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    Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"

    bac

      Title

      Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"

      Post

      INTRO TO USING DROPBOX WITH FILEMAKER GO
      IMPORTANT! READ THIS BEFORE PROCEEDING!
       
      It is important to note that  Dropbox is not a syncing solution in the traditional senseHowever, using Dropbox with Filemaker Go can allow you to keep your data the same between devices (the end goal of a true syncing solution). In essence what happens in this scenario is you will be creating MULTIPLE COPIES of your file and storing a COPY on each of your devices.  This means that WHENEVER any change is made to your data , regardless of the device (computer**, iPad, iPhone) the file in which the changes were made must be copied and sent to all of your other iOS devices REPLACING the "old" files (obviously NOT the same as syncing them). Since Dropbox itself CANNOT store the files directly in GO this file management must be done manually by you
      **The only exception to this is with Filemaker on your computer. If you have set up Dropbox and Filemaker correctly, you will be opening the actual file stored in Dropbox. This means that changes made on an iOS device AND COPIED to Dropbox will be automatically available the next time you OPEN Filemaker on your computer (if Filemaker is already opened on your computer it will not update till you quit and re-open). However, if changes are made to your database with Filemaker on your computer, you MUST first close Filemaker as this alerts Dropbox that a change has been made and then triggers it to upload to Dropbox servers. Then you MUST perform the update procedure outlined here on all your iOS devices using GO.
      Obviously all this copying causes there to be a few more hoops to go through to make this work than a fully integrated sync solution (those are available for a premium price). However, I’ve found by carefully following these steps, it does work reliably. 
       
      IS THIS METHOD FOR YOU?
      POINTS TO CONSIDER
             
      1. Since there is no way to merge changes I don't recommend this for use with databases with multiple users.
      2.      
      3. Again since there is no way to merge changes I don't recommend this if you are not willing to commit to ALWAYS update ALL files as described here EVERY TIME changes are made. (If you do forget and realize that you made changes to two copies you would have to make one the "Master" copy and manually re-enter the new data from the other database and then use the Master to update the others. That's quite a hassle to go through and only works IF you realize that changes were made in two copies)
      4.      
      5. Do you have qualms about deleting files in the manner described here? (Be aware that Dropbox does keep an archive of the last couple of versions of every file so if something does go awry you can probably recover the last version from there) (You could also rename the update files in DropBox and keep the old file until you verify the update. I'll admit I found the renaming in Dropbox seemed to work kind of erratically, plus managing the whole renaming thing, even with a number suffix, was kind of a pain in the neck to me.)
       
      BASICS OF USING DROPBOX WITH GO 
      While this may seem to be a pretty long complicated process there are really only three basic steps for copying your files regardless of direction. Here they are in no particular order.
             
      1. Close the database in GO. (#1 cause of problems is forgetting to do this!)
      2.      
      3. Delete the old file.
      4.      
      5. Copy the updated file from one place to the other (GO to Dropbox or Dropbox to GO)

       

      Unfortunately these basic steps involve a fair amount of tapping on various labeled and unlabeled icons in both GO and Dropbox. I have yet to see any "standard" names or even uses for many of these icons. In order to not have to describe what the unlabeled icons look like in every step of these instructions here are my descriptions and made up names for the them.

             
      1. "Navigation" icon in GO - overlapping squares. Located in the upper left corner.
      2.      
      3. "File Selection" icon in Go - a fairly standard file document icon with a check mark in it  (like a piece of paper with the corner folded down). Located in the upper right corner next to the "Gear" icon
      4.      
      5. "Share" icon both GO and Dropbox - a square with an arrow pointing up. Various locations.

      READ THIS BEFORE CONTINUING! 

      There are quite a few steps involved in this process and doing them correctly is essential for it to work. I would suggest practicing with a non-essential database, maybe one of Filemaker's Starter Solutions or a duplicate copy of your database, until you are comfortable with all the steps. It may seem like a hassle but it's less of a hassle than losing data due to an error.

