Announcing Location Synchronization

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Location Sychronization

Today, we’re announcing a public beta of location synchronization for the TPE web app.

Location sync is something you’ve been asking about for a while, and so we’re pleased to have a solution that you can start testing today.

What it does

Location Synchronization allows you to push your locations to a central database and to pull them down on demand to a new machine. It works for the desktop web app today.

You can synchronize up to 1000 locations free of charge. You’ll need to create a free account to get started.

Any locations you synchronize are not shared publicly or with other users: they remain available only to your account.

The technology

We’ve spent quite a while pondering how to do location synchronization. Many of you asked if we could not just use iCloud. Apart from the various issues that iCloud sync suffered in its early days, the main barrier to using it is lack of cross-platform support: we need to be able to support desktop, iOS and Android.

We looked at other solutions that might support cross-platform sync, such as Wasabi Sync and Parse. However, it did not feel right to be dependent on a 3rd party service for something that would be so critical once users started putting data into it. (That decision seems to have been borne out: it looks like Wasabi Sync has shut its doors to new accounts.)

The other barrier to rolling out synchronization was our own Desktop app: the desktop app was always likely to the centre of the synchronization solar system. Planning at the desktop and synching locations out to laptops, tablets and mobiles is probably the key use case.

However, the old Adobe AIR desktop app was not a great place to be adding new capabilities: it was a technological dead-end.

With the arrival of the replacement web app, we were finally in a position to start tackling Location Synchronization properly in our own code.

What’s next?

It’s taken just over 2 months to get to public beta. I suspect we’ll be in beta for another 4-8 weeks to prove out the platform and build confidence that everything is going well.

Once beta is complete, we’ll promote the beta site to production, and any locations and accounts you create in the beta site will live on back in the main web app. We’ll then add location sync to the mobile apps. (As there’s a material cost to providing the service, so we expect to charge a small fee for this option on mobile platforms.)

Start syncing today!

Version 1.1 Beta of the web app is available at beta.photoephemeris.com today. But before you head over there, read more about how to get started:

Please let us know what you think!