5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 15, 2016 5:06 PM by CaraByrt

    Are there problems with emailing database files

    CaraByrt

      Hello

      Can anyone tell me, are there any dangers with emailing a database file, as a method of distributing a solution to a client?

      I emailed a large file using DropBox, and when the recipient opened the file they received an error message referring to "properties missing". (The file seemed to work OK though.)

      Would it be better to send a CD through the post, rather than trying to email? Or is there any reliable method of sending electronically?

      Thanks

      Cara

        • 1. Re: Are there problems with emailing database files
          Mike_Mitchell

          Hello, Cara. There are some specific risks associated with emailing a database file:

           

          1) Security. Email is not immune to being intercepted, and unless everything is encrypted, anyone who does so can read your file. Most of the hacks that attack FileMaker databases depend on having access to the physical file, so sending it as an email attachment potentially puts both the solution code and the included data at risk.

           

          2) User error. Many users are accustomed to opening a file attached to an email directly from the email. That's fine with some applications, but FileMaker databases don't like it. It interferes with the temporary files and cache FileMaker creates when it opens a database. Not catastrophic, but I've seen some strange behavior. I can't recall seeing a "properties missing" error, but that might be the source.

           

          3) File size. Many email hosts put limits on the size of files that can be attached. Your message might be rejected by some SMTP host along the way, or by the person's email client.

           

          CaraByrt wrote:

           

          I emailed a large file using DropBox

           

          This is confusing. Did you email the file, or just a link to the Dropbox file? If it's the latter, then the user might have tried to open the database directly from Dropbox, which can cause issues (including damage to the file).

           

          Or is there any reliable method of sending electronically?

           

          Sure. You can use Dropbox, provided the end user understands to copy the database down to his computer prior to opening it. (Of course, this depends on how computer-savvy your users are.)

           

          You can use email, assuming you (a) remove the [Full Access] privileges using the Developer Utilities, and (b) use Encryption At Rest. And assuming it's small.

           

          Another method for distribution is to use a container field in a hosted database and program a script to download the new version to the user's computer. This is probably the safest method, but does carry some overhead in building the distribution tool.

           

          And, of course, you can send it via CD / DVD. Slow, but really quite safe.

           

          HTH

           

          Mike

          • 2. Re: Are there problems with emailing database files
            rgordon

            Mike gave you some great information.  One more thing that I would add is to zip the file before distributing.  This can make the file much smaller and I think there is less chance for the file becoming damaged through its journey through the Internet. 

            • 3. Re: Are there problems with emailing database files
              CaraByrt

              Thanks Mike and rgordon for your responses - this is very helpful.

              Security is not an issue in this case, the application is just for community-based wildlife monitoring data.

              Sorry if my description was inaccurate - what I did was to email a link to a DropBox file - I didn't realise there were any other options.

              I will try again with emailing a link to a DropBox file - with specific instructions for copying to computer before opening, and see how that goes.

              • 4. Re: Are there problems with emailing database files
                Mike_Mitchell

                Security is not an issue in this case, the application is just for community-based wildlife monitoring data.

                 

                Community-based wildlife monitoring data can afford to be lost, diverted, or damaged? Your database is at risk too; someone can intercept the file and insert their own code to cause all sorts of mischief.

                 

                Sorry to pick, but security is ALWAYS an issue. How much of an issue is determined by the sensitivity of the data, yes, but ignoring security concerns is, well, dangerous.

                 

                Just a warning of things to think about.

                 

                BTW - Since the Dropbox can only be accessed by people you authorize, it's a much better approach than just emailing the file in the clear.