      STEPS FOR COPYING FILE

       Copying File From Filemaker Go to Dropbox

      Deleting the database file from Dropbox
             
      1. Open Dropbox.
      2.      
      3. Navigate to the database that you want to update.
      4.      
      5. Tap on file to select it. I find it best to tap on it even if it is already highlighted just to make sure it is selected AND active (I’ve found instances where it can be highlighted and not be the active file).
      6.      
      7. Tap on “Trashcan” in the upper right corner (iPad) or bottom right corner of the new window that opens (iPhone).
      8.      
      9. Confirm delete in pop-up that appears.

      Closing the GO Database that you want to copy

             
      1. Open Filemaker Go.
      2.      
      3. Tap on “Navigation” icon in upper left corner to open the selection pop-up.
      4.      
      5. Tap on “Windows”  in the list.
      6.      
      7. Find the database you want to copy by swiping left or right and close it by tapping on the red “X” in the  upper left corner of the database icon.

      Copying the database from Go to Dropbox

             
      1. Go to the “Home” page by tapping the “Navigation” icon in the upper left corner and then tapping on “Home” in the list.
      2.      
      3. Tap on “Device” in the Left sidebar (iPad) or bottom bar (iPhone).
      4.      
      5. Tap on the “File Selection” icon in the upper right corner.
      6.      
      7. Select file you want to copy by tapping on it.
      8.      
      9. Tap on the “Share” icon in the upper left.
      10.      
      11. Tap “Open in Dropbox” (or you can tap the new "Save to Dropbox". Both do the same thing)
      12.      
      13. Navigate to the location that you want to copy the file to in Dropbox.
      14.      
      15. Tap on “Save”

       

      Copying from Dropbox to Filemaker GO
       
      Closing the GO Database that you want to copy
             
      1. Open Filemaker GO.
      2.      
      3. Tap on “Navigation” icon in upper left corner to open the selection pop-up.
      4.      
      5. Tap on “Windows”  in the list.
      6.      
      7. Find the database you want to update by swiping left or right and close it by tapping on the red “X” in the  upper left corner of the database icon.

      Deleting database from GO

             
      1. If the “Home” page does not automatically open navigate to it by tapping the “Navigation” icon and tapping on “Home” in the list.
      2.      
      3. Tap on “Device” in the Left sidebar (iPad) or bottom bar (iPhone).
      4.      
      5. Tap on the “File Selection” icon in the upper right corner.
      6.      
      7. Select file you want to update by tapping on it.
      8.      
      9. Tap on the “Trashcan” in the upper left corner. Confirm delete in pop-up.
      10.      
      11. Tap on “Done” in upper Right corner.

      Copying the database file from Dropbox to GO

             
      1. Open Dropbox and navigate to file.
      2.      
      3. Tap on file you want to copy to Go to select it. I find it best to tap on it even if it is already highlighted just to make sure it is selected AND active. (I’ve found instances where it can be highlighted and not be the active file)
      4.      
      5. Tap on “Share” icon above the file view area in the upper right corner (iPad) or the bottom left corner of the new window that opens (iPhone)
      6.      
      7. Tap on “Open In…”. Wait while file “Exports”
      8.      
      9. Tap on “Open in Filemaker Go” in the Pop-up menu that opens.
      10.      
      11. File exports and “Home” window in Go opens. Tap on file to open.

      Just to be safe I have made it a habit to open the new database and check at least one of the changes made just to make sure everything worked (whenever it has not worked for me it has always been because of user error, usually forgetting to close the database in GO).

      I hope this helps. Any problems just post here.
      Bruce

        • 1. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
          schamblee

          This is a note for user that come across this, so they do not get confused.  This is not syncing, it is copying (moving) files using dropbox, which is a great way to move/copy files between your computer and device.

          There is a difference between syncing and copying files. 

          Dropbox does not sync to filemaker Go.  Dropbox can sync files from your computer to your dropbox account.  You can copy files from your dropbox account to Filemaker Go.  Syncing your database from your computer to dropbox is a good way to make a backup, but not a good way to update your data.  

          • 2. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
            bac

            Uhmm.... I think I made the point that this is not true syncing fairly clearly in the first two sentences of my post : "It’s important to realize that using Dropbox with Filemaker Go is not true syncing. Rather it is creating a copy of the file in Dropbox and putting it in GO which is then availble to use in GO." Further, through out my post I think I did a fairly good job of pointing out the limitaions and risks of this method.

