10 Replies Latest reply on Oct 11, 2011 8:28 AM by TSGal

    Objects in Container fields disappearing

    comajama

      Summary

      Objects in Container fields disappearing

      Description of the issue

      Here's my issue. I have a container field set in the same table as the personnel that I am tracking. My users use it to store an authorization letter. Every 2 or 3 months, the data in container fields will just disappear. It's not happening with all of the records, but the number is still significant. I have checked and made sure that they are storing the file inside of FileMaker and not just creating a reference since the first time this happened. Well it happened again and once again they are having to spend a day or two going through and reinserting the letters. The letters are usually PDF's and they use "Insert Object" > "Create from File" then they insert their file. The reason for this is that they enjoy the ability to see the thumbnail image, double-click it and have it open automatically. Before, they were using "Insert File" which created a PDF icon in the middle of the container field and they had to export it to the desktop, then open it to view. Both ways have returned the same issue given time. My question is more to the developers of the FileMaker Software. Is there a property of the container field in Filemaker 9 and 10 that would cause loss of data to happen? Some kind of a timed function possibly? Is there something I am missing here that maybe you could direct me toward?

        • 1. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
          philmodjunk
            

          One thing you might try is checking your file for possible damage (corruption).

           

          Take a copy of your file and recover it. If the recover process reports back that it found and fixed some problems, replace your file with an undamaged backup copy, importing any new data as needed from your recovered file.

           

          Don't ever put a recovered file back into use if you have any possible alternative.

          • 2. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
            TSGal

            comajama:

             

            Thank you for your post, and I apologize for the late reply.

             

            No, there is no "timed function" attached to a Container field.  If you inserted the image as a reference, and then moved the original image, FileMaker will have lost the reference.  The only other possibility is the file is corrupt, and "PhilModJunk" has provided a solution (Thank you!).

             

            TSGal

            FileMaker, Inc. 

            • 3. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
              davidharriskyw

              I experienced the same issue.  We store PDF's in a container field.  One container field per record.  Suddenly we noticed that every single container field was empty.  The contents were not references, they were the actual PDF's, but they vanished without a trace.  We have a week's worth of backups, but found that the entire week of backups had the same issue.   No one can tell me what caused this. 

              • 4. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
                philmodjunk

                Suddenly we noticed that every single container field was empty

                 

                We have a week's worth of backups, but found that the entire week of backups had the same issue. 

                 

                Unless you managed to use the database for an entire week without noticing the missing PDF's, it sounds like you have stored the PDF's in the container fields by reference and the drive or directory holding the actual PDF files is no longer mounted/shared so that FIlemaker can find the files. That would explain how this happened "suddenly" yet backups a week old show the same problem.

                 

                PS. we save 21 - 28 days worth of backups and add one such back up file to an Archive directory every month so we can better recover from any long term undiscovered problems.

                • 5. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
                  davidharriskyw

                  PhilModJunk wrote:

                  Suddenly we noticed that every single container field was empty

                   

                  We have a week's worth of backups, but found that the entire week of backups had the same issue. 

                   

                  Unless you managed to use the database for an entire week without noticing the missing PDF's, it sounds like you have stored the PDF's in the container fields by reference and the drive or directory holding the actual PDF files is no longer mounted/shared so that FIlemaker can find the files. That would explain how this happened "suddenly" yet backups a week old show the same problem.

                   

                  PS. we save 21 - 28 days worth of backups and add one such back up file to an Archive directory every month so we can better recover from any long term undiscovered problems.


                  We in fact managed to use the database for an entire week without noticing.  The PDF's are not accessed regularly, so there would be no reason to check them.  We may access a specific PDF once a month.  Is dragging and dropping PDF's in a container field storing by reference?  That's how they were stored, as well as by inserting not by reference.  The database resides on an XSERVE server, which is thankfully still running with all its drives.  I use the word suddenly because there was no warning of an issue or problem.

                   

                  Do you experience problems that have required you to make use of 21-28 days worth of backups?

                   

                  David


                  • 6. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
                    philmodjunk

                    Dragging and dropping files into a container field stores them as an object rather than as a file. That's definitely not storing by reference but it will give you different behavior and appearance from using Insert File.

                     

                    I'd definitely take one of your back up copies and run a recover on it and see what happens.

