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PrintSphere Online Help Addendum

This page contains last-minute updates to the information available in the Online Help of PrintSphere. Separate online manuals are available for administrators and end users.

Tips & tricks

How to use PrintSphere for downloadable content

When a file is shared in PrintSphere, its sharing URL points to a page where users can download that file. The sharing URL cannot be used for direct downloads, which is something that could be very useful. For example: in an Apogee or Asanti StoreFront page you might want to include a link that allows store visitors to download a PDF file, such as your latest company brochure. Below is the procedure to use PrintSphere as the hosting server for documents you want to link to in StoreFront:

  • In PrintSphere, start by uploading the PDF to a folder. It is best to use a dedicated folder for all downloadable content, so that there is less chance you accidentally delete such linked data.
  • Click the 'Share' button for the uploaded file. Click 'Share link' and COPY the link that is shown.
  • Go to StoreFront and open the text to which you want to add a link in the HTML Editor.
  • Select the text you want to change into a download link and PASTE the URL into the Url field.
  • Now add /download at the end of the URL. That means if the original PrintSphere sharing URL was https://www.printsphere.com/access/index.php/s/P1lHtgkwQ2l6213 you now use https://www.printsphere.com/access/index.php/s/P1lHtgkwQ2l6213/download as the link.
  • Visit the store page and click the link to make sure that the download button pops up.

The above trick may not work for all file types, such as JPEG or PNG images. Instead of downloading an asset, the browser may visualize such an image in a new browser tab. You should embed such files in a ZIP-file to force the browser to download the file.

Refined sharing controls

Since the October 16 upgrade users can also share files and folders with groups. When they start typing the name of a group they belong to in the sharing window, PrintSphere will automatically autocomplete its name. Users can see a list of groups they belong to in their personal profile page.

Since the March 1 upgrade, PrintSphere allows you to share a file or folder multiple times, each time with different settings. This is handy for files that certain users are allowed to edit while others can only view and download them

Simultaneously editing PrintSphere files and folders

With PrintSphere you can share files and folders with a group of users. These users can use the PrintSphere desktop application for MacOS and Windows to synchronize the shared data with a local folder on their computer or portable. This means everyone has a full copy of all the data on their own computer.

While this is a practical way of making data available to everyone, you need to keep in mind that it is a bad idea to have different users edit the same files simultaneously. PrintSphere does not have a check in/check out mechanism to prevent simultaneous access. It only uses transactional file locking to prevent simultaneous file saving.

  • Everyone can open a local copy of a file, make changes to it and save it. The PrintSphere desktop sync application will upload the modified file to the server and the changed file will be synced to the folder of all other users.
  • Things get tricky when two people edit the same file at the same time and save their edits. PrintSphere does transactional file locking, which assures that both revisions cannot be written to disk simultaneously. This prevents data corruption.
    • If the two desktop clients try to sync both file versions simultaneously, the sync operation that started the first will be processed properly. For the sync operation that started a split second or a few seconds later, the attempt to transfer the file to the PrintSphere server will be blocked by it. On the user's computer the desktop application will log the conflict. The changed local file is copied to a conflict file and the user is expected to manually resolve the conflict.
    • If the two sync operations happen one after the other, the file that gets saved first will be synchronized with the PrintSphere server and all other users. The second user who was editing the same source file will get a conflict file upon saving. If the original file was called layout.indd then the conflict file will be called layout _conflict-<date>-<number indication>.indd. This file will not be synced with PrintSphere and the other users! The user doing the second save is informed about the conflict by a warning in the message window of the PrintSphere desktop sync application but no other users are warned that there is an editing conflict. It is important to be aware of this way in which PrintSphere works:
      • Some systems designed to allow users to simultaneously edit the same file will merge the edits and prevent people from changing the exact same word, line or paragraph at the same time. PrintSphere does not do this!
      • Some systems designed to allow users to simultaneously work on the same set of files have a check in/check out mechanism. When a user checks out a file, others are not allowed to open it for editing until that user checks the revised file back in again. PrintSphere does not do this!
  • You can warn other users that you are working on a file or the files of a folder by temporarily changing the name of that file or folder - for example by adding your initials at the end. When other users see a folder called April_MC, they should realize Mike Connors is working on it. Users have to be disciplined to implement this rigorously and respect that other users are working on a job they would also like to access. Please note that some applications dislike temporary file or folder name changes because it screws up path names for linked files.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that the desktop client keeps track of file synchronization operations using the PrintSphere desktop application's built-in database. That is fine for regular usage and does not limit your ability to use or upgrade the desktop client. However: if you back up your system configuration and restore that system back up after a disk crash or other accident, you do have to pay attention. You might restore an old local PrintSphere desktop application database that is out of sync with the status of the PrintSphere data currently present on the PrintSphere server and in all other synced folders. The desktop client will display a warning and in case of doubt, we recommend to put more trust in restoring server data than local data.

Cumulative rights

When a folder or file is shared more than once with the same person or people, their access rights are cumulative. For example: John is a member of the Operators group. This group has access to a shared folder in which they are allowed to delete files. Someone also shared the same folder separately with John and did not give him the right to delete files. In this case John retains that right to delete files.

Known issues

  • Drag and drop of folders works with Chrome and Opera but not with Internet Explorer or FireFox.