The interface file may be having trouble finding and opening your data file. Check its external data-source references for issues.
You can also try setting a script in the file that switches the database to a blank layout with a dummy table of 1 or zero records when the file is closed and see the script then opens more quickly. Open and close this file once on your local machine before uploading it back to the server.
What is the fastest way to specify the files location? What do you mean "having trouble finding and opening" the data file? I thought it parsed the list of external file locations from top to bottom opening the first it found. I've tried this with the UI file on the client machine and with it on the server with the data file. The file references are correct. Though I must say, I've pared the list down to one entry, because keeping a reference to a client side data file ( that is occassionally there ) and the server side data file did slow the startup.
I've checked network speeds and that doesnt seem to be the issue either (~40ms ping times, 2mbps download)
I have previously put in the blank layout/table you mentioned previously, more for appearance than anything. The table has no fields and no records. The layout is a text title. I made sure to make both the UI and the data file return to these NULL layouts before logout.
When I am making many changes to the UI I keep it on the server to keep the users up to date. Does this make much difference in speed of opening the file or operating? I was assuming it only loaded UI tables/scripts/layouts on an as used basis.
Yes it tries each file reference in the external data source record, starting from the top and working down until if finds one that works. It's just that with certain types of invalid entries, such as an IP address that doesn't exist, FileMaker takes a very long time determining that it can't open the file with that entry before moving down to the next entry. Old reference types brought in during file conversion from older releases that use asterisks are also slow to resolve.