Guide: GeneralSync for PC

In order to get you started, this document will guide you through the basic features of GeneralSync. It is divided into the following feature-specific sections:

  1. First-run configuration: starting GeneralSync for the first time
  2. Sync dashboard: managing devices and content to sync
  3. Pairing: establishing connections to other devices
  4. Sync relations: exchanging content with other devices
  5. Accessing GeneralSync from other applications

Note that this document is intended as reference providing some background information; it is not required to read through this document in order to use GeneralSync.

First-run configuration

When GeneralSync is started for the first time, you will be prompted for some initial configuration. The process is quite self-explaining:

Integration into third-party applications

The first page of the first-run setup lists GeneralSync-compatible applications available for your computer:

Screenshot: application page of the firstrun setup

For applications requiring an add-on or extension in order to integrate with GeneralSync, said extension will be downloaded and installed automatically if the checkbox in front of its name is checked and you proceed with the setup.

If you installed a compatible application while the first-run setup was running, use the refresh button in the top-right corner of the dialog to repeat the search for installed applications.

Note that some third-party applications must be started at least once in order to be detected as installed. If GeneralSync should still fail to detect an application after you started it at least once, you may need to install the extension in question manually. You can find download links for manual installation through the license manager.

Initial Configuration

On the next page, you need to specify a device name and may enter a license key. In some cases, your license key will be detected automatically.

Screenshot: configuration page of the firstrun setup

The device name you enter will identify your device in the user interface. It will, for example, be shown on any device you sync content with. Especially if you intend to sync content with other people, it is thus a good idea to include your name there.

You can opt to skip license validation if you cannot find your license key or have no internet connection right now. GeneralSync will block all traffic towards other devices until a validated license is available.

Finalization

Finally, the setup finalizes your configuration:

Screenshot: finalization page of the firstrun setup

Depending on the speed of your machine and internet connection, the setup may require some minutes in order to complete the setup. Afterwards, you can start GeneralSync by clicking the finish button!

Sync dashboard

GeneralSync is usually running in the background, performing all tasks automatically. In the rare cases you wish to directly interact with GeneralSync, you can do so through the sync dashboard explained in this section.

Opening the dashboard

You can open the sync dashboard in multiple ways. The easiest option is through the GeneralSync tray icon: a double-click opens the dashboard directly, while opening its context menu also provides an option to bring up the dashboard:

Screenshot: context menu of GeneralSync tray icon

Alternatively, start GeneralSync again while it is already running, for example through the Start menu (on Windows).

The content tab

The dashboard consists of two tabs, one for syncable content and one for paired devices. You can switch between the two by using the buttons at the top. This section focuses on the content tab:

Screenshot: sync dashboard, content tab

On the left, the content tab features a list of every syncable content available on this device, grouped by category. The plus buttons on the category headers permit the creation of new entries, for example new calendars.

After selecting an entry in the list on the left, its details will be displayed in the right part of the dashboard. Besides buttons to edit metadata (gear icon) and add new sync relations (plus icon), it features a list of all sync relations active for the selected content. If there are restrictions on the content, for example the content being read-only, such restrictions are displayed below the list of sync relations.

Each sync relation is displayed by listing the device name the sync relation points to, as well as the status of the relation. A small icon in front of the status describes the direction of data flow: an arrow to the right denotes information being sent, an arrow to the left information being received.

You can view or edit a sync relation by clicking on it. For more information on sync relations, and on the sync relation creation dialog, refer to the sync relation chapter of this guide.

The devices tab

The second tab of the dashboard permits you to view and edit device pairings:

Screenshot: sync dashboard, devices tab

The basic structure of the devices tab is similar to that of the content tab on the left there is a list of all paired devices, with a plus button to pair new devices on the very top. For more information about the pairing process, refer to the pairing chapter of this guide.

The device selected in the list of the left is displayed in the right part of the tab. There you can find buttons to edit metadata (gear icon) and force a sync with the device (sync-/refresh-arrow-icon), as well as a list of sync relations offered by this device. Below the list, the timestamp of the last successful sync is displayed.

Besides being grouped by category, the list of offered sync relations is similar to the list of sync relations displayed for content in the content tab: each row represents an offered relation, displaying the name of the content offered as well as the current status of the relation. The icon in front of the status has the same meaning as in the content panel: an arrow to the right denotes information being sent, an arrow to the left information being received.

You can view and edit the sync relation by clicking it, for more information on sync relations refer to the sync relation chapter of this guide.

The configuration dialog

Besides the buttons for content and device tabs, the dashboard's header line also features a gear-icon to bring up the main configuration dialog:

Screenshot: configuration dialog

Here you can edit the device's name or change the license used. In addition, the configuration dialog – like some other dialogs – features some advanced options for expert users, that should not be altered unless you know what you're doing. Below that, the troubleshooting section contains technical information about your installation and access to the system log. If you ask for help (for example, in our forums), please include at least the version number shown there in your first post.

