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I've gotten a few comments and requests for a sync feature in the Baby Timer app. It's definitely something I would like to do, and I have been exploring various strategies for adding the feature. There are a few ways I could add synchronization:

Direct sync between devices

This would likely involve using bluetooth to have the devices communicate directly with each other. (Similar to how some multiplayer games work.) The advantage is that there are no cloud accounts to set up, manage, back up, secure, etc. The downside is that the devices have to be in physical proximity to each other to sync.

Devices sync with a web site

I could set up a web site myself and have the devices sync with it. The advantage here is that you could also (maybe) view or enter data from a computer. The downside is that you'd have to create an account on my server, trust your data to my server, and I'd have to run and backup the server. This (might) also allow me to have iOS and Android devices sync with each other. (And possibly any future platforms I create the app for: Windows Phone, Web OS, etc.)

Devices sync with a cloud storage provider

The app could store some or all of its data in a third-party service (Dropbox, or maybe Apple's new iCloud). This would allow the devices to stay in sync while they're not in physical proximity, and would not require me to run a server myself. For that reason, this looks like an appealing option to me right now.

What next?

I'm currently leaning toward using something like iCloud (or possibly Dropbox) to sync data betweeen the devices. But it would be very useful to hear from users of the app: how would you use a syncronization feature? How many devices would you like to sync between, and how frequently would you like to sync them up? Would you find a web interface useful, and would you mind having to create an account to use it and store your data on my server? Would you prefer direct (bluetooth) synchronization between devices so there are no cloud/network parts involved? Please leave a comment below or send me an email, I would love to hear people's opinions as I plan this feature.

What to do in the meantime?

I'll be studying iCloud over the coming weeks to see if it will meet Baby Timer's needs or if something else would be better, and planning when to add this feature. In the meantime, you can use the Wi-Fi export and import feature to move a database from one device to another, or to merge two databases together. (That linked post below is about the Milk Maid app, but the same procedure works with Baby Timer as well. The export button is on the stats tab in Baby Timer.) So if you're just syncing up infrequently or want to migrate from one device to another, this should work nicely.


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