There were three major issues with Together 3.1 that I would like to discuss in more detail:
Mavericks required many changes to Together for iCloud sync to continue working. Having spent the summer working on that and the rest of the new features in Together 3.1, I submitted the app for review as soon as Apple permitted Mavericks-related builds, but that review was not completed until a few days after Mavericks’ release. In the meantime, I posted information to this blog so people could be aware of the potential issues when upgrading to Mavericks.
Once version 3.1 was approved, bugs in Mavericks created problems for people upgrading from 10.8. At least one of those bugs was reported to Apple during the Mavericks testing period, but was not addressed. As an intermittent issue, it stopped happening in my tests, so I did not pursue it.
I discovered a workaround that fixed most people’s problems, which could be performed manually and was incorporated into Together 3.1.1, and I requested an expedited review for that.
A handful of libraries were lost, because iCloud could not upgrade them, but no actual documents were lost and all the affected libraries could be rebuilt.
Mavericks changed the format used for Core Data SQLite files, which Together uses for its library database, and these became prone to corruption when syncing with Dropbox. A setting was introduced in version 3.1.2 to revert the database to the pre-10.9 format.
Dropbox syncing is not a feature of the app, it’s only possible because you can store a Together library anywhere. As such, syncing requires care to ensure Together is only run on one Mac at a time and that Dropbox syncs completely before launching the app.
Corrupt database files could be restored via Time Machine or using Dropbox’s versions feature. Where neither of those were effective or available, I offered to manually fixed the library database files sent to me. Consequently, no data was lost as a result of this problem.
Folder is not a Valid Library Folder Error Message
The Mac App Store version of Together was missing an entry in its Info.plist file (which describes things about the app, such as supported file formats) which told OS X that its library file (which ends in the .trlib extension) should be considered a single file package, not a folder.
Macs with both the Mac App Store and direct versions of Together installed would not see the problem. For testing purposes, I always have both, therefore didn’t notice the issue. This file format was introduced with Together 2.5 back in 2011.
3.1.2 included a new feature whereby the app could rebuild libraries from a library folder that is missing its [Library].trlib file. This feature is to help people recover from either of the above problems. Unfortunately, the Mac App Store version of Together would mistakenly see a perfectly valid library file as a folder, and show an error message.
A workaround was posted on the support page as soon as the cause of the problem was identified, and version 3.1.3 submitted for review to the Mac App Store. I did not ask for the review to be expedited because such reviews are limited and I’d already expedited the review for the Mavericks iCloud workaround mentioned above.
No data was lost as a result of this problem.
With Mavericks as the first ever free major OS X upgrade, take-up was probably a lot faster than it may otherwise have been, increasing the number of people experiencing problems both before and after 3.1 was approved and released. Mavericks also introduced automatic updates for apps, ensuring more people started using new versions sooner than they may have otherwise, and without seeing the release notes.
Since two out of the three problems affected the Mac App Store version only, these problems were exacerbated by Apple’s slow review times. Prior to the introduction of the Mac App Store I could put out an update to address problems such as these almost immediately, and most people would be none the wiser. With the Mac App Store, that is not possible.
I regret that anyone has experienced problems with Together. I did my utmost to rectify these as soon as possible, and to work with people to help them recover. As should be clear from the above, I don’t let such problems pass without determining the causes and identifying ways of preventing similar problems in the future. I thank everyone affected for their patience and understanding.