1 2 Previous Next 28 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2017 7:30 AM by schamblee

    DropBox Uses Old File

    debi

      I've seen some related info in discussion

      New Dropbox Issue

      and problems

      https://community.filemaker.com/message/571207#571207

       

      We have a two-file solution; where the Main file is hosted via FMS and is in general use. The Mobile file is used in the field as a local file on iPads by about 20 staff. We do have it hosted also, however, it is hidden in Open Remote, and it’s there primarily for developer improvements, and also so that the client can add user accounts to both files via a single button in the Main file. We have synching scripts in the mobile file that download appointments to the iPads for each day, and then upload the finished appointment info as needed.

       

      We need to be able to distribute the mobile file periodically, for instance, as we make improvements to it, or when someone new comes on board and we’ve just added their account to the security level. The client does not want to use email or iTunes to distribute the mobile file to the iPads.

       

      Currently, we’re using DropBox to distribute the mobile file. The client admin goes to the server, runs a backup of the file, and pushes the backup to his DropBox account. Then, on the iPad, we’re trying to pull the file down via DropBox.

       

      I say “trying” because the first time always seems fine. Using the DropBox app, we can see the file, it’ll usually say something like “3 minutes ago,” and we’re off to the races. The problem is with subsequent updates: the file will show that it’s new, but when we push it to Go, it is still the old file.

       

      It doesn’t seem to matter if we delete the older file from the iPad, say “yes” to replacing the older one, reinstall Go, turn the iPad off, etc. As long as we use the DropBox app, we keep getting the older file. The only way we’re getting this to work - so far - is by using DropBox via Safari on the iPad.

       

      We don’t want users to have to renumber or keep track of different version files on the iPad, it’s critical that this process be extremely simple for the field staff.

       

      Has anyone else been seeing this problem? Have any ideas as to what is causing it or how to solve it? Other suggestions for distribution?

       

      TIA,

      debi

        • 1. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
          Vaughan

          Host a single-record "downloader" database on your FMS. Put the mobile file in a container field. Make an onFileOpen script that exports the mobile file from the container. (Put in a check to determine whether a mobile file already exists and whether it's open etc.)

           

          Get people to open the downloader database on the iDevice. Job done.

           

          I've heard DropBox's synchronisation method described as being "eventual". A file updated in one place will eventually be propagated to the other devices depending on network speed, availability etc.

           

          UPDATE: no need for the separate downloader file, use the "main" database. Each time somebody uses their mobile file, it could check the main file for an update. If there is a new version it could run a script in the main file that closes the mobile file, exports the new version (which over-writes the old mobile file) then opens the new version. Users won't even feel a prick.

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
            debi

            Vaughan,

             

            Thanks! We'll check that out.

             

            One think I neglected to mention is that, if I pull the file from DropBox on my Mac, for use in regular client FMP/Advanced, there is no problem. So I remain confused about the synchronisation - it only seems to be an issue on the iPad, not on my laptop.

             

            Any further ideas?

             

            Thanks again,

            debi

            • 3. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
              schamblee

              The file also has to be copied to the device from dropbox, which is dependent on the ios device having internet connection and the speed of the internet connection.  

               

              I had some issues with older version of dropbox, it took longer for the file to update from dropbox to my ios device.   With the newest version of dropbox and with FMGo 15 I have not really had any issues.  In FMGo 15 after the file has updated from the computer to dropbox, I select the device icon, then select the download icon (folder with down arrorw), change locations to dropbox, the select the desired file.   

              • 4. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                bertrand

                I use also DropBox for transfering databases from my Mac to iPads.

                 

                I made a small database which uses as many containers as to hold updated databases or files.

                I transfer only this database after fulling containers to DropBox. From iPad, I open DropBox, import and open with FileMaker Go the database.

                I export containers and job normally is done.

                 

                I don't understand why sometimes files are not updated ??

                 

                I used to emptied DropBox and iPads before transfering or updating files and sometimes I notice that files are not updated.

                I know that DropBox remembers files and I beleive that this is the cause of non updating.

                • 5. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                  philmodjunk

                  It's been my experience that the time it takes for Drop Box to update is unpredictable. Better connections will help, but not cure the issue. You just never know when something "out there" is going to get gummed up and delay the update.

                   

                  You either check the date/time of last update or use a different file name each time. The last option can work if the file uses container fields to transport the real files that you want.

                  • 6. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                    bobsfiles

                    DropBox help would seem to indicate that marking a file "available offline" (The icon containing the down arrow in the upper right menu bar) will force synchronizing each time the file is opened. Playing with my files, it seems to work. Give it a try.

                    • 7. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                      wimdecorte

                      I really wouldn't do that... you don't want anything trying to read from an open FM file and thinking it is now safe to sync ongoing changes to another copy of the file.  Sooner or later they'll end up corrupted.  Plenty of evidence out there of that happening.

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                        bobsfiles

                        Can you please expand upon your concern - I am missing something, can you offer an example of the problem.

                        • 9. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                          wimdecorte

                          Plenty of examples if you google 'dropbox filemaker' or do a search for dropbox on this forum or FMforums.com.

                           

                          At its core the issue is that FM requires exclusive read and write to the files.  In its nature it is very different than writing to a text file or a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet.  For sharing it has its own protocols to maintain the file (and your data and your intellectual property) integrity.

                          By brute forcing dropbox sharing mechanism on that, there is no guarantee that the file's integrity will be preserved.  Dropbox will decide on its own when to read and when to write.  Given enough time that will at some point conflict with FM's mechanism and can corrupt the file.