            As to this method not being a good way to update data: Unfortunately, unless you can afford to spend a considerable amount of money to purchase one of the full-fledged syncing solutions that are available, at least as far as I have been able to find, the method described here is the only other option available. Yes, some of the expensive solutions offer a free or less expensive version but they only allow syncing between one computer and one mobile device. If like me, you have a computer, an iPad and an iPhone your out of luck (unless you shell out some big bucks).

            BC

             

            • 3. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
              schamblee

              My statement is it is not syncing at all. Your method of updating data can take an hour or longer in a large database and has more added risk.  Syncing would be just moving new data between two databases.  That is like comparing walking to driving an automobile, both can get you from point A to point B but are totally different means of getting there.   Walking doesn't cost to get there.  Automobile has car payment, insurance, maintenance, gas, and the cost of replacement of broken parts.  Big difference in cost too. 

              I'm sure if Filemaker added this service to Filemaker Go then Go wouldn't be free anymore.  I agree it should be part of filemaker Go, but being an Apple product, I'm sure it wouldn't be much cheaper than other companies system.   I have looked at several of the systems and there is a lot of work that goes into developing a sync system. I wouldn't work for free. 

              Sorry if I offended you, that wasn't my aim. It doesn't hurt anyone to have good step-by-step instructions on using dropbox with Filemaker Go.  

               

              • 4. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                bac

                Sorry, I didn't mean to sound offended. My main concern was that some people might read your comment and be scared away from trying this method. I whole-heartedly agree that this is not an optimum solution, but if done correctly it can keep your data the same between multiple devices (the definition of synced that I was using as opposed to your more technical one).

                I am sure that the time factor could come into play in, as you put it, a large database. However, the target audience of this method is single users with a personal database not a business and my feeling here is that the definition of a large business database differs greatly from that of an individual personal database. For example, the database I use this "keeping-the-data-the-same-between-devices" method for is a Beer Tasting solution I created and at present it's around 60 MB and this copies in a minute or so. I would not define this as a large database in file size by either standard but it does contain data for 177 Breweries (such as location, contact info, brewery image/logo, where to buy info etc), about 540 Beers (with image, style info, multiple tasting notes, where to drink info etc) and data for my Beer Cellar all spread over 6 or 7 tables. Essentially about 20 years of beer tasting. Admittedly I do keep the image sizes pretty small which keeps the file sizes down (currently have a 16 GB iPhone 4s that is close to full in the loop) but I think this is more the scale of the personal databse vs a business one.

                bc

                • 5. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                  bac

                  Sorry, I didn't mean to sound offended. My main concern was that some people might read your comment and be scared away from trying this method. I whole-heartedly agree that this is not an optimum solution, but if done correctly it can keep your data the same between multiple devices (the definition of synced that I was using as opposed to your more technical one).

                  I am sure that the time factor could come into play in, as you put it, a large database. However, the target audience of this method is single users with a personal database not a business and my feeling here is that the definition of a large business database differs greatly from that of an individual personal database. For example, the database I use this "keeping-the-data-the-same-between-devices" method for is a Beer Tasting solution I created and at present it's around 60 MB and this copies in a minute or so. I would not define this as a large database in file size by either standard but it does contain data for 177 Breweries (such as location, contact info, brewery image/logo, where to buy info etc), about 540 Beers (with image, style info, multiple tasting notes, where to drink info etc) and data for my Beer Cellar all spread over 6 or 7 tables. Essentially about 20 years of beer tasting. Admittedly I do keep the image sizes pretty small which keeps the file sizes down (currently have a 16 GB iPhone 4s that is close to full in the loop) but I think this is more the scale of the personal databse vs a business one.

                  bc

                  • 6. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                    lkeyes

                    Hi...Bruce... many thanks for this post.  

