Sync is still hard

Sync is still hard. Versioning documents, resolving conflicts, and issues of connectivity still cause every cloud storage solution trouble. Even for high-profile software like iCloud and Dropbox. Consider that Federico Viticci just tweeted:

Just lost 1.5k words I had prepared for tomorrow because I wanted to try iCloud sync instead of Dropbox this week.

In response, Manton Reece writes that iCloud is too opaque:

I hear that people love iCloud Photo Library and Notes, and that the quality of these apps and companion services has significantly improved. That’s great. (I also think that CloudKit is clearly the best thing Apple has built for syncing yet.)

But to me, it doesn’t matter if it’s reliable or fast, or even if it “always” works. It only matters if I trust it when something goes wrong. Conceptually I’m not sure iCloud will ever get there for me.

This is absolutely right. I used to be “all-in” on Apple’s software when iPhoto was around, because I could back up the managed folder and still access that data in a directory structure that made sense to me. I migrated to a Dropbox and Adobe Lightroom based workflow because of performance, reliability, power, and predictability. Perhaps Photos is simpler and more convenient for most consumers, but it just is too risky and too opaque for me.

This discussion reminds me somewhat of why Marco Arment and David Smith use their own Linux servers instead of BaaS.