11 Replies Latest reply on Jul 2, 2012 5:43 AM by kmcgaff

    Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?

    kmcgaff

      Title

      Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?

      Post

      Our office shares many databases that we use for event tracking.  Each database is an entity in and of itself.  We run into issues when two people are working on the same event and are trying to access the data simultaneously.  Is there a way to have two people working in the same database at the same time?  

      I've tried searches in the FileMaker Pro Help menu, but I must not be phrasing the question in a way that the manual understands.

        • 1. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
          philmodjunk

          I think you are confusing two concepts: You can have many people using the same FileMaker database system at the same time. Here where I work, we routinely have around 10 users all accessing and using the same database system hosted by FileMaker server and all at the same time.

          BUT, FileMaker permits only one person to edit a specific record in a given table at one time. This is to prevent confusion that would take place otherwise. Imagine editing a record only to see all your changes disappear when it turns out that another user edited the same record at the same time, but committed (saved) their changes a split second after you did--overwriting your data with their's.

          You'll need to take a careful look at the situation where two or more users are "working on the same event" to see what changes can be made to keep such "edit locks" from being an issue. (or at least minimize them.)

          • 2. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
            kmcgaff

            That's probably the reason I cannot find the information in the help documentation!  :)

            We would like to be able to have multiple people access a database simultaneously.  Typically, only one person is entering or editing information while others will be using it for reference.  I agree that we wouldn't want two people editing the same record at once.  That could get quite messy.

            Where we run in to problems, is one person will open a database to refer to information, and then get called away from their computer.  They'll leave the database open and nobody else in the office will be able to access any of the information.  

            We will most likely experience in the future an influx of information for an event, and will have multiple people entering records simultaneously - but not the same ones.  

            (I'm not asking too much, am I?) 

            • 3. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
              philmodjunk

              We would like to be able to have multiple people access a database simultaneously.

              I realize that I'm being "picky", but picky details are vital in computer technology. You CAN have multiple people access a database simultaneously.

              Your database should permit multiple users to view the same record at the same time and edit multiple, but different records at the same time in the same table on the same layout. Our users do that here all the time and given the "high volume" server everyone quickly POS type system I've set up for them, they'd be in big trouble if they couldn't.

              Some action on the part of the "view only" users is opening the record for editing. Perhaps there's a drop down or other value list formatted field that they use to find the records that they want to view and since choosing a value in the field opens it for editing, they find they can't do this if another user has the same record open for editing. It may be that such a field needs to be defined as a global field or even a field in a different table from your table of events to prevent the edit lock

              That's what I meant by needing to analyze your design to figure out what is causing the edit locks and to then determine a fix for eliminating them when no actual editing of the record is taking place.

              • 4. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                davidanders

                Your database is stored on a computer, yours or a server.

                When you open the database, how do you find it? Where is it located?

                Are you on Windows or Mac?

                Windows - if you have a network drive G: and open the database, no one else can open it.

                If you open the database and have sharing turned on in Filemaker, nine other people can open the database, using the Open Remote in the File Menu.
                If you close the database, Filemaker will tell you there are others using it and offer to ask them to close the database.

                How do I share my databases on a network?
                http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6095/kw/database%20sharing

                How to connect to a FileMaker hosted Database
                http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6422/kw/database%20sharing

                • 5. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                  kmcgaff

                  Yesterday I sat down at my computer to work on entering data.  I couldn't open the database at all.  An error message popped up saying that another user had it open.  

                  I don't know what mode the database was in - and wonder if that could be the problem?  

                  So, are databases set to automatically allow multiple users in at once?  She wasn't actively editing any records (she wasn't even at her computer) but if she were in layout mode, would that have locked me out?

                  All of our old FileMaker databases (created in FileMaker 6) allowed only one person to be in the database at once.  I don't know if that was a setting imposed on the database, or something that you can change with the click of a button.  My reference materials don't speak the same language as I do, I suppose.  :)

                  • 6. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                    philmodjunk

                    See the links in David's post for how to share a database over the network and how to safely access that shared database.

                    • 7. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                      Sorbsbuster

                      And when you open it as suggested you should also find that users can browse the records that other users are editing.  So the only lock is simultaneous editing of the same record.

                      • 8. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                        kmcgaff

                        Is there a setting that I can change to allow simultaneous browsing?  They're all defaulting to single-user.

                        We don't have sufficient access to open a remote database, and I doubt that the IT department will allow us all to gain that access.  We would like to be able to open it from the same location.  (We already have a shared drive with a shared folder hirearchy.  The database is housed in one of these folders.)

                        If that makes sense.  :)

                        • 9. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                          philmodjunk

                          We already have a shared drive with a shared folder hirearchy.  The database is housed in one of these folders.

                          Remove all your database files from that shared folder as quickly as possible. Accessing FileMaker database files in a shared directory can damage the files--which can lead to any number of problems with your database files.

                          You need to host the files with either FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server. You open the files with that product and then others select open remote from the file menu, or click a "remote" button in a dialog to access the database files.

                          If you use FileMaker Pro, you can have up to 9 people accessing the database file at the same time. With server it can be many more, plus a number of value added features that make managing a hosted database easier such as automatic backups of your files while they are open.

                          If you use FileMaker Pro to host the files, install it on the server where the files are located. Launch FileMaker and use Sharing | FileMaker Network... to turn sharing on.

                          With either option, use Open sharing | fileMaker Network while the file is open, select the file where you see it listed and select the "all users" option for it.

                          • 10. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                            JimMac

                            I normally only chime in when I shared or share similar problems.  Phil is by far the best solutions guy I have encountered.

                            First.....

                            Sharing a database for multiple users is NOT sharing a photo or a .pdf file or sharing a folder, etc.  It shares a common network path or port reserved for Filemaker communication traffic.

                            The shared database must be on a HOST (common name) computer and all users on separate computers are CLIENTS.  The HOST  "serves up" database use to the CLIENTS.  The HOST should be on your LAN or network and I recommend if you are using the 10 client or less option, the HOST should be the fastest to be able to SERVE multiple CLIENTS.  David's links are key.

                            Second....

                            For testing and understanding complications described by the above helpers, create a test database, something easy and simple with a few sample records. Set that database and your computer as HOST.

                            Then let a couple of people act like CLIENTS.  Test and learn!!! By the way you can still be a CLIENT on the Filemaker network, even though your computer is the HOST, but you must "Open Remote..." instead of direct "Open.."

                            Third...

                            After you become comfortable with what is happening, passwords, restrictions, protections of file.... then advance with caution on your exixting backed up database.

                            Jim....

                            • 11. Re: Is it possible to have multiple users in one database at the same time?
                              kmcgaff

                              Thanks everybody!

                              Now it's time for a heart to heart with the Tech Department about some solutions.  :)