                    I wasn't sure this was the same in iOS 8 and Go v. 13? (I'm using an iPad mini).  If so, I seem to missing a piece when syncing back from Go to Dropbox.. The gear icon on the uppper right, has to two options. It looks to me that you can Save/Send, which allows you to send via eMail, back to your computer, and then save the attachment back to DropBox.  (maybe the quickest..)  Or Export, which will export a .csv file and save it within the FM file browser.  So, I don't see the "Open In" option when navigating around within the FileMaker file browser.    

                    Or am I missing something here?  

                    --- L 

                     

                     

                    • 7. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                      bac

                      Hi Ikeyes,

                      If I am understanding you correctly you have your database open and are tapping on the Gear icon in the upper right. If that is correct I think you missed the first section of the instructions. I've included all of the the steps you need to follow to copy the Go file to Dropbox below. The first part, "Closing the GO Database..." is neccesary for the rest of the instructions to make sense. If you do this I think it will solve your problem. I will say the locations of all the icons used in this process varies greatly between the different sized devices and I don't have access to a mini so I can't say exactly where on the screen the icons may be. I did try to describe what each icon looks like as best as I could. I am using the latest versions of all software.

                      Closing the GO Database that you want to sync
                             
                      1. Open Filemaker Go.
                      2.      
                      3. Tap on “Navigation” icon in upper left corner to open the selection pop-up.
                      4.      
                      5. Tap on “Windows”  in the list.
                      6.      
                      7. Find the database you want to sync by swiping left or right and close it by tapping on the red “X” in the  upper left corner of the database icon.

                       

                      Copying the database from Go to Dropbox
                             
                      1. Go to the “Home” page by tapping the “Navigation” icon in the upper left corner and then tapping on “Home” in the list.
                      2.      
                      3. Tap on “Device” in the Left sidebar (iPad) or bottom bar (iPhone).
                      4.      
                      5. Tap on the “File Selection” icon in the upper right corner.
                      6.      
                      7. Select file you want to sync by tapping on it.
                      8.      
                      9. Tap on the “Share” icon in the upper left.
                      10.      
                      11. Tap “Open in Dropbox”.
                      12.      
                      13. Navigate to the location that you want to copy the file to in Dropbox.
                      14.      
                      15. Tap on “Save”

                       

                      Hope this helps.

                      Bruce

                       

                      • 8. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                        lkeyes

                        Thanks. Bruce.  This worked! I'll try to do a version with screenshots. --- Larry   .  

                        • 9. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                          schamblee

                          Ikeyes, this is not true syncing, this is copying the database to and from the device.  These steps do not include that you will have to import data from the device copy and or the desktop copy.  Make sure you have backup copies of your data before attempting these steps, because you can inadvertently over write a non intended database file.  If you open the file from your desktop from the Dropbox folder you can also inadvertently over write a file.  Filemaker does an auto save when you close the database, so if you open and closed a sync database on your computer it will overwrite the file in dropbox.  Make sure you make backups of your database files on your desktop and on your device before doing the steps provide above, at least until you have all the steps down.  The instructions are good instructions for moving files using drop box, I just don't like the term syncing, because you are not syncing.  Good Luck.

                          • 10. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                            paxman

                            Bruce, thank you very much. Despite having been using Filemaker Go with dropbox since 2012, I had not previously realised you could save back to dropbox from FMG.

                            As you say, the target audience of this method is single users with a personal database. There are many users just like me in that category. I have databases which I use for work, which no-one else accesses. When I am mobile I need to be able to make updates on my iDevices (was on my iPhone from l2012 until this month, just coughed up for an iPad).

                            The metaphor posted about walking vs. driving an automobile is a furphy. I have no need for, nor can I afford, any server-based syncing solution. When I access spreadsheets in Excel from dropbox on my mobile device, Excel saves them back to Dropbox. When I access PDFs with Acrobat from Dropbox on my mobile device, Acrobat saves them back to Dropbox. I could go on with a fairly lengthy list of file types and applications which integrate with Dropbox just fine, but I think the point is clear. And with every one of these apps and file types there is a risk of overwriting existing work if you have the same file open on your computer and your mobile device at the same time - that's the nature of Dropbox. I backup, I'm reasonably careful without being obsessive about it, and it all works just fine.

