Dropbox doesn't work too well with the Fontcase vault

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  • Updated 4 years ago
I just tried syncing my font vault between two Macs via Dropbox and the results aren't good. About 40% of my fonts didn't make it into the cloud despite reports from the Dropbox client. These fonts became 0k text files. Not sure what's to blame as I've been syncing fairly large bundles via Dropbox successfully (ex: 1Password)--perhaps it something to do with the nature of the data being fonts. Regardless, my recommendation is to keep your vault out of the Dropbox cloud.
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Posted 7 years ago

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Tom

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Thanks for the heads-up Velgor. I was tempted to try this but will save myself the effort if it ain't gonna work.

I know that when you email or post fonts over the internet, font files get all scrambled up due to being split into packets as the travel through cyberspace, and getting reassembled at the other end. The workaround for this is to compress the font files. That way the original font stays intact within the compressed file. But then Fontcase wouldn't work with them :-P

Anyone else got a clue?
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MgO

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hm, this sentence of yours
"I know that when you email or post fonts over the internet, font files get all scrambled up due to being split into packets as the travel through cyberspace, and getting reassembled at the other end."
applies to everything on the web, so I don't think this can be a real cause, i mean that is not specific.
I will try using fontcase with dropbox today too and see if and why it does (not?) work.
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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Thanks for reporting this. I wasn't aware of this issue and with other people it seemed to work fine. Nevertheless I'll remove the dropbox-recommentation in the next update. Maybe a usb stick is a better approach then.
Zipping the vault or the fonts inside doesnt look like a very good solution to me.
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Perhaps it's the large number of fonts I'm dealing with (700+). Dropbox seems to be choking on packages with large numbers of folders and files. The USB stick method presents its own problems--I copied my Fontcase vault to a second machine today and wasn't able to activate all the fonts. These same fonts activate/deactivate with no issue on the source Mac. If I manually install these fonts into ~/Library/Fonts in addition to copying the vault, things work as expected, but it defeats one of the main selling points of Fontcase: the ability to migrate fonts between machines and back thinks up by simply copying the vault package.
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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Hmm, I'll give this another look then. Thanks for pointing out these issues
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Rob Hawkes

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Just for contrast my Fontcase vault syncs perfectly across Dropbox on both my machines.
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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There seems to be 'something' wrong with DropBox and bundles and resource forks, but for some it works and for some it doesn't. So in general I dont recommend. Hope they will fix this soon
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Ryan Faubion

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Any update on using Dropbox for vault's? I would like to do this but don't want to if it's rife with problems.
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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No update. DropBox is aware of the problems but as far as I know they have not been fixed.
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Béla Bernat Hackman

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I don't know whether are experiencing this problem with all font formats but
this is a well know problem with postscript type 1 and Mac true type fonts, both of which have their font data in resource forks and empty data forks. Non-Mac systems don't recognize the resource fork and ignore it. Hence, transfer of either of these file types without wrapping in zip (or similar) to non-Mac systems (unix, linux or windows web servers for example) only transfers the (empty) data fork.

The work around is either to wrap the file in a zip or similar format, or convert the file to a data only font format such as open type, dfont, or ttc. Since the files have to be functional font files to work in TypeCase, the conversion to data only font format is the only viable option. This can be done with the open source fontforge or FontXChange(apparently just a front end to fontforge), but in both cases there are some major issues with incorrect handling of kerning tables. The most reliable way I've found is to do manual conversion in FontLab Studio. Less expensive alternatives are FontLab's TypeTool or TransType. These, like Studio, also appear to use Adobe's FDK which handles font metrics data reliably in type 1 conversions.
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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Official Response
So to summarize, Many fonts are in fact resource forks and as such not recognised by DropBox. Syncing them will result in 0kb files and you'll have lost all your fonts.
Fontcase will still display them correctly in the grid and outline view but that is only because the previews have been cached, in reality without Fontcase knowing, your entire library might have been silently converted to 0kb files by DropBox.
Syncing your vault between macs via DropBox is therefore NOT recommended.
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Kev Mears

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Hope there will be a fix for this (from someone) soon. Was one of the major features that I bought the product for.

Is there any way to retrieve this if my fonts have been changed in this way?
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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I fear not. DropBox sees some of the fonts (which are resource forks) as 0kb files and uploads that and later sees a mismatch and replaces your local files with the ones on dropbox - which are just empty 0kb files.
This kind of data loss is awful I know that fully well, but Fontcase can't turn empty files into fonts I'm afraid.
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Kev Mears

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No worries. Thanks for the reply. Nearly perfect is good enough for me. It also seems that lots of people are asking dropbox to think of a solution, so fingers crossed..
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Brandon Bohling

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i'm assuming people would prefer to use dropbox because it syncs automatically and is (in most cases) hassle free rather than fontcase's built-in sharing capability (which is much more manual)? i'm still evaluating the software so am curious. i have 3 MBPs and 2 iMacs so this topic is very important to me.
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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If you have any fonts with resource forks, you're out of luck; DropBox does not support those. The standard fonts that come with your system should work fine, but that's it.
I can't guarantee everything will work fine since the problem is with DropBox here, not with Fontcase.

I hope you understand. Any other kind of shared drive (NFS+ is the advised forat I believe) will work fine though
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Luis Martins

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Dropbox sync is working for me, and i hope it stays that way, its kinda essential for my workflow.
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Pieter Omvlee, Official Rep

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Glad to hear it works. But you probably don't have resource fork-fonts in then. Just be careful with those fonts when you get them - or maybe DropBox has fixed the problem
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couzin.hub

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Seams like the latest version of Dropbox works now : http://forums.dropbox.com/topic.php?i...
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MgO

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the newest dropbox forum bild is 1.1.7 already: http://forums.dropbox.com/topic.php?i...