end up with a safe and happy outline afterwards!)

You may wonder how fast a Shadow synchronization is; in the end, it is not blazingly fast, instead we opted for a very bullet proof safe synchronization system as we think most people would prefer to have data integiryt and safety over a faster sync time.

Shadow's synchronization is designed to withstand power failures, acts of god, or simple handheld or desktop crashes at the wost of times. Consider.. in the middle of a complex synchronization, suddenly your handheld or compute crashes. Where is your data? What state is it in? With Shadow Plan everything is fine -- simply reboot or whatever recovery is needed and press hotsync again -- no problem, it'll figure out what to do next time. Should you open your outlines, they will be exactly as you last left them. If the synchronization is interrupted for any reason whatsoever, the changes are not committed. So you can always be sure that things will proceed safely. Due to this, synchronization is longer in time than we'd like, but we're sure its worth it.

Moving files back and forth

At any given time, each file can be in only one of three states. At synchronization time, Shadow Desktop's system will match up filenames to figure out which state the outline is in.

When you press hotsync, what happens depends on which of these three states a file is in.

If a file is only on the handheld, then it will either synchronize (in this case, download to the desktop), or do nothing, depending entirely on the Synchronize Preference for that list on the handheld. If you open Shadow Plan on the handheld and open the list, pull down the List menu, and then hit Preferences, you'll see a Synchronize checkbox. If it is checked, the file will wish to download to synchronize. Otherwise it will not participate in the hotsync.

If the file is only on the desktop, then it got that way in one of a few ways: 1) You just created it with Shadow Desktop; 2) You copied it there from somewhere; 3) It was on both handheld and desktop, was synchronizing normally, and you deleted it from the handheld. In case (1), the file will already wish to be sent up to the handheld and so will do so on its own next sync. In the other cases, the file is happy to stay where it is and Shadow will not make any assumptions; you can of course use the menu option "Request Upload Next Sync" to suggest to the file that it synchronize, as long as it is stored in the ShadowPlan400 directory properly.

If the file is on both handheld and desktop, then it will synchronize if its Synchronize preference on the handheld is checked. Otherwise it will just skip the hotsync.

You can see that the key to everything is the Synchronize preference. When set on the handheld, the file will sync or download as appropriate. If it is not set on the handheld, nothing will happen for that file! If the file is only on the desktop, then it will either be skipped during synchronization, or upload to the handheld if you've set it that way or it is a new file.

By default, when you first create an outline using Shadow Desktop, that outline will be flagged so that it will want to upload to the handheld next synchronization; furthermore, its Synchronize checkbox will also be activated, so that it will continue to synchronize thereafter in subsequent hotsyncs.

In contrast, a new outline created on the handheld will by default NOT synchronize down to Shadow Desktop; you will have to check the Synchronize checkbox if you'd like it to sync. This decision was made long ago by polling the public, but we may alter it in the future. It was decided in the name of keeping synchronization fast and letting you select which outlines to sync.

Synchronizing an outline

Activating Synchronization

Whethor or not a file is synchronized is determined by your List Preference settings on the handheld and is done on a list by list basis. Thus, you can decide to synchronize some files but not others as you see fit. (Maybe some files are not important and do not need to be backed up or editted on the desktop, or perhaps you wish to shorten your synchronization time.) To learn how to activate syncing, see the handheld Reference Guide's List Preferences section.

Outlines that are on the desktop side only will either do nothing, or will upload to the handheld; see above. Outlines on the handheld, or on both the handheld and a desktop will depend on the Synchronize checkbox. See above for details.

Rules to follow

There are a few guidelines to know about..

What happens if a file is open in Shadow Desktop during sync?

While a file is open in Shadow Desktop, it is skipped during Hotsync. This is to prevent synchronization of half-edited files and to prevent changes during Hotsync itself. Simply close the tab and hit Hotsync. It doesn't matter if an outline is open on the handheld side, since when you press Hotsync, the handheld will close all applications in readyness of the Hotsync.

What happens when I rename or delete an outline on the handheld?

