I usually work by using a laptop, but technically write code, run a development web server, etc. on another host by connecting to it via SSH. With lovely Vim and tmux, I can easily do bigger percentage of my work in a terminal emulator.

Sometimes I get some work that related to handling some specific files. It can be done by using some specific desktop applications. After handling those files I have to put them into source of a project I am working on and this project on the remote host. It means that I should provide some way to transfer data between my laptop and the remote host. Good idea to synchronize a directory between the hosts. We can do it with rsync.

I use rsync of version 3.1.2 in this post:

bogdanvlviv@laptop:~$ rsync --version
rsync  version 3.1.2  protocol version 31
Copyright (C) 1996-2015 by Andrew Tridgell, Wayne Davison, and others.
Web site: http://rsync.samba.org/
    64-bit files, 64-bit inums, 64-bit timestamps, 64-bit long ints,
    socketpairs, hardlinks, symlinks, IPv6, batchfiles, inplace,
    append, ACLs, xattrs, iconv, symtimes, prealloc

rsync comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.  This is free software, and you
are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions.  See the GNU
General Public Licence for details.

Let’s get started!

Go to the remote host:


and choose a directory you would like to synchronize with the laptop:

bogdan@server:~$ mkdir synced-data

then choose a directory on the laptop that will mirror the directory on the remote server:

bogdanvlviv@laptop:~$ mkdir synced-data

Create sync_data.sh file on the laptop:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

rsync --verbose -e "ssh -p 22" --recursive --update --times --archive --compress bogdan@server:/home/bogdan/synced-data/ /home/bogdanvlviv/synced-data
rsync --verbose -e "ssh -p 22" --recursive --update --times --archive --compress /home/bogdanvlviv/synced-data/ bogdan@server:/home/bogdan/synced-data

NOTE: You have to change ssh port, username and server name to your own to make it work!

NOTE: You can read about rsync options via man rsync.

To keep the directory synchronized between the hosts we should execute this file with some interval. You can use watch to achieve this, for instance, the next command will execute this file every 3 seconds:

bogdanvlviv@laptop:~$ watch --interval 3 "bash sync_data.sh"

While the command watch --interval 3 "bash sync_data.sh" is running, the directory is being synchronized.

NOTE: You can read about watch options via man watch.

To check that all is working well, we can go to the remote server and create a new file in the directory we are synchronizing:

bogdan@server:~$ touch synced-data/new_file.md

then go to the synchronized directory on the laptop and to check that the new_file.md file is there:

bogdanvlviv@laptop:~$ ls synced-data/

write something to that file:

bogdanvlviv@laptop:~$ echo "rsync is powerful!" > synced-data/new_file.md

and check the file on the server:

bogdan@server:~$ cat synced-data/new_file.md
rsync is powerful!

That is it!