Sente 6.7.9 for OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), Available

[UPDATED: 2015-12-19: Official release of Sente 6.7.9 is out.]

We have been working on updating Sente for compatibility with OS X 10.11, otherwise known as El Capitan. This release will be Sente 6.7.9.  We are making pre-releases available for people who have already updated to one of the preview releases of El Capitan (6.7.8 does not run on the new version of OS X) and for anyone who wants to help us test on any OS X version.

All releases of Sente 6.7.9 are fully sync-compatible with earlier releases of Sente 6.7, so you can install a 6.7.9 pre-release on one machine while still running Sente 6.7.8 or earlier on another.

Please read the release notes below before installing one of these pre-releases.

Release Notes

2015-12-19: Official release of Sente 6.7.9

2015-09-23: Pre-release 3

Corrects a few small issues identified in testing.

2015-09-19: Pre-release 2

This pre-releases addresses a crash when installing libraries from the server, along with a number of smaller issues.

2015-09-17: Pre-release 1

This is the first publicly available pre-release of Sente for El Capitan.  While a lot of effort has gone into upgrading the app to work with the latest version of OS X, we are still relatively early in the testing, so we do not recommend this pre-release for regular use.  (Of course, if you are running a pre-release of El Capitan, you cannot run Sente 6.7.8 anyway, so I guess there is no harm in installing the pre-release.  The point is that we are opening this up for help with testing; do not expect this release to be stable yet.)

This release has NOT been tested on earlier releases of OS X, so if you are not running El Capitan, but would like to help, you can download this version and try it on your system.  We recommend that you do not overwrite your existing copy of Sente 6.7.8 with this pre-release, but keep both versions around while you test.  (Should you inadvertently delete your copy of 6.7.8, you can always re-download from our site, of course.)

Scheduled Server Maintenance

There will be a few brief sync outages over the next 48 hours.  If everything goes well, each will be less than 10 minutes in length and there should be just a few.  If any particular outage stretches on longer than expected, we will post an update here.

Sync Server Issues [Resolved]

[UPDATE: 6 Feb 2015, 2:30 PM Denver:  The hardware issues have been resolved and the servers were brought back on-line about two hours ago.  Everything seems to have caught up without problem and sync has been stable.  Sorry for the downtime; we are glad to be back up.]

As most of you will know, the sync servers have been down for just over 24 hours.  We are working to get everything back online, but I wanted to let you know a bit about what is happening.

Just before midnight on February 3 (Denver time), one of the disks in the storage array where we store attachments failed.  Because this is a RAID array, the system immediately began switching to one of the "hot spare" disks that were available.  Unfortunately, that new disk also failed before it could even be brought online.  The system then switched to the second hot spare, which worked.  

Unfortunately, the process of bringing a hot spare fully online takes time (a lot of data needs to be recreated and stored on the new disk).  During this time, performance suffers significantly, so people started seeing sync errors.

In addition, because two disks failed in one RAID array, the integrity of the entire array is in jeopardy until the restoration process is complete.  This, coupled with the severe performance hit during restoration, is why we took sync offline.  We want to let the array recover fully before we put it under load again.

You should also know that there are several more layers of redundancy in our system, so the actual data is not at risk.  But if we have to switch to one of the backups, it is likely to take even longer to get back online.

So, we apologize for the obvious inconvenience.  We are hoping the recovery process will complete soon, but the tools do not report progress in any meaningful way, so we are a bit in the dark.

As soon as the RAID array has recovered, we will perform some internal tests and bring everything back online.


Sente on Yosemite

As most of your know, Apple will soon release the next major update to OS X, Yosemite -- otherwise known as OS X 10.10.

We have been testing Sente against the preview releases of Yosemite and have made a number of fixes that were required to run properly on the new version of the OS.   We have prepared an update to Sente that includes these modifications and we are making it available to anyone who wants to give it a try.

This new release of Sente is compatible with OS X 10.8, 10.9 and 10.10, so anyone who is currently running Sente 6.7 should be able to download this build and use it as normal, including anyone running the most recent pre-releases of Yosemite.

If you would like to give it a try, please download the app here:

You can switch back and forth between this release and the current official release of Sente (6.7.7).  And if you switch to this new release, you will be automatically notified about official updates as normal.

If you decide to use this new release, please let us know if you encounter any unexpected problems and we will investigate.  (And if you use it for a while and do NOT encounter any significant issues, please let us know that as well -- it is just as important to know that it is working as expected as it is to know about problems.)

This new release also contains a number of other bug fixes and enhancements, but no major new features.  We are working on new stuff, but this release is all about working well on Yosemite.


Sync 1 is Going Away, Really!

I wrote back in February 2014 that the old sync technology (sync1) would be taken out of service sometime after June 1, 2014.  It is now after June 1, and we are close to pulling the plug.

If you are still running Sente 6.5 or earlier, and you use synchronized libraries, you must upgrade to Sente 6.7 (or at least 6.6) immediately, or your libraries will soon stop syncing.  (These old versions of the app will still function, except for sync.)

