What you will get is a major mess. Drop box flags each file that is opened. If two or more users open the same file, each is given a different copy of the file and the changes each user makes is then saved back to their copy of the file--which means that each file now contains a different copy of the data and none of the copies contains a correct copy of the data.
The only way that I can see this approach working is if all your users are only permitted read only access to the data in the file. Then you conflicted copies will be identical and you can just remove them.
How about making a rule that you must download the file each time it is used and replace it when done modifying? If you deleted the file from dropbox (or renamed)when you downloaded, that should alert the other user(s). My concern is that, while I make every effort to notify the client when I am modifying or working on the database, they are sometimes negligent in keeping up with their emails.
Once again, I know that Server is the ultimate answer, just can't layout that money ATM.
When I am in the database and they go in, it makes one conflicted copy. Once again, I would really like to know, If I immediately drop out and contact them and get them to restart, then would the problem be confined to what they might have entered during the time (brief) that they came on-line? This would work for me presently because I am usually at my desk when I am working on the active database, and I do get a screen notice that changes are happening in dropbox.
I have already prepared them for the sticker shock of buying Server, but it won't happen until we are past the point of creating historical archives, which may be a year down the line.
Thanks again, Phil.
You do not need to use FileMaker Server to host the file if the numbers of simultaneous users are small enough. FileMaker Pro can host the file.
The problem with what you propose is that it is possible for two users to pull the file onto their desktop and delete the file simultaneously. And if the user forgets to put the file back, everyone else can't get to the file and you won't know which user has the file. If they damage or delete that copy...
You are better off not doing development work in the same exact copy of the database that your users are accessing to use. This sets up all kinds of problems that can lead to damaged files and screwed up data when a change you are committing to the database locks all other users (and their scripts) from being able to modify data in that table until the change is committed. (And just opening the specify calculation dialog to look at an auto-enter calculation locks everyone else out of the table until you close the dialog.)
Instead, modify a copy of the file, save a clone of it and then distribute it to the user with a script that pulls all data from their copy into the new version. If you use a Convert to Seperation Model you can distribute at least some updates without having to import data.
Thanks Phil..as a veteran of file management wars, I have a clue about the mess that can happoen when conflicts occur. I was just trying to figure out the parameters of this one.
Do you recommend a separate machine if I am using Filemaker Pro as a host? Do I then need a separate license for that machine?
You might consider using a hosting service most have plans starting at about 20.00 a month
I have a followup question. I know it seems elementary, but I haven't found an answer yet in Knowledge Base or the Forums. I know that my databases work properly on either Mac or PC. But if both platforms are using the file in a properly shared environment, is there any conflict or problem in using both operating systems simultaneously?
And, if you set up an appropriate sharing environment under Filemaker Pro, can the database be modified from the host side of the equation while in use by a client?