08 July 2016

How to (not) handle OneDrive/Sharepoint "Sync Now" on Mac OSX

This bugged me for a bit and finally got around (almost) fixing it yesterday, so I thought I'd record it for posterity.

Microsoft Office365 will usually include a Sharepoint implementation of some sort. Sharepoint now integrates with OneDrive (aka "Microsoft Dropbox")... on Windows. On Mac, the current state of play is as follows:
  • You should get the free OneDrive app from Mac App Store. If you have previous beta versions or anything like that (which never worked particularly well), uninstall them before installing this.
  • Once you start and connect OneDrive to your Office365 subscription, your personal files will automatically sync to the OneDrive folder. It seems to work reasonably well.
  • However, files shared by others to you will not sync. The feature is just not implemented yet.
  • If you access Sharepoint or OneDrive from the website and click on the Sync Now button, the website will generate a link that looks like this: grvopen://http-etc-etc and pass it to the browser. By default this grvopen protocol will be associated with OneDrive and do nothing, because (guess what?) the feature is not implemented yet.
  • However, if you have a virtual machine with Windows and Office installed, there is a chance that the link will be passed to the Sharepoint client running on that machine. You probably don't want that: it will likely break things once the feature lands in OneDrive for Mac. So you can follow these instructions for VmWare Fusion to stop it from happening. Make sure to click on Clean Up Applications after deselecting Open your Mac files and web links using Windows applications. (Other virtualization products will have different ways of doing this, check your docs.)
I can see a forced approach where you configure OneDrive in your virtualized Office to use the same folder that OneDrive for Mac is using, but I expect this would bring up all sorts of issues. These sync programs do a lot of dirty tricks with file metadata and I'd rather not risk precious company files. I guess I'll just wait for MS to bring feature parity to OSX, and use the website in the meantime (which is actually slowly improving as well).