The exact date that sync1 will go away is not yet clear, but it could be any day now, so please upgrade immediately!  Once sync1 is gone, it will not come back.


Sente for iOS 6.8 released for iPhone and iPad

We are very pleased to announce that Sente for iOS 6.8 is now available in the app store.  (Depending on your location, the new version may not appear for a few hours; look for the new app icon.)

This version of Sente has a completely new user interface, designed from the ground up for iOS 7, and it is the first version of Sente that runs on both iPhones and iPads.

Sente for iOS is free at the app store.  If you already have a Sente account, just log in using your account email address and password and you will be able to install your libraries from the Sente servers.  (If you are already running Sente for iPad, when you upgrade, your data will still be on your iPad, so you can just launch the app.)

Sente for iOS 6.8 requires iOS 7.x.

And, as always, please consider writing a review for the app store.  If you use the app store very much, you know how important these reviews are to people trying to decide whether to try an app.  

New Sente for iOS: Targeted Browsing

We have made some significant changes the interface for targeted browsing in the upcoming version of Sente for iOS.  The goal of these changes has been to streamline the reference acquisition process.


The embedded web browser no longer inserts target icons into supported web pages.  There are a few reasons for this.  One is that web site designers have been making changes that make this process more difficult in recent years.  Two, zooming in to tap on the tiny targets on a device like the iPhone is just not a great interface.

Instead, when Sente detects a reference on a page, the target icon in the screen header is activated.  Tapping on that icon will cause Sente to download the reference.

Related to this change, the new version of Sente for iOS does not support obtaining references directly from search results pages.  Instead, you will tap on each result to navigate to the page for a desired reference and tap on the target on that page.  This has a number of advantages (like improved performance and cleaner UI) and (somewhat counterintuitively) in most cases it actually reduces the number of taps required to obtain a reference.

Acquiring a PDF is also a bit streamlined.  When you tap on the link to a PDF, the file is downloaded and you are giving the option of attaching it to either the "current" reference (e.g., the reference you just added using targeted browsing) or a new, blank reference.  The browser then returns to the previous web page.


We are in the process of updating our reference detection code to handle the mobile variations of the pages that many web sites provide.  We will have many of the most important updated in time for the first release of the new app, but perhaps not all.  

We will be very interested in hearing about how well the new approach to targeted browsing works for people in practice.  If we can address any concerns that might arise in early use, we are likely to convert to the new approach on desktop as well at some point in the future.

New Sente for iOS: QuickTags

We really wanted to improve the interface for browsing and editing QuickTags on references in Sente because this is so critical to the efficient use of Sente.  

In the upcoming release, when you first select the Tags tab in the iOS reference editor, you see a list of all tags that have been previously assigned to the reference.  Quicktags include the "path" information from the QuickTag palette.  (Ad hoc tags do not include the path information.)


If you tap on the Add / Edit button, you are presented with the QuickTag palette.


Tapping on any row in the palette, anywhere other than on the checkbox, will cause the row to expand or collapse if it has child nodes.


To add or remove a tag, just tap on the checkbox.

When you navigate back to the tag list screen, you will see the results of the edits.

New Sente for iOS: Reference Editor

As we approach the release of the new Sente for iOS, with support for both iPad and iPhone, I will be sharing some glimpses into the design of the new app here.  We welcome your feedback.

As I have mentioned in my earlier post, the entire user interface has been rewritten from the ground up including, of course, the single reference view.  

Here is a shot of the main reference editor view.  You will notice that it bears a strong resemblance to the reference editor in Sente for Mac.

photo 1.PNG
You can change the reference status or rating by simply tapping on the existing value and selecting a new value from the menu that will appear.

Just like on the desktop, there are several "tabs" across the top of the editor.  Here they are Reference, Notes, Tags and Files.  Just tap on the label to switch to a different tab.

The configuration of the Reference tab matches the configuration on desktop Sente, including any customizations that you might make on desktop.  

Editing the attributes of a reference is (as on desktop) done by tapping on the Edit label.  When you do this, the editor switched to Edit Mode and each field has a disclosure indicator at the right edge of the display.  Tapping on any field takes you to a screen where that field can be edited.

The Notes tab shows you a summary of all of the notes you have taken on the reference.  Tap on an individual note to get to the note editor for that note.

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The Tags tab shows a list of all QuickTags that have been assigned to this reference, including the "path" to the assigned tag.

photo 3.PNG

The Files tab shows all files attached to this reference (e.g., PDFs and other files), plus a list of Autolinks for this reference.

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Tapping on an entry in the list of files will download the file (if it is not present on the local device), open the file in the embedded PDF viewer (if it is a PDF that has already been downloaded), or open it in an external application (if it not a PDF).  I will say more about the PDF editor in a future post.

Below the list of attachments is the list of Autolinks for this reference.  Tapping on one opens the embedded web browser with the appropriate URL.  This is the same list of links that appeared as Related Web Pages in the old iPad app.

New Blog Series on Digital Academic Workflows

The first two posts in a new blog series on digital academic workflows for Mac and iPads have been posted by Francis Hittinger of Columbia University.  Highly recommended:

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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