                           

                          It may work for a long time and you may in the end be just plain lucky and never get bitten but the risk is there and it is very real.

                          It is the same reasoning for the best practice to not allow 3rd party backups, or OS-level indexing or on-access Anti-Virus scanning to be active on open FM files.

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                            bobsfiles

                            Thank you. That helps.

                            • 11. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                              schamblee

                              Dropbox will not open a file that is already open.  It will create a copy of the file with conflicted copy append to the filename.   The data will be corrupt.  You will have files with different data and neither will be correct.

                               

                              That does not mean that FM will not open the file that dropbox has open so there is a risk there too.

                              • 12. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                                debi

                                First, thanks to all for your comments and suggestions.

                                 

                                About DropBox synching:

                                 

                                Per Vaughan:

                                I've heard DropBox's synchronisation method described as being "eventual". A file updated in one place will eventually be propagated to the other devices depending on network speed, availability etc.

                                 

                                Per Schamblee:

                                I had some issues with older version of dropbox, it took longer for the file to update from dropbox to my ios device.

                                 

                                Per Bertrand:

                                I used to emptied DropBox and iPads before transfering or updating files and sometimes I notice that files are not updated. I know that DropBox remembers files and I beleive that this is the cause of non updating.

                                 

                                Per Philmodjunk:

                                It's been my experience that the time it takes for Drop Box to update is unpredictable. Better connections will help, but not cure the issue. You just never know when something "out there" is going to get gummed up and delay the update.

                                 

                                What still confused me is why, when I push a new file from the FMS server to DropBox (after having deleted the old version from DropBox), then I can see on the iPad that the file is only minutes old, but when I download and open it, it is the older version. However, when I download it to my Mac it is current. Clearly(?) DropBox did have the newest version. And the problem with the iPad download persisted, despite deleting the file from the device, exiting Go, turning the device off and on, etc.

                                 

                                But now this may all be moot, as we just got a report of an iPad user receiving this message:

                                Error

                                “FileName.fmp12" is damaged and cannot be opened. Use the desktop product’s Recover command to recover this file.”

                                No choice except OK.

                                 

                                I’m not sure what procedure he used - as we do tell folks do NOT open directly in DropBox - and haven’t received any files for closer inspection yet, but we'll likely be moving to containers shortly.

                                 

                                Thanks again,

                                debi

                                • 13. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                                  bertrand

                                  When I use DropBox for transfer of files, I assume that files are not openned. When using Mac to Dropbox, Filemaker is not launched on Mac, when using DropBox to iPad, iPad is emptied before and FileMaker Go is completely stopped.

                                   

                                  As all versions of softwares are marked with a different number, I can check that version n+1 is not copied to iPad and that it's version n that is launched after copying from DropBox.

                                   

                                  I use a special Database solution to transfer other databases.

                                  I do so :

                                  With iPad

                                  I launch FileMaker Go, I delete all files to copy, version n of databases and I quit completely FileMaker Go

                                  With Mac

                                  I launch Update_DataBase.fmp12, I empty all containers and I quit this solution. Size is 172 KB

                                  I launch Update_DataBase.fmp12, I fill containers with appropriate database version n+1 and I quit this solution. Size is 45,6 MB

                                  I empty folder on DropBox, I wait 1 min and I copy Update_DataBase.fmp12. Date and size seems to be correct.

                                  With iPad

                                  I launch DropBox, I open folder wher Update_DataBase.fmp12 has been copied, I import and open with FileMaker Go the Update_Database.fmp12.

                                  I execute each export of containers from Update_Database.fmp12

                                   

                                  When I launched main database, the version is still numbered n instead of n+1 !!

                                   

                                  Where is the problem ? I need and want to understand.

                                  • 14. Re: DropBox Uses Old File
                                    debi

                                    Bertrand asked:

                                     

                                    Where is the problem ? I need and want to understand.

                                     

                                    Bertrand

                                     

                                    Sorry, I’m not sure I understand your question: Are you saying you have the same problem, that you’re still seeing version n instead of n+1? Or are you asking me what’s the problem with your process?

                                     

                                    I’m not saying there is a problem with your process, as I have not implemented that process. We are not using +1 nomenclature. I don’t think we will want to go that route, but it is something I can talk to the client about; thanks for the suggestion.

                                     

                                    Also, it sounds as though you have total control over your process. Ultimately, I am hearing some of this third hand - the folks in the field tell the client and he tells me. The two of us are working closely to explain to field staff how they should use the iPad, Go, DropBox, etc; and to elicit from them what they may be doing (correctly or incorrectly); and to deduce the root cause(s) of any difficulties.

                                     

                                    The one thing I started this thread about had to do with DropBox on iOS indicating it had a current file ready to download to iPad. However, even after deleting old file, etc., the DropBox file was NOT CURRENT. When used on Mac, it was. Both the client and I have had this problem, and we both were able to work around it by using DropBox from Safari on iPad. This feels like a DropBox bug to me, but I wanted to start with questions to this community.

                                     

                                    The newer problem is this report of a damaged file. I know folks should not open FileMaker files from DropBox, but I don’t even see that you can do this on iPad. Perhaps someone on the client side opened the file in the shared DropBox folder from FMPro on desktop or laptop. I am seeking clarification about that.

                                     

                                    I think the option Vaughan mentioned, using containers, does not use DropBox at all. Eliminating DropBox may well be the key.

                                     

                                    Thanks again to everyone for their input,

                                    debi

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