Edits don’t get synced if I close the app too quickly (bug)


#1

Steps to reproduce

  1. Open Dynalist on any platform (iOS, Android, Windows app, browser, etc)
  2. Edit any document in Dynalist
  3. Close the Dynalist app (or browser window) immediately after typing your edit
  4. Go to Dynalist from a different platform from what you were previously using. For example, if you used the Windows desktop app in steps 1-3, now use the Dynalist browser app.

Expected result

In step 4 above, I would expect to see the full edit appear in the document I just edited in step 2, instead of it not appearing at all, or only the first part of it appearing.

Actual result

The edit I made in step 2 above either doesn’t appear at all in step 4, or only the first part of the edit appears.

Environment

All. This applies to every version of Dynalist I have ever used over the past year I have been using Dynalist. I see it happen on iOS, Android, Windows app, and when accessing Dynalist from any browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, etc). It happens on all computers and phones I have used with Dynalist (which is about 8 different devices for me), and it happens on every type of internet connection I use when accessing Dynalist (wi-fi, ethernet, or cellular).


Additional information

The issue that is happening here seems to be that Dynalist doesn’t sync to the cloud quickly enough. If I make an edit and then close the app right away (as in steps 2-3 above), this does not give Dynalist enough time to sync. I find this to be a major inconvenience because most of the time I use Dynalist, it is just to quickly jot something down in one of my lists, then immediately go back to whatever else I was doing. This means I would like to close the app immediately after making my edit. However, due to this issue I have gotten into the annoying, but necessary, habit of waiting at least 5s after making any edits before I go back to the home screen (Android or iOS) or close the app (Windows).

It would be nice if Dynalist synced to the cloud more quickly, or if it synced every time that the user closes the app. I realize that it always saves before closing any of the apps, but that is different than syncing. Saving only applies the changes to the current device/app. Syncing applies it to the cloud, so that those changes are synced to all other devices.

Additionally, I realize that the user can check to see if Dynalist is currently synced to the cloud by looking at the top-right corner (Windows app and browser version), or by tapping into the menu (Android and iOS), but I don’t want to have to check this status every time I make an edit to Dynalist.


Additional comments

I have previously submitted this issue in the Help section of this forum (see here: Edits don't get synced if I close the app too quickly ), and the Features section (see here: Edits don’t get synced if I close the app too quickly ). Those submissions never got much attention, so I figured I would now try posting it here in the Bugs section.


"Synced" status on Android not always correct (especially after item delete)
#2

When you close the browser tab, you should get a confirmation dialog along the lines of “You have unsaved data. Are you sure you want to exit?”

We don’t sync too fast for a reason: we don’t want to generate too many revisions. Dynalist saves after you stop typing for a bit, which is what normal people do anyways.

I wonder what makes you want to exit the app immediately after you enter stuff? If you really have to do that, you can do a Ctrl+S and close it after the right corner says Synced.

From our experience, I don’t see others experience the same problem. In fact, if I remember correctly, you’re probably the first person to report this issue. You can try bumping this post and see if it gets any attention; I suspect your previous posts didn’t get much attention, especially from other users, because it’s a non-issue for them.

I’m genuinely curious what your use case is, and I look forward to helping you with that. Thanks!


#3

It’s easily reproducible in mobile app and there is no info that item didn’t sync, I had that problem multiple times. (I’m not using app anymore, so it’s not a problem for me)


#4

When you close the browser tab, you should get a confirmation dialog along the lines of “You have unsaved data. Are you sure you want to exit?”

Yes, when I close a browser window it does give that warning if a sync hasn’t finished, and I find that very helpful. I guess this issue only applies to the apps (Windows, Android, and (last time I checked) iOS).

We don’t sync too fast for a reason: we don’t want to generate too many revisions. Dynalist saves after you stop typing for a bit, which is what normal people do anyways.

That makes sense about wanting to not have too many revisions. However, why not show that same warning (like with a browser) when closing the apps if the sync hasn’t finished? Or, why not sync in the background after the user leaves/closes the app, or force a sync when it closes?

I wonder what makes you want to exit the app immediately after you enter stuff? If you really have to do that, you can do a Ctrl+S and close it after the right corner says Synced.

I tend to close the app immediately because I want to get back to what I was doing before. Consider this scenario: I’m on my Android phone browsing the internet and realize I need to clean my deck. So, I do the following:

  1. Leave my browser by going to the home screen
  2. Open Dynalist
  3. Type in “Clean the deck” in my Inbox document
  4. Go back to the home screen
  5. Re-open my browser to continue where I left off

After typing “Clean the deck” I have no need to hang around in the Dynalist app. As soon as I’ve tapped the “k” in “deck”, I just instinctively hit the home button because I have finished typing. Waiting around for 2 - 5s while Dynalist syncs doesn’t seem natural to me.

I know that I could hit Ctrl-S and wait for it to say “Synced” in the top-right corner, but that only applies to the Windows app. In the mobile app I don’t know of any shortcut like that, and checking the sync status requires going into the menu at the top-right, which I find cumbersome.

From our experience, I don’t see others experience the same problem. In fact, if I remember correctly, you’re probably the first person to report this issue. You can try bumping this post and see if it gets any attention; I suspect your previous posts didn’t get much attention, especially from other users, because it’s a non-issue for them.

