3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 3, 2016 10:05 AM by JackRodges

    Share file without using FM Server

    JCrawford

      Title

      Share file without using FM Server

      Post

      For the last few years, I've developed in an environment with FM Server. Now I am developing for a new client (as a contractor) who is just starting to use FileMaker, and is not ready to invest in the Server Software.

      My client would like to deploy a FileMaker file in a shared folder, accessed by just four simultaneous users.

      About 10 years ago (before FM6), I configured a network like this. One computer was the host. It had filemaker installed, and FM was always running. I don't recall the file sharing settings. The other computers in the office also had FM installed, and they were cabled to the host computer. When we opened FileMaker as clients, we navigated to host computer, and multiple clients could simultaneously access the same file. The host computer worked like a server.

      My new client has a shared folder on a host computer, but the host computer does NOT have FileMaker installed. The clients (who had FM istalled) tried to log on simultaneously without success. We tried various settings. Only one person could open the file at a time. If another person tried to open, the action was "denied."

      Unfortunately, I cannot easily test the various settings to find the right settings (if it is possible at all). This is a busy medical office where I am not allowed to log in my own laptop. When I tinker, I must take over two people's computers to test the settings. I'd rather know what I'm doing first than spend a lot of time guessing at it while people wait to get their computers back.

      First, is it still possible to share or serve files without FileMaker server software?

      Second, if it is possible, can you specify the settings for the file, and whether or not the host computer must have FileMaker installed (I assume so).

      Without a good opportunty to test it, my guess is

      Host computer must have FM installed and FM must be running at all times
      File must have active users (at least ADMIN)
      File user must be set for "Access via FileMaker Network"
      Host computer must have FM sharing turned on (not sure about this one).

      With much gratitude.

      Jama

        • 1. Re: Share file without using FM Server
          LaRetta_1
          My client would like to deploy a FileMaker file in a shared folder, accessed by just four simultaneous users.
          Host computer must have FM installed and FM must be running at all times

          Yes, FM can work as its own server.  Host computer should be a server-class box and not any old XP desktop, i.e. Windows 2003, SP3 with plenty of RAM.  The better this box, the less chance of crashing or corruption which can damage your data.  FM must be installed on the box.  The computer that first opens the files will be the "host". It is best to open the files with the same computer every day or leave that computer on. 

          Ideally, nobody should use this box for regular work but if a User needs to, they can use it for ‘light’ work.  If they put a large resource draw on the box, all of your FM Users will suffer because the host box will take priority.

          Do NOT host FileMaker files on a shared network drive.  You will destroy the data if you do.  And do NOT share the folder where these files which would again bring disaster.   Each workstation will then connect using File->Open Remote (or an opener file). When they do so, they should be prompted for an account and password.

          File must have active users (at least ADMIN)
          All files must have at least one full access account.  Other Users should be classed into groups (privilege sets) depending upon their rights.  If you use multiple tables in one file, your administering of privileges will be much simpler.

            File user must be set for "Access via FileMaker Network"
          Yes.  In the Privilege Sets for the Accounts that you want to allow access, be sure that the Extended Privilege called fmapp is checked. This turns on the sharing.

          Host computer must have FM sharing turned on (not sure about this one).

          In the file's Sharing settings, you can turn on Network Sharing and also enable the 'Access via FileMaker Network' extended privilege bit for each privilege set.  Do not share the folder where this file resides.

          A few final comments:

          Do not skimp on purchase of the dedicated server box.  If you can prove the worth six months or a year later, then you can use the same box and install FMS so check the specs on FMI site for server specs.  FMS offers better protection, more Users can connect, there is less chance of crash, data access will be faster AND … you can schedule automatic backups and server-side scheduled scripts.  You know all of this and it may take time for this to all sink in to the Owner.  If their data is important, keep them focused on the importance of this.

          To back up this file (when sharing peer-to-peer), you must close it (be sure everyone is out).  If you back up a live file, you risk corruption.  You can use ‘Save a copy as’ or close all files then zip the set and copy the zip aside.  Do not just copy the set and put it in a different directory; you risk FM finding it if it can’t find the local files.  You will find yourself creating records which don’t ‘create’ and they are being created and modified in the other copy – very bad.

          Read up in the User Guide about peer-to-peer sharing. :^)

          • 2. Re: Share file without using FM Server
            JCrawford

            Thanks so much for you detailed assistance. I will read the peer-to-peer info to better understand the precautions about "shared files" and "shared folders." The way I am using the word "shared" is more akin to "access." These four users have access to the same folder, but they aren't using that folder to exchange documents.

            The inability to back up nightly without shutting down the file is an issue. Thanks for the heads up.

            Excellent feedback - I still have stuff to learn but you've steered me in the right directin.

            • 3. Re: Share file without using FM Server
              JackRodges

              For multiple users to open the same file at once it must be opened by a host. The host can be a computer running FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server. Pro is limited to less than 9 users and FIleMaker Server can host many more users.

               

              A file can be place in a folder anywhere on any computer and opened by any user who can see it. This locks the file to other users since it is not hosted as above.

               

              Open Remote is used for a hosted file with multiple users. Open File is used for a file that is not hosted and locks the file to other user.

               

              Open Remote and Open File provide distinct methods of locating files to open and provides a clue as to whether or not another user can open the file at the same time.