Company trying to get rid of multiple sync engines
Microsoft drew the ire of many Windows 10 Technical Preview testers when Build 9879, which was released in November, was found to be missing a key OneDrive functionality: “smart files”, which are offline placeholders containing thumbnails and metadata of OneDrive files. At the time, the company said the feature had been withdrawn in response to consumer feedback and some key parts of placeholders could return once it was done making “fundamental improvements to how Sync works.” A few days back, the company outlined its OneDrive improvement plans much more clearly.
“Prior to Windows 8.1, we had two sync experiences. One used on Windows 7/8/Mac to connect to the consumer service, and a second sync engine to connect to the commercial service (OneDrive for Business). In Windows 8.1 we introduced a third sync engine that supported placeholder files, an innovative capability that lets you access all the files you have stored in OneDrive whilst only using a fraction of the local storage space,” wrote, corporate vp for OneDrive and Sharepoint, Chris Jones in a recent blog post.
According to Jones, the company felt it necessary to “step back and rethink our approach” once it realized that there are many people out there — particularly those that use both the commercial and consumer versions of OneDrive — who find placeholders confusing. To make matters worse, the company also found “certain file operations (including copy, move, and delete) had a higher degree of failure when placeholders were utilized.”
“It was clear that the right approach was to converge to a single sync engine and experience that would be able to provide all of the benefits of the consumer and business service to all customers faster,” Jones wrote, adding that the said convergence is already taking place and Windows 10 Technical Preview, which no longer has a separate engine for placeholders, is at the forefront of this effort.
“There are important capabilities that we need to bring to Windows 10 – some will make it into the first release – including shared folders and support for the consumer and business service. However, others will come in updates that follow later in the calendar year – most notably the core capabilities of placeholders that are both reliable and comprehensible.
“For those of you in the Windows Insider Program and running the Windows 10 Technical Preview, thanks for bearing with us as we make these changes and be assured that we have a clear roadmap to bring the best experience we can to you between now and the end of the year.”
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