Work together on a dictionary project (D)

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There are several ways to work together with other people on the same dictionary project. Here they are. 

Share a computer

Here's the simplest way to work together: share the same computer. People can take turns working with SooSL on that computer. They work on the same copy of the dictionary project.

There are some variations on this approach, but they are more complicated. They require more technical knowledge. They involve remote control of computers: one person, working on one computer, can control a second computer. It's just like they are sitting at the second computer, but they are really far away. You keep the files for the dictionary project on the second computer, and run SooSL on that computer. But, you control SooSL from the first computer. There are three ways to do this. We won't try to explain how to use them here. If you don't know how to make this work, find someone who does.

In all these ways to work together on a remote computer, you still have to take turns. It's just like sharing the same computer when you are all in the same place. Only one person can work on the dictionary project at any one time.

Copy files between computers

You can take turns working on a dictionary project on different computers. You do this by copying the project from one computer to another. You run SooSL on each computer, and copy the dictionary project back and forth. There are two ways to copy the dictionary project: 

You can copy files on a USB stick or through a local area network (LAN). If you export the project to a ZooZL file, you can send it to another computer by email if it is not too large. Or, you can upload it to a cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive and download it to the second computer.

Important: Once you copy the files to the second computer, work on them only on that computer. When you want to work on the first computer again, copy the files back to the first computer and stop working on the second computer. 

For this to work, you have to communicate with your team. Be sure you all agree which is the main copy at any time. When you copy the project to another computer and work on it there, that new copy becomes the main copy. Only make changes in the main copy. You can use other copies of the database to look at the signs, but don't make changes. If you make changes in another copy, there is (currently) no way to merge the changes back into the main copy. Be sure the whole team always knows which is the main copy, and makes changes only in it. 

There is a variation on this approach: You can store the SooSL files in a local folder connected to a file sharing service like Dropbox, Google Drive or  OneDrive. The project will automatically synchronize with the cloud. Then, when you make changes on one computer, the files get copied automatically to other computers. But, remember: treat this just like working on the same computer. Only one person can work on the project at the same time. After one person is done, allow time for the project to copy to all other computers. After the project gets copied to all computers, then all copies will be the same. Then someone else can work on the project on another computer. Always communicate so you know which one person can work on the files.

Share files on a local network (LAN or VPN): version 0.9.2 and later

There is a new feature in version 0.9.2. It allows several people to work on the same dictionary project at the same time. You store the project files on one computer. Then, you share those files over a local area network (LAN). People on other computers can open the same dictionary project at the same time. SooSL will warn you if try to change a sign that someone else is working onyou will have to wait until the other person is done. But, you can work on some other sign while you wait. 

If you want to change something major that affects the whole dictionary project, like the dialects or written languages, SooSL won't let you start if anyone else is changing the dictionary. Once you start the major change, SooSL won't let anyone else change anything in the dictionary until you are done making the change. They can still view the dictionary, but they can't make changes until you finish.

In this way of working, you store the dictionary project files on just one computer. Then, you share the project folder for other computers to use on the LAN. It works fastest and easiest if you share the folder immediately above the project folder (not the project folder itself). You need to install SooSL on each of the other computers. Then, read this help topic for instructions on how to open the dictionary from the other computers.

WARNING: Don't try to use SooSL through a local area network (LAN) with any version before 0.9.2. Some of these earlier versions will let you open a dictionary project on another computer using a network path. However, if two people try to use them to work on the dictionary project at the same time, they can lose work. Whoever closes SooSL first will lose all their changes when the second person closes SooSL. The second person's work is saved, and the first person's changes are lost. Worse, there is a bug in these versions which can sometimes delete all the files in a project. Versions 0.9.1 and earlier are not safe to use across a local network.

You may also be able to share a dictionary with people working remotely through the internet. To do so, they need to connect to your local network with a virtual private network (VPN). Then they can try to open the dictionary, the same as anyone else on the local network. This may or may not work well. It may be very slow. It depends on internet speeds. If you try this, please let us know how well it works.

Work independently and merge your work: version 0.9.4 and later

Here is something we are planning for the future. We want different people to be able to work on separate copies of the same dictionary project at the same time. Then, they can later merge all their changes back together into a single copy. We are planning this feature for version 0.9.4. For now, use one of the other ways (above) to work together. Don't work independently on separate copies.

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