Synchronise storage

If you regularly work with a group of other musicians or you use OpenSong or OpenSongApp for projecting during church services, it often makes sense to create a shared online resource such as a shared Google Drive or a Dropbox folder. You can also set up storage synchronisation to allow you to have multiple devices that all have access to the same songs and sets.

By default, Android, and therefore OpenSongApp will not download content from Google Drive or Dropsync folders, so you will need to use third party apps to help with this.

This allows all users to have an up to date version of songs, sets and other settings saved with the songs.

Using Dropbox / Dropsync

To use this, you will need to create a free Dropbox account that becomes a shared resource. Each member using this shared resource will need access to the Dropbox username and password - use something sensible!

To create a Dropbox account, go to www.dropbox.com and fill in the appropriate details and sign up. Dropbox offers free and business accounts. You get 2Gb storage on the free account - which is more than enough for OpenSong. I strongly recommend also installing the Dropbox desktop software using the link from the Dropbox website. This lets you easily manage songs from your PC as it creates a Dropbox folder on your computer that you can access using your standard file manager. It also saves you having to work via the web browser every time. If you also run the desktop version of OpenSong, you can tell it to use the Dropbox folder as well.

To set up the desktop version of OpenSong (freely available from http://www.opensong.org), run the program and whilst in 'Song Mode' (I'm using version 2.1 on Ubuntu, so it may look different to your version). The desktop application (running on a full PC with keyboard and large screen) makes creating songs from scratch much easier than using the Android app.

Once you have installed the Dropbox desktop software, browse to your Dropbox folder on your computer (it will be in your home folder somewhere). If you haven't used this before, it will be empty. Create a folder in here called OpenSong. This is where all of your shared resources will be stored. I'll show you how to get the app to synchronise with this folder later.

Go to the settings menu and select General settings. Under the File Locations tab you will see where OpenSong currently stores your files (*note where this is if you want to move your current desktop OpenSong files to the Dropbox folder). Click on 'Custom' and browse to the /Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder you have just created then click on 'OK'.

If you already have songs, sets, etc. in your OpenSong desktop program and want to move them to the shared Dropbox folder, use your computer's file manager and copy the entire contents of the default storage location (*noted earlier) into the Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder. This should include the Songs and Sets folders.

I would strongly recommend that you copy this folder rather than moving it - this will be a backup should you need it!

You may have to restart the desktop version of OpenSong for any changes to take effect.

To check everything is working, try creating a simple song on the desktop app and browse to your /Dropbox/OpenSong folder to look for it. It will be inside the /Songs/ subfolder. If all is well, your PC is now set up correctly!

Unfortunately the official Dropbox app for Android is quite limited and doesn't do full synchronisation (this is to avoid running out of storage on your device). However, since OpenSong files are small, we can use a free app called Dropsync to help us. Other apps are available from the Play Store, but I've used this app without issues and can highly recommend it.

This app allows you to sync a selected folder on your device with a folder in your Dropbox account (as Dropbox does by default on the desktop application) and vice-versa.

Download and install the Dropsync app then run it. Log in with the Dropbox account you wish to use (you will need to give it permission). The Dropsync app will take you through the set up process, but make sure you sync with the correct folders:

Online Dropbox folder:

  • OpenSong/

Local Android folder:

  • /storage/****/OpenSong/ (**** varies depending on your device and if you are using internal, external or custom storage, but is often 'emulated/0/').

By syncing these top level folders, the Songs, Sets, Backgrounds, Notes and Slides folders within these are also synchronised.

It is likely that you will want to set it up with full 2 way synchronisation. This means that songs/sets changed on your tablet are updated locally and on Dropbox. Also songs/sets changed or created by others in the Dropbox folder, such as using your PC are automatically downloaded to your device. The default sync schedule with Dropsync is 1 hour, although you can adjust this to suit. You can also manually tell it to sychronise if you know there has been a change.

If you have lots of songs to synchronise, it will take a while. However, future updates or changes are much quicker.

Using Google Drive / Drivesync (aka Autosync)

To use this, you will need to create a free Google account (if you don't already have one) and create an OpenSong folder that becomes a shared resource.

To allow other users to access this folder you will need to share the folder by right clicking on the folder icon in Google Drive and selecting the 'Share' button. Enter the email address of those people who should have access and set their permissions. Use 'Viewer' if you only want them to be able to download your songs, or 'Editor' if you also want them to be able to add or delete songs. These other users will see the shared folder in the 'Shared with me' section of Google Drive. They should right click on this folder and click on the 'Add a shortcut to My Drive' option so they can access it easily from their My Drive.

Google Drive does not download files to your mobile device by default (due to storage space concerns), so we need to install a third party app that will synchronise the correct Google Drive online folder with our offline local storage location for OpenSong.

Download and install the 'Autosync for Google Drive ' app from the Google Play Store, then run it. Connect to your Google account (you will need to give it permission). Other apps are available from the Play Store, but I've used this app without issues and can highly recommend it.

Next click on the 'Choose What to Sync' button.

Select the 'Let me create my own folder pair' option. You will obviously need to grant Autosync for Google Drive permission to access your storage for this to work.

It is likely that you will want to set it up with full 2 way synchronisation. This means that songs/sets changed on your tablet are updated locally and on Google Drive. Also songs/sets changed or created by others in the Google Drive folder, such as using your PC are automatically downloaded to your device.

Set the Remote folder in Google Drive to the '/OpenSong folder your created.

Set the local folder in device to the OpenSongApp storage location you noted earlier (for most it will be /storage/emulated/0/OpenSong)

By syncing these top level folders, the Songs, Sets, Backgrounds, Notes and Slides folders within these are also synchronised.

Make sure the sync method is set to two way (unless sharing with another user who only needs to set their device to the one way download method).

Click on Save and let the app start the synchronisation process.

Set the The default sync schedule with Autosync is 1 hour, although you can adjust this to suit. You can also manually tell it to sychronise if you know there has been a change that hasn't been updated yet.

If you have lots of songs to synchronise, it will take a while on the first run. However, future updates or changes are much quicker..