3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 8, 2013 4:44 AM by Jade

    Using 4 devices to capture data offline



      Using 4 devices to capture data offline & sync later - best method


           We have:

           - MacBook Pro running FMP Advanced v12
           - 2 iPads with Filemaker Go (wi-fi only)
           - 2 iPhones with Filemaker Go

           We will have just one table with 20 fields, mostly text, some drop-downs, one container for a photo - it is to capture profiles for a child sponsorship program. There are about 3000 children to interview and the idea is to have 4 staff members each with a device.

           We have been using Bento with 2 devices which works well for us, except it is limited to 2 devices and it has taken a long time to get the photos from Bento into the online database. And also the team we are working with are using FMP so it makes sense to be moving to FMP.

           So I am basically trying to recreate our Bento workflow. There is no wifi connectivity at the school & we don't want to risk the laptop going to the school, otherwise we could update the database live via a an ad-hoc network from the mac. So we need an offline solution.

           I have seen the ability to copy the database onto the device (here) but I am assuming that if you are working with more than one device, this method would be difficult to resync all the data, once you have 4 versions of the modified database. I have also seen Mirrorsync (requires FM Server & is expensive) and GoZync (says it can work without Server and has a free version LowZync which can do 1 table, up to 50 fields and up tp 10 devices so this seems a possibility).

           So where I am so far with ideas is:

           1) Break down the school list into 4 and make 4 databases e.g database 1 is Years 1&2 etc. and then each device has it's own database which is copied onto the device and given back when the data entry is complete and does not compete with the other devices. I should note that all the data entry here is only to be passed onto our US team who need to get it into their propietry online database - i.e. it is not important for us to have one functioning database of the school children in FMP.

           2) Keep with one database and use LowZync - I don't know how easy this is to get to work or whether it definitely will work so I'm looking for feedback here. I am new to FMP and don't know scripting etc.

           Any help much appreciated.


        • 1. Re: Using 4 devices to capture data offline & sync later - best method

               As long as each person in your staff is processing different groups and only adding new records, I think you can get by using one main database.  The trick is to create a second solution file for the data entry on the iPads and iPhones.  At the end of each session, you can transfer (email or iTunes) each of these data entry files back to your MacBook Pro and import their contents into the main FMPA 12 database.  Remember to replace the FM Go file on the iPad/iPhone with an empty (clone) copy for the next session.

          • 2. Re: Using 4 devices to capture data offline & sync later - best method

                 Thank you for your reply. I am pretty new to FM - is there any online info on how to set up second solution files?

                 I am thinking though that in our situation - which is to send regular updates to the States which then get processed and put onto an online database - it may be easier to break the school down into say 12 databases, one for each year group, by first making a template of which field types we want, then populating each with the relevant names from the school list we have. Then once interviews and photos are completed for a particular year group, the .fmp12 file for that year can be sent via dropbox (which supports resuming which helps on our connection).

                 The other thing is that I am leaving the project in 4 weeks, and the rest of the team are not as technical as me, so the system needs to be fairly easy to run.

                 If we had just one database and used the second solution files, could the system feasibly be just as easy to run once it was set up. I don't mind if the set up takes a little longer.

                 Many thanks

            • 3. Re: Using 4 devices to capture data offline & sync later - best method

                   The second solution file that I suggested can be as simple as a cloned copy of your existing database.  The important aspect is that it contain no child profile records in your single table.  The staff members would use this to add new child profiles only.  At the end of each session, you or your replacement could transfer the new files to your MacBook Pro and import each file into your main database.

                   Otherwise, you will have to transfer 12 databases to the States instead of 1.  You would also have to manage the 12 files locally to ensure that the right profiles are added to the correct group…so the degree of complication is the same or worse.