                     

                    I've never had to use backups more than a month old since we started doing this over a year ago, but I have encountered problems with other systems or had situations where we wanted to work with a much older copy of a filemaker file and couldn't because we hadn't done this.

                     

                    It doesn't require any file corruption to occur to need such a comprehensive back ups system either. Consider this scenario:

                     

                    A user deletes the address of a contact on January 1 and no one notices until February 1.... With only a week of back ups, you have no way to get this address back from your back up system.

                     

                    File corruption can be hidden. The damage may occur much earlier than the event that enables you to determine you have a problem due to a crash or part of the system failing to work as it should (or a field shows up empty :smileywink: )

                    • 7. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
                      davidharriskyw

                      I ran a Recover on one of the backup files.  The backup file did not have the container field contents, but all other fields were good.  After the Recover, no problems were reported.  I opened the Recovered file, and the container field contents were missing in each record.  I tried a few minutes ago.

                      • 8. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
                        philmodjunk

                        There are ways data can "mysteriously disappear".

                         

                        Some things you can investigate:

                         

                        I assume the fields are empty while the records that containe these fields still exist. If there is any chance that the records themselves have been deleted, you may have deleted records in a related table and a cascading delete may have deleted the records containing your container fields. This happens if "Delete records in this table..." has been enabled in Manage | Database | Relationships on a relationship that links to a table occurrence of your container field table. (You can have multiple table occurrences of the same table, so you have to check all such table occurrences if this scenario is possible.)

                         

                        Do you have any scripts that perform a replace field contents type operation? Or loops through records modifying a field? Or uses a Delete All Records step? Any chance this script was run in such a way it inadvertantly modified the contents of your container fields? One way this disaster occurs is if you have a script that does this after a Go To Related records step. If your script uses GTRR to bring up a set of related records and doesn't either check for the presence of related records or checks for an error code afterwards and there are no related records, your script might proceed to perform such operations on the completely wrong table and set of records without any warning message that it has done so.

                         

                        Any chance of user sabotage? That's not something we like to contemplate but a disgruntled employee with sufficient access privileges could have  used something like replace field contents to deliberately blow away this data.

                         

                        None of this will bring back your missing data, but it might suggest to you a way it might have happened in the first place.

                        • 9. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
                          ChalesLakes

                          Looks like old thread that no one has added to, since last summer. And, since NONE of the other posts were helpful in resolving this issue for me, I thought I would post what turned out to be the problem & solution for me, in terms of IMAGES DISAPPEARING IN CONTAINER FIELDS:

                          I have a database that contains a bunch of numbers in regular data fields and "column header images" stored in container fields. I noticed that every time I would close and reopen the database, the IMAGES would be GONE! After reinserting a couple of times, I realized there was something going on. I noticed that I DID NOT have this issue with any other container fields and their images. After reviewing several posts (none of which were helpful), I decided to try a couple of things, because I knew the container fields in question had been set up differently from all of the other container fields that had images.

                          Specifically, because it was appropriate for these images, I had set these container fields to be "GLOBAL".

                          Turns out that was the problem. Don't understand why. And now this means that I will have to handle this part of the solution differently, if I cannot use a global container field!

                          For me, this was the solution:

                          I changed one of the fields to "non-global" and re-inserted images again.

                          When I close and re-opened database, ALL IMAGES WERE GONE AGAIN, EXCEPT THE ONE THAT WAS *NOT* STORED IN A GLOBAL FIELD.

                          I had no idea FMP handled images in this fashion in a global field. Still don't understand totally; but this definitely seems to have fixed the problem for meI

                          • 10. Re: Objects in Container fields disappearing
                            TSGal

                            Chales Lakes:

                            Thank you for your post.

                            If you insert an image into a Container field that is set for Global storage, then that same image will appear in every record.  The only exception would be if the database file was hosted elsewhere and you accessed the file as a guest, as the global entry would be set by the host, and the guest access would only be temporary.  That is, when you close the file and reopen, the field would revert to the hosted image.  If the host does not have an entry in the Container field, then nothing will appear.

                            If you have a Container field that is not set to global storage, then you will be able to insert images into separate records, and if you don't select the option to store as reference, the contents will be stored in the database file itself.

                            Let me know if you need additional clarification.

                            TSGal
                            FileMaker, Inc.