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Using FM over a non-permanent Internet connection (one office, several clients)

Question asked by smallfish on Jul 21, 2009
Latest reply on Jul 21, 2009 by mrvodka


Using FM over a non-permanent Internet connection (one office, several clients)


I have used FM6 a few years ago with it's custom web publishing features on an OS X machine and have not worked with FM since version 6 ever after this project and therefore, I need to evaluate if my current project can be accomplished with FM.

My current client has the following setting:
A main office and several dealership locations. The business is car repair. A solution is needed where each dealership location can, on a daily basis, submit it's work, so the main office can collect it and generate a daily, weekly or monthly invoice based on the submitted data.

The data itself is really simple - some list with pre-defined values (e.g. what work has been done) and some text values with explanation. The main problem is the non-permanent internet connection. This means, the dealership locations should be able to fill out the form for each car repaired even if there currently is no internet connection available. A second requirement is, that the dealership locations should only be able to either create a new data set or edit it if it's not older than ~12 hours (exact value has to be estimated over time).

So far I have evaluated the following solutions:
1. FM Pro 10 Advanced - Runtime Maker
A Runtime could be created, installed on each dealership machine and data entered. Does not work because these runtimes lack network functionality at all.

2. FM Pro 10 Instant Web Publishing
As far as I know this solution requires a permanent internet connection.

3. FM Pro 10 Server Advanced Custom Web Publishing
Same problem as with the second solution if I'm not mistaken. Besides, the software itself as well as the work needed to be done is much higher than in 1 and 2 and may exceed the budget of my client.

4. FM Pro 10 installed on each dealership machine and synchronizing from the main office
First problem is that every additional dealership location opened in the future would need an additional FM Pro 10 licence. Besides, the local datases would have to be emailed and imported at the office, which is not automated enough. Additionally, every change on the value lists would need the local installations to be upgraded with the new database, which would be a real problem since the dealership locations are absolute non-technicians.

I thought about Solution #4 with providing a daily or weekly set of databases for the dealership locations, having a single database file for every single day, but it's not an ideal solution to me.

So, is there something I have overlooked? Another approach maybe, or some functionality that is not directly visible from the documentation I have read through so far? Or have I made a mistake on any of the provided solutions?

Or is it generally not possible to achieve this setting without a permanent Internet connection?

Thank you for your time