Item 1: Get that file out of a shared directory as soon as possible! You can end up with a corrupted file if more than one user attempts to open the file from a shared directory at the same time.
Item 2: To answer your question, it depends on the number of simultaneous users and whether they will connect as FMP clients or use their web browsers to link up using a web browser.
If you have just a small number of users, (10 is the limit for FMP 10 I believe), you probably don't need FMP server.
To share the database amongst your FMP users:
Open the file with FMP.
Choose File | Sharing | Filemaker Network... and turn Network Sharing on.
Now open file on the computer where the file is stored first.
Other users should launch the filemaker application and use "Open Remote" to find and open the shared file.
Item 1: You're making me nervous Phil
Item 2: Looks like this solution will work since we will definitely have less then 10 editors. But not sure what the "connect as FMP clients or use their web browsers to link up" means. I will try your instructions below but was wondering how the editing works. Two people can have the file open at the same time, edit anything, close the files and everything will be fine? Also, does this mean that the file is physically stored in just one location?
"I don't think there is a way to corrupt the actual file this way right?"
I'm not sure but it sounds safe. I've never tried that option. What I was referring to was sharing a folder and then different users open the shared directory and attempt to open the file by double-clicking it. That's been strongly recommended against for years.
"not sure what the "connect as FMP clients or use their web browsers to link up" means."
FMP clients refers to using Filemaker Pro to access your shared database. That's the method I described later on in more detail. You can also enable "Instant Web Publishing (IWP) and then users can use Internet Explorer, Safari or some other web browser to access the data base without ever owning a copy of Filemaker Pro.
"Two people can have the file open at the same time, edit anything, close the files and everything will be fine?" Generally yes. Filemaker will act as "traffic cop" and keep two users from simultaneously editing the same record. The first user to place their cursor in a record's data field locks the record and any other user that tries to do the same will get an error message telling them the record is locked. Once the first user "commits" their changes by exiting all fields or switching to another record, the record is unlocked and other users can now edit the record. This "record locking" protects users from overwriting each other's changes sight unseen.
"Also, does this mean that the file is physically stored in just one location?"
Yes. That's why I tell you to open the file first on the machine whose hard drive stores the file. That approach gives you the best possible performance. The first computer that open's the database becomes the "host" and all other computers that connect to the shared database, are called "clients" or "guests" of the host machine. Note that if you attempt to close the file on the host machine while other users are connected, you will get a message warning you and that gives you the option of either canceling or sending the other users a message asking them to close the file so you can shut down.
One more caveat: Global fields behave differently in shared files vs. single user files such as you are currently using. Look up global fields in the Knowledge Base if your database uses global fields so that you can learn more about how they work in a shared file.
Great info Phil! So I went through the steps to open as FMP clients and received the error "The maximum number of licensed users are currently using this copy...blah, blah, blah" which leads me to assume that we purchased one license of FMP 10 Advanced and to use FMP clients we need more then one...right?
I then did the IWP method via Safari but it asked me for a login and password. Within the main file open, when I went to File>Sharing>IWP, there was no place to specify a login/password. I simply turned IWP on and selected "All users" as the access level. On the other computer, I was able to see the file via our browser but it asks me for a password?
Update. I figured out the password/login for the IWP method and will post in case others search this thread. File>Manage>Accounts & Privileges is where you can modify user information and set passwords etc... Mine was set to "Admin" with no password which may have been the default. I obviously changed this to access the file via IWP.
So now I see how this can work but it's a bit quarky and I prefer to be able to use the FMP clients method. Based on the error I mentioned above, does this mean I need to purchase another license? Seems weird I can achieve this same thing without purchasing additional licenses via the IWP but not via FMP clients method.
You have this correctly figured out. You do need to purchase additional copies (or licenses) of FMP.
"Seems weird I can achieve this same thing without purchasing additional licenses via the IWP but not via FMP clients method."
Weird but true.
Thanks again for your time on this Phil. Greatly appreciated!