Entries have disappeared, recovery?

I am using tropy for my dissertation and have had no trouble until this past week. Today when I started using it, I noticed that the past week of entries with notes, tags, etc. are missing. I have entered ~50 items in this time that are now lost. They were present yesterday and the days prior.

When I sort by date added, there is an entry from January 25th (but it is missing my notes) and then they start up again on February 11th (most have notes, but 1 entry is missing my notes). I have been adding items to tropy every day between those dates.

Is there any way to recover the lost items? It is an enormous amount of work that has disappeared. I would greatly appreciate your help.

I am using an iMac, OS Monterrey, and the tropy file is stored on the iCloud desktop.

Do you work on the project from more than one computer? If a week’s worth of changes are missing I’d suspect that you opened an older version from iCloud. For example, if you’d been working for that week on a different Mac without syncing the file back to iCloud, then opened the previously synced version on another you would not see those latest changes. Have you enabled TimeMachine backups for the files in iCloud? It might be worth checking there to see if you have versions of the project file from that missing week.

Hi, Thanks so much for getting back to me. I haven’t opened it on two computers (although I do have access on two computers). I have been working on it daily on the one computer and have just left the file open to return to each day. As I mentioned, all the files were there from all prior days and then they just vanished. I got up for lunch and returned and they were gone. I hadn’t closed the file or done anything differently.

The file size is 1.51 GB – I saw you comment on an earlier post that size can cause this to happen. Is that too large?

Unfortunately I don’t have Time Machine set up, really wishing I had at this point.

Is there anything you can do from the back end? Thanks again for your help.

Is this a standard project (with the extension .tropy) or an advanced (.tpy) project? Standard projects are bundled on macOS so 1.5 GB would include all the photos you imported. In that case, the project size should not be an issue at all. However, if the .tpy file alone is 1.5 GB I would probably want to ask a few more questions about the project.

In any case, just to make sure I got this right: you kept the project file open in Tropy while you were working it, you never closed Tropy or shutdown the computer. And then specifically, you had the project open, got up from the computer, came back and the most recent work was gone?

Tropy writes any changes you make to the project file directly, so there are really only two scenarios I can think of how the most recent changes can disappear. First, if you never closed the project during the period where the changes were made, it’s possible to remove them via undo; to undo changes from a whole week like this sounds really unlikely but I guess it could happen if you held Cmd+Z for some time. The second scenario is the one I mentioned above, that you there are somehow two copies of the project involved (one on the computer and older backup). Basically, if you make changes to the project, then close the project, then the project file is replaced by an older version and you open it again.

So if the changes disappeared while the project was open in Tropy, the only explanation that makes sense would be that undo was pressed repeatedly. If that’s the case the only way to restore everything is by immediately calling redo. Once you make any changes or close the project that’s not possible anymore however. So if this is what happened and you’ve closed the project since then, there’s unfortunately no way to get changes back.

Yes, it’s a standard .tropy project, so I guess the file size isn’t the issue.

And, yes, your characterization of what happened is accurate.

I don’t think it’s possible that I cmd+z undid all that work. I think it has to be a syncing issue. I was working in tropy on my desktop 1/29-2/3, then I opened tropy very briefly (~1 min, didn’t do any work) and closed it on my laptop on 2/3, and then continued to work on my desktop for the past week+. It seems that all I did between 1/29-2/3 and after 2/3 was lost (now I realize it is more items than the 50 I initially thought). I suspect that syncing is the root issue given that the 2/3 date lines up with what is lost, but I don’t understand why all the work I subsequently did after 2/3 on my desktop was lost?

I have been an enthusiastic user of tropy up to this point and have found it very useful, but I am now scared to use it moving forward since this has had catastrophic implications to my project/deadlines. I use a lot of software across two devices and have never encountered a syncing issue like this, and it feels like the risk of this happening again is very high.

I have activated Time Machine, but it seems that even if I had had Time Machine activated, the work I did still wouldn’t be accessible since it was clearly not saving to the project file at all (and the work was just disintegrating).

Other than not working on a project across two devices at all, how does one avoid having this happen?

I appreciate your time and help with this – many thanks.

A quick follow up note –

I just ran a test that was further confusing and perhaps telling. I closed out tropy on both my computers, restarted both devices. With tropy fully quit on my desktop, I opened the project on my laptop (which is where the project file is saved), made a 2-line note in an item, closed tropy, reopened it, and the note was gone. It didn’t save. I don’t see how that can be a syncing issue.

When you open a project in Tropy it will load the database file. It will only close it again once you close the project. You must be aware that while the project is open, Tropy does not expect any other app to make changes to the file. That’s why it’s important that, if you use syncing across devices you have to be careful that the file is fully synced before you open it and never open it while it is currently open on another device. (We’re planning to add remote projects at some point to address this, but this will require server side infrastructure). What exactly happens when a cloud syncing app updates your files depends on the services: some make backup copies and notice if another app accesses the file, some don’t. Either way, if Tropy another process changes the file while Tropy has it open it’s most likely that the file will get corrupted. Your case actually seems to be different – I suspect that iCloud noticed that the file was being accessed and so, instead of writing to it directly replaced one version with the other.

As to your test, there is a very short delay when saving notes (because they are continuously saved) so if you pasted a note and immediately closed Tropy there is a minuscule possibility that the note isn’t saved. However, that’s really unlikely. Especially if you see the note appear in the interface. If you can reproduce this behavior that would be very interesting and would point to some other issue – perhaps related to your iCloud setup that we should follow up on.