[phenixbb] Sharing a Phenix project via Dropbox

Sampson, Jared Jared.Sampson at nyumc.org
Fri May 16 13:52:56 PDT 2014

Hi Derek et al. -

Since, as Nat (Echols) mentioned, Phenix does expand the paths, you’ll have to do the linking the other way around (i.e. the actual files are in /a/my_project, and the link is ~/Dropbox/a/my_project => /a/my_project).  Then as long as the /a/my_project path is the same on all three computers, it should be fine—Dropbox follows symlinks<http://www.dropboxwiki.com/tips-and-tricks/sync-other-folders>   I have several directories linked this way, with the original files outside the Dropbox folder on each computer, although, I admit I haven’t done it with Phenix.

To set it up on an additional computer, you should allow Dropbox to download all the files locally, pause Dropbox syncing, move the directory to the root location, create the symlink, then resume Dropbox syncing.

As for guarding against having multiple instances modifying the files simultaneously: I know I’m presented with a warning if I try to run multiple instances of Phenix on the same machine, but there doesn’t appear to be anything like that to prevent concurrent access to a project directory by multiple instances of Phenix on different machines. Assuming network connectivity for all machines and a fast-enough Dropbox sync (which may or may not be a reasonable assumption), it could be sufficient to place a simple lockfile in the .phenix directory of the project, perhaps with a username and date/time, and if another user (or the same user on a different machine) tries to open the project, Phenix would present an alert message with info about who locked the project and when, along with the option to abort or override the lock.  Just thought I’d throw that idea into the ring, in case it might not be too difficult to implement.


Jared Sampson
Xiangpeng Kong Lab
NYU Langone Medical Center

On May 16, 2014, at 11:09 AM, Nathaniel Echols <nechols at lbl.gov<mailto:nechols at lbl.gov>> wrote:

On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 7:42 AM, Edward A. Berry <BerryE at upstate.edu<mailto:BerryE at upstate.edu>> wrote:
(Hope Phenix doesn't automatically resolve the path to full path)

Well.... yeah, it does.  Which mostly reflects my particular work style and environment rather than any rational design.  A number of people have complained about this in the past, but the reason that it hasn't been fixed yet is that it's somewhat difficult to avoid completely.  However, an update of Phenix for the bold new era of cloud computing is probably overdue; I'll see if I can deal with it this summer.  I should also mention, however, that when you have multi-user (or multi-computer) projects it is also difficult to prevent different instances of Phenix from conflicting.

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