It can be done, but, depending on number of users, the types of changes to the data permitted and the structure of your database, this can be a very complex process to set up. "synching" tends to be implemented with very simple methods that can overwrite data it shouldn't.
You download a copy of the database (or just a subset of the total records) to a user (doesn't matter if it's a user with a lap top, desk top or an iOS device with Go).
User 1 pulls up the data for "John Smith" and updates the contact record's cell phone number. User 2, on a different copy discovers that the contact's name should be John Smythe and corrects the name. Each then "synchs" their changes back to the hosted copy on the server. Most synch systems would be able to update the hosted file to have either the name change or the phone number change (assuming both are fields in the same record), but not both as the second synch operation would overwrite the changes made by the other user's earlier synch of the data...
Avoiding that requries extensive work to detect the discrepancy, know when the change occurred and possibly throw up both options on the screen so that a human user can make the call on what to keep and what to discard during the data merge.
Fair enough. I understand that it wouldn't exactly be the easiest thing in the world. The first thing I'd like to be able to do is be able to, at the very least, is to have a local copy of the most recent version of a particular database. So if I connect to my hosted database, I'd like it to automatically store all the records offline.
The next thing perhaps would be to allow users to create new records, but perhaps not necessarily edit existing records. If not, then perhaps just not allow creation or edit at all if not connected to the host database just viewing.
an idea for the first thing:
FMServer writes ('schedules') a copy to Your dropbox. Then, the client gets that copy and works off-line.
as mentioned by Phil, a synk can be a complex thing...
Hmm, well that would require the user to know before hand that he/she will not have internet at the location ahead of time, that way they can store the file for offline use (for iPad I mean). So I think it there isn't a way in FileMaker Pro/Server to just save a local copy of the records every time you sync built-in?
Because that would help in making a decision on whether or not we would like to proceed with the solution. The main use case for us is that buyers go overseas and source products. When they are with the client, it would be nice to be able to get product pictures, and product details right then immediately from the iPad. There is no garuntee that the warehouse/market will have Wi-Fi or 3G available. So offline access is really important.
no, the standard sync will not sync databases copied via iTunes. But with the DropBox loaded by a server-schedule, You are even more up to date. Of course, one will need to have an internet connection
Another approach is to get data in using FileMaker scripts while being inside Your own network - but it's more or less the same (no auto sync)
Note: server schedules can only back up data to a local drive so I don't think you can schedule the back up directly to something remote like drop box. It is possible, however to schedule a system script (but not in server), to copy a back up file to a remote location.
I use windows Task scheduler and a VB script to do such a copy to move back up files across my network to a different machine in order to get a bit more redundancy in my data back ups.
Ahh ok. So essentially there is no offline access with autosync available out-of-the-box. The dropbox method would require potentially having two filemaker databases, or the user having the forsight to download it before they go into a zone with potentially no internet. Something to point out to the higher ups. Thanks guys
The dropbox app' will sync a local folder to the dropbox.. that's where one can put a server-schedule-backup
no, there is no sync out of the box for off-line work.