Add "enable/disable folder pair" option for each folder pair in a batch job

Discuss new features and functions
MartinPC
Posts: 15
Joined: 7 Aug 2018

Post by MartinPC • 10 Oct 2019, 01:04

This suggestion was briefly mentioned in a previous post, here:

viewtopic.php?t=6262&p=20677&hilit=disable+folder+pair#p20677

Being able to temporarily or durably disable individual folder pairs in a given batch job from the GUI, without doing manual surgery to the XML file, would make it easier for users to:
  • troubleshoot batch jobs (especially jobs with many folder pairs) that throw errors;
  • continue syncing non-problematic folder pairs while the problematic pair(s) are still being worked on; and
  • temporarily disable select folder pairs while their contents are being re-organized or have temporarily been moved elsewhere.
In the GUI, I imagine this could be done by adding "Folder pair enabled" checkboxes to the left of the "Local comparison settings" buttons in the central column of the folder-pair pane (possibly with a master "Enable/Disable all folder pairs" checkbox on top, to the left of the "Swap sides" button).

In the XML files, maybe it could be done by adding something like:

<FolderPairEnabled>true/false</FolderPairEnabled>

to each folder pair in the batch job's list.

I'm guessing that, for now, the "false" setting should be ignored when RealTimeSync files are created based on a batch job that contains disabled pairs. It's better to trigger unproductive FreeFileSync runs for changes to disabled folder pairs than it is to have to remember to redo the RTS file whenever the disabled folder pairs are re-enabled. (Unless, of course, you can figure out an easy way to add an "enable/disable folder pair" option to RealTimeSync as well, and optionally sync the enabled/disabled settings in a given FFS batch job to its corresponding RTS file. Maybe this could be done by creating a new class of RTS files that are dynamically linked to their FFS counterparts. But I'm getting ahead of myself. For now, with static RTS files, unnecessary FFS runs aren't the end of the world for most users. Not having re-enabled folders get automatically synced when you mistakenly think they are, could be.)

Being able to disable/re-enable folder pairs in the GUI would be one of the most valuable "new" features I can think of, off the top of my head, right up there with 10.2's age and number caps for versioned backups and 10.4's restored ability to specify custom log-file folders. Of course, delta-syncing/copying would be a big potential time-, bandwidth-, and disk-write-saver for really big files, provided the sync/copy were 100% reliable and (I suspect) no self-contained versioned backups of those really big files were maintained. (With the copying required for fully self-contained versioned backups, all those potential savings might end up being a wash, or worse.) And now that I think of it, dynamically linked RTS files would be pretty cool, too! Less stuff to remember and attend to when you change a FFS batch job! ;-) For now, though, adding an "enable/disable folder pair" option strikes me as probably not too difficult to implement from a technical standpoint, especially compared to delta-sync and dynamic RTS.

BACKGROUND: I'm currently trying to diagnose and fix an error-throwing batch file with 24 different folder pairs, as time permits, and this feature would make my life a lot easier (or at least many of my backups more up to date!) pending a definitive solution. And I don't think I'd be the only one to appreciate it. I suspect it would come in handy for many FFS users, as they begin experimenting with more complex batch jobs.

Many, many thanks for a great utility, Zenju! I hope you find this suggestion worth considering.

xCSxXenon
Posts: 117
Joined: 11 Jun 2019

Post by xCSxXenon • 13 Oct 2019, 20:33

Just click the minus symbol to remove it temporarily or select the source/destination in the compare window and hit spacebar.

MartinPC
Posts: 15
Joined: 7 Aug 2018

Post by MartinPC • 13 Oct 2019, 22:48

To put it more accurately and safely, just click the minus symbol next to the folder pair you want to disable, and do NOT accidentally save changes to the modified batch job when you're done. If you don't maintain backups of your FFS batch jobs, this is actually a little risky. Additionally, if you wanted to make a change to the batch file's main config or to one of its "enabled" folder pairs, you'd first have to leave the partially disabled job without saving it and then return to the fully enabled version in order to be able to save the change without wiping out the "disabled" folder pairs.

Both of the approaches you suggested leave the "disabled" folder pairs as part of the batch job (which is good), but they both work only temporarily: the first while focus remains on the same batch job in the GUI, the second for a single Compare run only.

I was looking for something more durable (but still undoable), so the job can be run multiple times in different sessions without the hassle of having to manually tweak it each time. This would allow you to keep "mindlessly" syncing most of the folder pairs in the batch job while you continue to troubleshoot problematic pairs in stints, as time and mental focus permit.

In short, I still think my new feature suggestion is worthwhile.