wordmuse
I tried importing a complex TheBrain from TB8 into TB9.  The results are mixed.

The Good
1 - Thoughts imported just fine.
2 - Attachments also appeared to be imported as well (other than for a few, which were moved to a thought called "orphaned attachments," which I guess is better than losing them outright. It would be nice to have a report about where they were in the TB8 system and why they were not imported the same was as other attachments.

The Bad
1 - Some of the attachments had links to other files within the TB8 structure. The links were relative links - not absolute. In other words, they were like relative links in Windows Explorer.

Absolute link: C:\directory1\directory2\directory3\directory4\filename.xyz
Relative link: ..\directory4\filename.xyz

I used relative links so that if the need came to move the entire system to a new location on my hard drive, the internal links would be maintained.

Apparently, when TB9 imports from TB8, it changes the file structure entirely, thus destroying thousands of links between attachments (not TB9's storage of the attachments, which as I said in #2 is just fine).

What this means is that I can't use TB9 on the older data.  This isn't good.  When I import the database from TB8 into TB9, I need the links between attachments (say, between a Word document and an Excel spreadsheet) to be intact.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
- Bal
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wordmuse
I believe I have found the source of the problem. I hope it's one that can be addressed.

Upon import, the attached files are not imported along with the strangely named folder names that contain them. It appears TB9 uses new folder names for the attachments. The links within the attachments have no way of being updated along with TB9's new folder assignments and so all the links are broken.

With thousands upon thousands of links from various attachments to various other attachments, even using relative links is helpless against the massive change of folder names as can be seen in the screenshot.different-foldernames-tb8-v-tb9.png 

The solution seems clear to me, although I don't know if it's doable. If not, then migration from TB8 to TB9 is going to be anything but smooth, and unless I figure out a way to archive my current work and start fresh with TB9, I don't see how I'll be able to upgrade. Since I otherwise like what I'm seeing in TB9, this would be unfortunate.

So - the solution: import attachments so that he TB8 folder names are maintained.

This seems simple to me, but I'm not a techie.  Hopefully it is doable.

- Bal


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Harlan
Hi Bal,

The orphaned attachments are items that were in your version 8 brain but were not associated with any thought or link. This is due to a structural problem in the data from the source data and there is no way to know where they came from. In other words, these items were effectively "lost" in version 8 and were found as a side effect of the import process.

With regard to the change of folder names, this is an integral part of how TB9 is faster and more reliable than TB8. Sorry, but it is not possible to import without this change. It is possible to create a map of what changes have been made. We could output a list of the old folder names and their new names as part of the import process. This would allow you to know what the links are supposed to be pointing to.

What formats are the files that contain your links? Are they all office documents? If so, are they saved in the XML formats (docx, xlsx, pptx, etc)? The XML formats may allow you to create a script to replace the old locations with the new locations. Not that simple, but not too difficult.
Regards,
-Harlan
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wordmuse
I mainly have links in files created by two sets of programs:
- Freeplane - mindmap program.
- Office programs

If you could provide me with a Rosetta stone that tells what old folder names were changed and what their new folder names are, I think that at least with the Freeplane files, I can do batch search and replace through 30 to 40 at a time and over the course of several days (an hour or so a day), I could update all the links.  I think.

I have another alternative idea that might be easier.

If you could let me set TB9 with the location of TB8 files such that anytime I called those files from TB9 it launched TB8, then I wouldn't have to bother with the import. TB8 would handle what would become legacy files and on a case by case basis, I could decide if I wanted a legacy file to be part of the new TB9 system.

If you could provide both methods, that would enable me to try both and I'd feel a lot better about upgrading to TB9 when it's ready.

Thanks for the explanation.
- Bal
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Harlan
Unfortunately there's no way to have TB9 open TB8 and that would take a very long time to develop.

I did a quick search and it seems there are many tools available to do bulk search and replace inside of office files. https://www.google.com/webhp?ie=UTF-8#q=search%20and%20replace%20inside%20office%20files

Some of them even allow you to replace multiple terms at a time, in multiple documents. (For example: http://www.editorium.com/14843.htm) I haven't tried any of these, but it seems like it might be possible do a search and replace for every change at once if you find the right tool.
Regards,
-Harlan
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wordmuse
I'll have to check out the tools. And I'll also start exploring how to turn my current work into a legacy archive. No ideal, and I'm not sure it's doable, but I'll check it out.

Thanks for the suggestions,
- Bal
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wordmuse
Just a reminder on what we discussed above. If I'm going to do the search and replace, I'll need that output Rosetta stone. Otherwise, the best search and replace tool in the world is not enough to get this problem handled.
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mcaton
The "Rosetta Stone" feature has been documented for further review.  

Thank you,
Matt
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Harlan
This feature has been implemented in 9.0.137.
  • After an import from is completed, inside the Brain folder (one level above a thought folder), there are now two files, GuidMapThoughts.txt and GuidMapLinks.txt. These files contain one line per thought/link which has on it the version 8 Guid followed by the new Guid separated by a comma.
Regards,
-Harlan
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wordmuse
Cool - I'll check it out.  Thanks.

- Bal
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wordmuse
I've been trying to make this work but the links between attachments are just too many and complex, crossing directories that have all had their names changed. 

I'd specifically linked attachments with relative links so that I could change computers, move a brain wholesale from one location to another and have the between attachment links be maintained.  

With TB9 changing the names of the directories, the task of redoing the links is massive.

I have one more request and then I'll let this topic drop and accept that either I have to abandon keeping my TB8 database current (rendering it legacy before its time) or not upgrade to TB9.

The request is this, and I acknowledge, as always, that I have no idea how hard it would be to meet this request.

Could there be an option during the import process to keep folder names? If this results in a hit on performance, that could be acceptable, depending on how big a hit.

I'd love to upgrade. I'm wondering if I'm the only user who has internal links between attachments.  If so, then my preference/need is of no business consequence. But if there were several to a lot of folks facing this, maybe it would be worth considering?

Thanks for your time. I get that I don't always get what I want.

- Bal
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mcaton
Bal,

It never hurts to ask!  I'll document your request and we'll see what the options are.  

As Harlan mentioned earlier, "it is not possible to import without the folders being renamed, it is an integral part of how v9 works."  - but again, I'll double check on our options...

Thank you,
Matt
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wordmuse
The last thing I want to be is a pest. But the need is real, so I have to ask. [smile]

I appreciate you guys bearing with me on this.

- Bal
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