If an outline is renamed on the handheld, and still has its Synchronize checkbox checked, then it will wish to synchronize still; since it now has a new filename it will not match up against its copy on the desktop, and so two things will occur -- 1) The handheld copy will synchronize (copy to) the desktop using its new name, and 2) The existing desktop copy will now be orphaned (ignored). We leave the desktop copy alone, so you can remove it or back it up at your leisure -- we do not assume what your intentions are, though we may offer some options up in the future. If you delete an outline on the handheld, then the file will now only be on the desktop side; since it was not just created it will nolonger have its upload flag set, and so it will become orphaned (left alone on the desktop); Again we do not guess your intentions -- if you delete the file on the handheld, you may move it to backup or delete it on the desktop side at your leisure. (We may in the future offer options up to you, to save you doing it by hand.)

How does it work if I synchronize against multiple computers?

In general this is handled quite gracefully, despite the complications that can arise. (Consider, you may have an outline on the handheld, and on a work computer, and a home computer, and a laptop.. and more computers! If you sync in different places, in different orders and different times, it can be difficult or impossible to properly determine the state of the list itself, so some basic rules were laid down by PalmSource to handle it, so that most applications will work more or less the same way.)

In essence, if you sync at the same location as last time, it will be considered a Synchronization and everything works as one would expect, in item by item fashion. However, if you're now synching at a location different than last time, things will proceed in a different way. Instead of working in item by item mode, it now works in what we call Slow Mode.

In Slow Synchronization mode, rather than looking to reconcile changes in each side of the transaction (which may be of different times and other complications), Shadow will simply look up your preferred rules in the Hotsync settings and follow them, which are either to copy from handheld to desktop or from desktop to handheld.

That means that if you sync at work, and then sync at home, your home setting will be either copy over desktop, or copy over handheld. The default is for the handheld to copy over desktop, since that makes sense -- you're carrying it around and synching everywhere, and so it is most current. However, if you've done no changes on your handheld, and just changed something on the desktop at home, after having synced at work, you'll need to temporarily set the desktop to copy over handheld this sync!

A typical scenario might be..

This simple logic will handle most everyone, who syncs at any number of locations.. laptops, a friends house, the hotel, wherever.

Should you alter something at home, and then head to work, and alter something on the desktop at work, you can select which is the override.

In general, the best practice is to hotsync when you get somewhere if you intend on hotsyncing all over the place.

Hotsync Manager Custom settings screen

Shadow Desktop features a very intelligent conduit. This lets you set up your synchronization preferences once and then forget about them forever afterwards. As you know, we like to give you as much control as you need, so this window can be a little intimidating at first. Read on to find out how to digest it easily, and it will be your friend forever!

The window is divided up into five main sections:

  • Hotsync Manager brief: You can more or less ignore this most of the time
  • Synchronize authorization: Check this box if you wish to disable the conduit. Shadow Desktop will not synchronize if this is checked. Why would you disable it? In case you're in a hurry and wish to turn off a bunch of conduits, perhaps, or to debug some problem during hotsync.
  • Synchronization method and collision handling. If a normal same-sync-location-as-last-time hotsync, then this rule will be used only if an item is altered on both sides of the sync.. example: If you change the title text on the handheld, and also on the desktop and press Hotsync, your chosen rule will determine what to do. Either have one side override the other, or keep both changes as two separate items.
  • Changed location synchronization method: The rules to use for when you're synching at a different location than the last sync. See above for a discussion.
  • Save as Default checkbox: When checked, hitting "OK" will store the current settings as your "default" settings, meaning they will be the settings used forever (until you set another default setup). If you do not check this box and hit "OK", then the current settings will be used for the next sync only, and then a following sync will use your default settings.

NOTE: The default settings used by the conduit are the ones pictured at right. They are what 99% of people will want to set all the time.


The custom settings window

Backup and restoration

There are two kinds of backups; the first one, Raw PDB Backups, is performed by Hotsync Manager itself by request of Shadow Plan handheld. It will occur whethor or not you are registered.

The other kind of backup is performed by Shadow Desktop itself, when registered, and will back up data like crazy; it is very hard to lose data!

Some details...


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