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Published:
2019-07-04

Cloud Synchronization of Program with Database

Update 2020-09-09
Since a couple of months ago Dropbox does no longer syncronize from Android devices to the Cloud, see also here! Hopefully this is a temporary regression. Otherwise I will sadly have to look for alternatives to using Dropbox.


Previous 2019-07-04
I use Dropbox for cloud synhcronization of Office files between three of my devices: PC, Mobile phone and Tablet. But how manage this with a program using a database? Well, I will here describe this using a very simple database program, an old DOS program Quicken 2.

I bought Quicken 2 on a 5 floppy in Canada 1985 and still use it to keep track of our bank accounts. I like not having to keep shifting input between mouse and keyboard - and it is so simple. There is a Y2K issue with the years, which I have learnt to live with. It installs on Windows 10 with DosBox.

View Video 3 min

The PC - Windows 10

Quicken had been installed to folder c:\q on sdb4, the PC's main partition, and is enabled by DosBox. Running Quicken on other partitions also uses the Quicken data files on this main partition (sort of like a server). For cloud synchronization I decided to move the whole folder c:\q including the Quicken program to folder c:\Dropbox\q (requiring changed links on all the other partitions).

The Tablet - Galaxy TAB S2

To enable syncronization with the Dropbox cloud, each data file has to be made available offline. Dropbox downloads those files to this directory:

/Android/data/com.dropbox.android.and/files/u40850631/scratch/q

Quicken is enabled by the aFreeBox app, a DosBox type app: Here it is configured to mount as Drive C the Home directory /storage/emulated/0/. To run Quicken just start aFreeBox and type "q" which executes the q.bat batch file in the Home directory :

path=c:\Android\data\com~10\files\u40850~1\scratch\q
cd c:\Android\data\com~10.and\files\u40850~1\scratch\q
q.EXE
exit

Note the change to DOS file names for the longer than 8 character folders!

After making an entry, make sure to run Dropbox to ensure that the cloud is updated!


Enable offline



aFreeDos app
Symbolic Links?

I tried using symbolic links. On the tablet I faced permission issues, as the device was not rooted. On the PC I tried creating this hard link:

mklink /J C:\Dropbox\q C:\q

This worked fine in one direction: from the PC to the Tablet. When making an entry on the Tablet the changed data files only got as far as the local C:\Dropbox\q, but did not make the last leg to C:\q. Maybe it should have been the other way around, but then I might just as well move the whole program - which is what I did!