                            What folks like me would like is for Filemaker Go to integrate with Dropbox in the same way as those other apps. It's not implementing any new syncing system, it;s not hard to implement, and it shouldn't stop Filemaker Go being free. FMG is free for the same reason that Excel is free - it's good for the company because it increases market penetration and helps increase sales by making the FMP more useful and ubiquitous. I've already paid quite a lot of money for Filemaker Go; as with other applications I've paid for on my computer, I don't expect to pay again to access on my mobile device.

                            In the meantime, your clearly written and carefully explained post has given me a solution, made my life easier, and enabled me to use my FMP dbs better. Thank you.

                             

                             

                            • 11. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                              schamblee

                              Paxman

                              Dropbox is a good product to use and I use dropbox.    

                               Dropbox does not sync your data.  It is cloud storage.  It is a backup system not a syncing system.  It is misleading.   Try the free GoZync version and you will see the difference between dropbox and true syncing.   It does not matter if you are a single user or not.   True syncing  was on the first PDAs, so it is sad that FM does not included syncing.

                              When it come to syncing your data Dropbox would be like walking because it not syncing.  It is you coping a file from your device to dropbox, then dropbox copies the file to your computer where you have to import and export data into one file, then you sent back to dropbox and then copy to FMGo.   You made a synced copy of your data but it was not synced is was manually made.

                               Gosync and other true syning software is like driving because the data transfer automatically from the device to the computer and back.  It is done automatically with the click of a button

                              Dropbox and Gosync are very different products.  Like walking  and driving can get you from point A to point B.   Driving cost more because it requires a car.

                              Yes, I agree that FM should have true syncing built in, not to dropbox but to FMS or FMP.

                               I don't believe that they will ever integrate FM with dropbox any more than what is available now, FM is owned by Apple and Apple has their own cloud storage service. (Which again is not syncing)       

                              The instructions are good instructions for using dropbox and dropbox is a good product.   Files can get corrupt and messed up using dropbox.  If you leave the file open on your computer then send a file from your device from FMGo to dropbox you will end up with two copies of your file because Dropbox does not sync it copies your files.   If you as a users do not notice this then you can end up with missing data.  Beginner do not notice because they assumed it synced the files, which it does not. Dropbox over writes the previous file and if it is open it makes a second copy.      

                              Beginners are the ones that need these instructions and it will be the beginner that lose their data because they didn't know the difference about the products.  

                              I tried stating over and over that my point is for beginners to know the risk and the difference in using the products.    

                               

                              • 12. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                                philmodjunk

                                I tried stating over and over that my point is for beginners to know the risk and the difference in using the products.

                                You certainly did, but but Bruce Carey also stated the risks in bright red in the original text so it puzzles me as to why you felt it necessary to say the same thing over and over again in this thread.

                                • 13. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                                  schamblee

                                  Phil

                                  He modified his original post from the beginning.  The forum does not show the original post. Others joint in at a later date without knowing the original post and reply.   I replied to the other poster and I'm sure they did not know what the original post stated either.

                                  Just as I just edit my typo in this post.  It does not show it now.

                                  Original posted Dec 2014 and lasted edit March 2015.

                                  Again the instruction that Bruce provided at the start were not bad.  I think he got offended and sent me messages off the board.  I was not at any time trying to offend any one or criticizing the instruction.    

                                  Post get editing and most user don't read all the post then comment, so yes some things  get repeated to try to explain things to the new poster.   I don't have time to go back to read a post from the being several times over a period of time (started Dec 2014), so I explain everything again to try and make sure I don't leave anything out. 

                                   

                                       

                                  • 14. Re: Using Dropbox with Go - Step by step instructions to keep your data "in sync"
                                    schamblee

                                    Yep this post was a spin off of an Oct 2014 post, where Bruce was having issue using dropbox with ios8, another poster asked how to use dropbox on that posting and I gave the new poster directions and then later Bruce replied he was going to make a post with the instruction at a later date.  

                                    I guess I'm the one that should be offended.  A poster takes my instructions and makes a new post with those instructions, and calls them his.   Yes, it offends me that you address me about my post on a public forum without knowing the all facts.   

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