Pairing

In order to exchange data with another device, said device must be paired. For technical reasons, pairing requires a short alphanumeric code to be generated on one of the devices and entered on the other device. Pair codes are case-sensitive.

On GeneralSync for PC, the pairing process is started by opening the pair dialog. While there are various options to do that, the easiest option is to open the dashboard's devices tab and click the plus button on the top of the device list on the left.

Entering another device's pair code

When opening the pair dialog, it permits you to enter a pair code right away:

Screenshot: pair dialog to enter a code

If the other device is connected to the same network, it is sufficient to enter the code generated by the other device and hit ok. Note that pair codes can only be used once and are valid for limited time only, thus you need to generate a new pair key for every two devices you wish to pair.

Expert users can also initiate a pairing with devices not connected to the same network, but the configuration required to do so securely is way beyond the scope of this guide. The configuration options required for that can be found within the advanced option sections of both the pair dialog and the configuration dialog.

Generating a pair code for another device

If you'd rather generate a code to enter on the other device, select the Generate code option:

Screenshot: pair dialog to generate a code

Simply enter the code displayed on the other device within the 10 minute limit displayed in the bottom-left corner; the dialog is closed automatically once the pairing was performed successfully.

Sync relations

Once a device is paired, you can use the sync dashboard to view and edit sync relations towards that device. In this chapter various types of sync relations are described, as well as your options when manipulating them.

States of a sync relation

To protect your data, GeneralSync will not send or receive any data without explicit user approval. In order to establish a sync relation, it is thus required to approve the sync relation on both devices (as the devices may have different users).

A sync relation thus goes through various phases. Relative to one device, a sync relation can be in the following states:

To change the state of a sync relation, click on it in the dashboard, and select the appropriate action in the dialog. If new relations become available, you will also be notified with a popup on GeneralSync's tray icon.

Note that sync relation offers for content currently not present on your computer are only visible in the devices tab of the dashboard (as the content does not yet exist), while pending sync relations are not visible on the devices tab (as it displays only relations offered by the selected device).

Types of data exchange

While synchronization is a suitable term for any data exchange performed by GeneralSync, it is too broad when discussing sync relations in detail. In fact, there are two major types of data exchange supported by GeneralSync:

The dashboard displays icons in front of the state of each sync relation: two arrows for bidirectional synchronization, one arrow for unidirectional sending / receiving. The direction of the arrow permits to differentiate between sending (to the right) and receiving (to the left).

When viewing content in the content tab of the dashboard, the label below the list of sync relation displays whether a device holds a complete, writeable version of the content (Unrestricted access) or there are restrictions. Unidirectional sending is only available for content you have unrestricted access to.

Establishing new sync relations

If you wish to initiate a new sync relation in GeneralSync for PC, switch to the content tab of the dashboard, select the content to exchange with other devices, and click the plus button above the list of sync relations.

For content you do not have unrestricted access to, any sync relation created by you is automatically bidirectional. In other cases, you are now asked to select the type of the sync relation to establish:

Screenshot: new relation dialog, type page

As discussed before, you have the option to either bidirectionally sync data, or to send it without receiving changes from the target device. In the latter case, it may be possible to restrict the content you're sending according to predefined filter rules by selecting the corresponding option from the Restrict to field.

After selecting a type, or as first page if you do not have unrestricted access to the content, you are prompted to select a target device to exchange data with:

Screenshot: new relation dialog, target page

Select the device to offer a sync relation to, and advance to the next page. If you wish to sync with a new device that has not yet been paired, you can use the button in the top-right corner to initiate a pairing without leaving the dialog.

Afterwards, the sync relation is created and sent to the target device:

Screenshot: new relation dialog, finish page

In most cases, the target device will signal its user that a new sync relation became available. As soon as the relation is confirmed on the target device, the sync relation will automatically operate in the background.

Accessing GeneralSync from other applications

If an application requests access to content from GeneralSync, you might see a dialog similar to this one:

Screenshot: content selection dialog

It features the application name (as transmitted by the application, GeneralSync does not validate the name in any way) and the type of the content requested, in this case, a calendar.

You are then prompted to select suitable content to grant the application access to. By using the plus button on the top of the list, you can easily create new a new instance of the requested type (in this case, for example, a new calendar).

After clicking Grant access the application will be permitted to read and, if available, write any part of the content.

Besides this dialog, the usage of GeneralSync from application greatly depends on the application you're using. For details on how to access GeneralSync from supported applications, refer to the documentation of the GeneralSync extension you use (or to the documentation of the application itself, if no extension is required).

Thank you for using GeneralSync!

Feel free to contact us directly or through the forums if you have further questions or suggestions regarding this guide or GeneralSync itself.