What you are looking for is an 'external datasource'. You can set these up through 'File -> Manage -> External Datasource', or you can do it from the 'Manage Database' UI ('File -> Manage -> Database').
If you use the External Datasource screen, click 'New'; give this new datasource a name, then choose 'Filemaker File' as the type. In the box below that you have to specify where this other file is located. You can click 'Add File', or just type in the path. If this is to be hosted on FMServer then you don't have to provide a path, just enter the file name.
With that done, then this file will show up under 'Manage Database' as an option of where to create new table occurrences from, by clicking the little icon in the lower left corner of the screen. I attached a screenshot. This shot also shows you the option from the pop-up menu where you can create a new datasource from within the Manage Database screen.
Wonderful, thank you. This makes me think:
- I do not have "Filemaker Server"as a specific program, I do have a server although. Is it possible with my single program to place a file on the server, so that different people can work in ii at the samen time?
If you put a FileMaker file in a shared directory and allow different people to open the file directly, you risk damaging the file. The file must be hosted from a copy of either FileMaker Server or FileMaker Pro, then other users with FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Go can connect to the hosted database using "open remote".
Up to four other users can connect to a file Hosted by FileMaker Pro at the same time. For more concurrent users, you would need server--this is something you can purchase or you can contract with a FileMaker hosting service to make user of their copy of FileMaker Server to host the file.
One caveat to trying to acquire FMServer, or getting a hosted solution, if you don't already have it: you probably won't be able to purchase FM 11 Server anymore. And FM 12 and above use a new file format, so you would have to convert your file to the newer format. Then your users who have the FM11 client software would have to update to the newer version as well...
As Phil noted, you can 'host' a FileMaker database from the vanilla FileMaker client. That can have it's own pitfalls though: there first client to open the database would become the host, and others would need to know the IP address of that computer - I would guess that this computer wouldn't have a friendly domain name, so you would need to find that IP each time it was opened. And then this 'host' would have to remain turned on with the file opened up for as long as anyone was connected. If the file were closed then it would disconnect any other users.
It isn't all that scary, really, but you just have to know the nuances of how to host with the plain FileMaker client. If you can afford FMServer software, it really is the best way to go. But as noted, you might have to upgrade all your clients and the file to a new version of FM.
there first client to open the database would become the host, and others would need to know the IP address of that computer -
This is not the case. The first client (of the four) should also use Open Remote to access the database and when you use Open Remote, you will see the name of the host and the "visible" hosted files on it that you can then select and open. There will be no need for individual users to know the IP address. FileMaker should be installed on the computer where you locate the database file and it should be used to open the file. The directory where you put it should not, for safety and security reasons be a shared directory.
Well, I think that is mostly what I said, just worded slightly differently. It's my understanding that for the file to be visible under 'Open Remote' it first has to be opened, either by Pro (aka the client) or by Server. Your first post said
The file must be hosted from a copy of either FileMaker Server or FileMaker Pro, then other users with FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Go can connect to the hosted database using "open remote".
... which is essentially (using different words) what I thought I said with 'first client to open the file becomes the host'. I guess I understood your statement to mean that there would be a copy of the client on the server, and it is that client that would be opening the file. Once that client has opened the file, then the other clients can use 'Open Remote' to connect to it - once they know the IP ... OR, if you did install Bonjour along with FM Client, then that host might show up on your list of 'Local Hosts'. (Does Bonjour work if you are on different subnets, though?) But if you don't have Bonjour installed, then you need an IP address or FQDN to connect to the 'host' for that file.
Is there a different nuance that I missed?
There are significant details different.
But no user should be the "First to open the file". It should already be opened on the server. Each client then is never the host of the file. "Client" is a user opening the database. "Host" is the program serving the database up over the network for others. The host application can be Pro (for a limited number of clients) or Server. You don't want this set up so that user 1 uses their copy of Filemaker to open the file as the host and then all other users connect to them as clients unless user 1 is sitting at the host computer and is very careful what they do with FileMaker.
For a very long time until I finally talked my former boss into changing the set up, we had a few files hosted from FileMaker Pro on a different machine. These files were visible across the LAN without the users needing to know an IP address. They just selected the host machine and then selected a listed file. No, this would probably not work over a subnet, but you didn't mention sub nets and that doesn't make it the case that "Users have to know the IP address" in every situation. This would only be the case IF there was a subnet preventing the much simpler alternative from working.
I'm honestly not trying to be belligerent here, I swear. I'm just trying to understand more fully. :)
I'm not really seeing the difference in the details you mentioned, just different terminology for different aspects of the system and connection. It seems that the major distinction is that there is the file, living on a 'server' (just another machine, say CompA) and that the FMPro Client software (residing on Compa) is used to open that file on that machine (CompA) and then acts as the 'host' of that file for other people (people using machines other than CompA). My initial description wasn't really involving this file being run on the server ( CompA), just that that's where the file itself would live and that some remote machine (CompB) running FMPro Client software (running on CompB) would be opening it. The other people (CompC, CompD) would then need to know how to connect to that remote machine (CompB) even though the file was residing on CompA (but it wasn't being hosted by CompA).
Having it live and run one specific machine (CompA) is a better way to do it, as the machine will always be the same (CompA). I'm still not seeing the whole method in the system you describe, though: '...a few files hosted on a different machine...these files were visible across the LAN...they just selected the host machine'. My point of confusion: How were they 'selecting' the host machine in this scenario?
The FileMaker 'Open Remote' dialog (in 11 and up through 14 I believe) only has two options for connecting to an accessible file (that I am aware of): you can type in a path into the "Network path" field (thus requiring a network-recognizable path, e.g. direct IP address or FQDN), or choosing a machine from the lists of 'Favorite' or 'Local' hosts. It doesn't have a 'Browse' function. The lists of 'Favorites' are populated by IP address or FQDN; and the 'Locals' by Bonjour (I think - I am a bit fuzzy about that part). Hence my statement about needing to know the IP address (or FQDN) of a machine, and later mentioning of Bonjour.
I'm not saying that there aren't other capabilities in this dialog box, I am just not aware of them. And I'm not seeing how what you are describing works, how the users selected the host machine. Maybe you can enter in a local 'drive' reference in the 'Network File Path' area if the drive has already been mapped by the OS, e.g. "Z:/files/db.fp7"?