I do find this surprising (not that I’m doubting what you say!), and I was wondering why no-one else replied. So far in this thread, we do have one other user (Piotr) who has reported this issue, so I guess I’m not totally alone. I really wouldn’t consider the way I use Dynalist to be abnormal, but I could be wrong.


#5

I echo Android app usage pretty much exactly as @gostobsec described. As soon as I type that last letter in a Dynalist bullet, I tap out to the Android Home screen.
If there was a Save icon in the top toolbar, I wouldn’t mind hitting that before exiting the app in order to ensure my changes are sync’ed to the cloud.


#6

One possible solution: don’t use the mobile app. Instead, use a browser when using Dynalist from a phone. When I access Dynalist from Firefox on my Android phone, it appears to be able to sync to the cloud in the background after I have closed Firefox. To test this, I did the following:

  1. Open Dynalist on a phone/computer to keep an eye on a document. Let’s call this Device #1.
  2. Open Dynalist via a web browser on a phone (we’ll call it Device #2).
  3. Type a few words/sentences on Device #2 and watch them appear on Device #1.
  4. Close the browser on Device #2 immediately after typing the last word. A few seconds after closing it, the rest of the text you just wrote will show up on Device #1. In other words, syncing continues even after closing the browser. This would not happen if using the Dynalist app; syncing stops immediately after closing the app.

#7

Hmm, maybe we should get a feature request to port the same warning to desktop app? Browser has this warning pretty much built in, as you probably have seen on other websites, so it was really quick to do.

Now two more people replied! So I guess it’s really an issue on the mobile app especially. One user did use custom CSS to always show sync status: Custom CSS to show sync status on top bar in mobile app (@Michael_Durland: it’s not as good as a save icon but it might help you!)

The underlying problem is that Dynalist doesn’t do background sync. Otherwise, we can start syncing immediately after you switch away. Without background sync, there’s no way we can predict when you’re going to leave the app; the only way seems to be aggressively sync after typing each letter.

Wow, I did not know that. Looks like browsers run in the background and that gives Dynalist a chance to sync after it’s closed. (By closed do you mean sent to the background, or killing the app? It would surprise me if it can still sync the rest of the sentence after it’s killed)


#8

That would be great! It’d be nice to see it in all versions of the app though. Personally, I don’t run into this issue much on the Windows app because I’m able to keep it open all the time. It’s the mobile apps where it’s the biggest problem because you can’t keep them open/active when going to another app.

That looks great, but I don’t have Pro. Maybe I’ll consider getting it though…

Would it be possible to make Dynalist run in the background too, like a browser? I know that in Android you can set whether or not an app is allowed to have background data usage, so I imagine any app would be capable of background activity? (just a guess though)

Just closed, not killed.


#9

I confirm such behavior on Android app. That is very irritating. Doing it 6-7 times a day.

  1. Open Dynalist on Android.
  2. Add a new list item “Send invoice to Apple”.
  3. Switch to another app.
  4. Open desktop app. Sync.
  5. There is “Send invo” synced :frowning:
  6. Reopen Android app. Add another dummy item. Wait 5 seconds.
  7. Open desktop app. Now it’s finally synced.
  8. Delete dummy item.

#10

Seems it’s the same issue as in “Synced” status on Android not always correct (especially after item delete)


#11

@samdark copying my response from that thread here:

This is a slightly different issue. The issue linked above is if you immediately close Dynalist on mobile, in which case you will only be in “Saved” state not yet “Synced”.

This issue is much more rare, and in my opinion is a bigger “bug” from a data integrity point of view as it says it’s “Synced” and yet it isn’t! It seems to be specifically related to deleting items as opposed to all types of edits.


#12

@samdark and @Jayden_Navarro . Not sure if you saw my response in this thread from Aug 23, but one possible workaround for this issue is to just not use the Android app. Instead, access Dynalist on your Android device from a web browser. Web browsers appear to be able to continue running in the background, unlike the Dynalist app, so they can sync even if you close the app immediately after making an edit. In my case, I use Firefox for Dynalist. I don’t use it for any other web browsing (I use Chrome for that), so I just always have Firefox open to Dynalist. It works pretty much perfectly.

Too bad the actual Dynalist app still has this issue. It makes it essentially unusable, in my opinion.


#13

@gostobsec Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried that, but I find the website to be slightly more sluggish (not by much) and prefer to use the native app.

Not sure if you know about this, but Chrome can recognize Dynalist is a PWA (Progressive Web App), so if you add it to your home screen using the “Add to Home screen” button in the Chrome menu (if you visit dynalist.io in Chrome on Android) it’s treated differently than a normal Chrome link. When you open it through that home screen shortcut it makes it full screen (no URL bar). In this way it is essentially the same as having the real app on your phone (minus the “Add to Inbox” sharing option and a slight performance downgrade). I also confirmed that background syncing still works properly using this full-screen webview shortcut.

For quickly adding things to Dynalist in Android I’ve been using Quick Dynalist for a while. It’s been super awesome to quickly add items to my inbox and has really good background syncing capabilities. I added a shortcut to it in my notification bar (using Tasker) so I can quickly add to my inbox while I’m in any app.


#14

@Jayden_Navarro Thanks for the info! That’s great. I’ve always wanted something like Quick Dynalist.


#15

@Jayden_Navarro thanks for reminder about Chrome “Add to Home screen”. Replaced the app with it.