12 Replies Latest reply on Jun 20, 2016 11:38 PM by gdurniak

    Idle time, saving, & Dropbox

    fmchris

      All my FileMaker 10 databases are in the Dropbox folder on my Mac. I've noticed (for years) that my database isn't being regularly saved (i.e. the Dropbox menu icon isn't showing activity). But when I close the database, THEN - and only then - the Dropbox icon shows it's uploading the changes. This makes me nervous.

       

      I thought it was a failure to understand "idle time" on my part. However I've discovered here that idle time is pretty much any time from the FMP p.o.v. - only dialogue boxes, the actual performing of sorts and finds, active script steps, are NOT idle time. Even typing can be idle time.

       

      Therefore, the Dropbox icon should be showing constant activity whenever I make a change like adding records, changing data, etc. But it's not. Not until I close the database. And that's what makes me nervous - why aren't my databases being saved regularly? Or if they are, why don't they get immediately uploaded to Dropbox?

       

      Please note - these databases are NOT ONLINE when I open them - they are in the local Dropbox folder on my Mac, from where the Dropbox app detects changes which then get uploaded. Theoretically.

       

      (Running FMP 10 within 10.6.8 on a 2011 Core i5 iMac.)

        • 1. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
          alquimby

          FileMaker saves to the disc during idle time. Nothing gets saved in Dropbox until the FileMaker file (or any file, for that matter) is closed.

          • 2. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
            fmchris

            Allen Quimby wrote:

             

            FileMaker saves to the disc during idle time. Nothing gets saved in Dropbox until the FileMaker file (or any file, for that matter) is closed.

            If FMP saves to disk - and that disk is my local Dropbox folder - regular changes should be detected, no?

            • 3. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
              fmchris

              Also, I just checked this with a TextEdit file - I made changes and saved while leaving the file open. As soon as I saved, Dropbox uploaded it, and didn't wait until I closed the file.

              • 4. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                schamblee

                FM does not do automatic backups.    FileMaker Pro automatically flushes changes from its internal file cache to the computer's hard disk during idle time.

                 

                Dropbox copies your file when it is not in use and there have been changes made to the file.

                • 5. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                  Mike_Mitchell

                  fmchris wrote:

                   

                  If FMP saves to disk - and that disk is my local Dropbox folder - regular changes should be detected, no?

                   

                  Not if you like your data.  

                   

                  FileMaker places a hard OS lock on the file when it's open. This prevents other (well-behaved) applications from messing with the file while it's open. (It's why you are constantly told never to allow any kind of virus scanning or backup utility to access open FileMaker databases directly. Many of those utilities are not "well-behaved" and can result in damaged databases.)

                   

                  FileMaker is not a "document". It's an active database. Whenever you open the file, the opening computer (whether your local copy of Pro or Advanced or Server) becomes the host. Other accesses to that file have to pass through the host. This protects data integrity.

                   

                  Short version: Never leave a FileMaker database accessible to external utilities while you have it open. Open it, make changes, close it, then back it up.

                  • 6. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                    fmchris

                    Mike_Mitchell wrote:

                     

                    FileMaker is not a "document". It's an active database. Whenever you open the file, the opening computer (whether your local copy of Pro or Advanced or Server) becomes the host. Other accesses to that file have to pass through the host. This protects data integrity.

                     

                    Short version: Never leave a FileMaker database accessible to external utilities while you have it open. Open it, make changes, close it, then back it up.

                    So, let me understand this - when FMP "saves" in idle time, it's not actually saving? It's a kind of internal save only?

                     

                    Then if you're right, my databases aren't accessible to Dropbox UNTIL the database is closed, so that part is ok; Dropbox will back it up automatically.

                     

                    One remaining question then: if something happened to my computer (a crash for example) while I've a database open, how do I get back the data it's pseudo-saved - is that what File Recovery is all about?

                    • 7. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                      schamblee

                      See Flush Cache to Disk and Commit Records/Requests.

                       

                      Lost data is rare unless you are on a mobile device and loss connection to the server, then usually it is the current record the user is using.

                       

                      Recovery is use to fix a damaged file and or to repair / rebuild indexes.

                       

                      FMS does automatic backup

                       

                      You can create a automatic backup in FMP but you will have to use InstallOnTimer script Trigger.

                      • 8. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                        Mike_Mitchell

                        No, no, and no.

                         

                        It is saving the data to disk. But it still holds the file inaccessible to other processes. Reason: When you're sharing the database, you can't afford to have any other program messing with it.

                         

                        If it were me, I would not access the database directly in the synced folder. Even though Dropbox has demonstrated itself to be well-behaved, in keeping with a philosophy of paranoia, I never allow any process access to a database file I might have open. I exclude those directories completely. But the inconvenience may be worth the risk, if your data are not especially crucial.

                         

                        The Recover command is there for cases when the database has actually been damaged. This can happen after a crash, but is reasonably rare. Far more likely to cause corruption / damage is (you guessed it) allowing anything to mess with the file while FileMaker has it open.

                        • 9. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                          fmchris

                          Ok, but if I'm the sole user, and I'm on a local database, then there's nothing to interfere with my open database - not apparently Dropbox, which waits until the file is closed. My data IS critical, but I have two Time Machines AND  Dropbox, so I think I should be ok.

                          • 10. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                            schamblee

                            It does not matter about number of users.   It is a matter of being opened on different device, can cause  data lost.

                             

                            I open a file at home and forgot to close the file, when I got to work I made several changes to the file and then closed the file.  Dropbox sync this file.  I later got home and seen the file open then close it, this file then sync to dropbox which didn't have all the changes that I had made at my office.   Lost work.   You can also end up with multiple copies with different data.  Who wants to verify all the data is correct every time they open the file.  It's your data.  

                            • 11. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                              Mike_Mitchell

                              If you're using Time Machine to back up your databases, don't. They will eventually corrupt. Apparently, I"m not making this clear enough.

                               

                              Do not allow any external tool to touch your database files until you are certain they are closed. Ever. Under any circumstances. You will eventually lose data / databases.

                               

                              You're free to do whatever you want, but what we are telling you is an attempt to keep you out of trouble. Ignore the advice at your own peril.

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Idle time, saving, & Dropbox
                                gdurniak

                                This was also discussed here:

                                 

                                https://community.filemaker.com/thread/155243

                                 

                                What you are seeing is just the way Dropbox works ( with FileMaker ).  You can work on the local FileMaker file, but it will not be synched until it is closed

                                 

                                It is possible that Text files e.g. in TextEdit behave differently

                                 

                                greg

                                 

                                > All my FileMaker 10 databases are in the Dropbox folder on my Mac. I've noticed (for years) that my database isn't being regularly saved