As part of our Volunteer management program, the law requires that volunteers in certain roles must apply for and maintain a certification which must be renewed very two years. The certification body sends us the certification forms via fax, which we then scan locally to PDF and currently store on a shared network drive. When the certificates are updated, we need to email a copy of the certification (as an attachment) to a volunteer coordinator and also to each client that that Volunteer services. Currently this is done manually by selecting the PDF from the shared drive and attaching the PDF to an email template. With over 1000 volunteers and 700 clients that can amount to quite a lot of manual emailing!
In our FileMaker solution we already have extensive information about the Volunteer and all of the various relationships they have with their clients, their teams, their coordinators and the resources they use - so it makes sense to store these PDFs in an interactive container in the Volunteer table and manage insertion of the new and updated PDFs and emailing of the copies via FileMaker scripts.
We run FileMaker Server 13 on Windows SBS 2008R2 which will be updated shortly to FMS14. Most clients are Windows 8 PCs running Filemaker Pro 13, with some already on FMP14 and the rest updating soon. There are a couple of Macs, PCs and iPads remote from the main office as well. My understanding is that to make the PDFs available to all remote clients we need to store them with the database in Open Storage on the FileMaker Server, rather than on the shared network drives (which are on another server).
We are successfully doing something similar with photographs of the Volunteers, but doing it with PDFs and a mixture of FMP13 and FMP14 clients seems to add several levels of complexity! In fact the simple "Store by Reference" method we tried initially seems to have stopped working on PCs that have been upgraded to FMP14.
The challenge is that unlike a photo (which can be included in a layout), we are required to send the PDFs as an attachment to an email: how does one get a file path reference to the server storage location so that is can be used to attach the PDF to an email?
I've done dozens of experiments and read hundreds of pages of Forum posts FileMaker doco and I am more confused than ever: How can I calculate a server based Filepath to the external open storage location?
The main problem appears to be: how do I get a server compatible reference to the "hosted location" in Manage Containers?
Any ideas would be appreciated!