your solution should lock invoice records when they are "finalized" and produce a pdf on demand when someone wants to see the invoice in pdf.
The actual official record is the data in the database that was used to create the PDF/JPG in the first place so that is what you must endeavor to protect and preserve.
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a good practice is to prepare your backup for a recovery scenario.
If you once need to restore a backup, you'll have to be quick. Which means sevral things:
- it should be accessed easily and fast, which means you should zip it (or rar, or whatever archive system) because a single compacted file is transferred more efficiently across the network.
- it should be in a form that can be uploaded to he server as is. And that is NOT the case with external containers. (Which is a shame, I have to say). Unlike what you get from the download database menu of the admin console, backups cannot be restored as is because the container data and database files have incorrect relative paths.
What we do is run a system script that reorganizes backup files, compacts them and move them to the recovery data center.
I largely concur with coherentkris's comments, but I like the idea of having a copy of important documents such as invoices outside of the database also:
1. If the only copy of an invoice is inside the database and you lose the database, you have no record at all.
2. For this reason I don't rely on the PDF being stored inside the database either; rather, I store it elsewhere on my computer system, although with some things I do both (see next point).
3. I store a copy in a container field if it is something I want ready access to on my desktop—e.g. details of a quote letter exactly as supplied to a client.
4. A pdf version is a frozen in time copy of exactly what was sent to a client, in the format in which they see it, whereas the database may contain additional admin details—underlying calculations and so forth.
"you lose the database, you have no record at all."
Thats where a thoughtful, robust backup strategy comes in
True enough, and I don't disagree at all. The chance of a total loss is pretty minimal but I still like to keep important documents generated by FM in a different format. I could have added point 5—PDF is very universal and can be viewed with many programs, whereas FM is just accessible by FM. PDF is the nearest there is to an electronic substitute for paper files, which is how I see them.