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    Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO

    philmodjunk

      We support a user base of 300+ iPad users that collect data that they then "push" to one of our servers and "pull" other data back from the same. (There's no "synch" in terms of locating and updating existing records used in this process at this time.)

       

      I get a small trickle of users that report FM GO pops up a message that either our file or the synch tool's file is damaged. We then have them download a new copy of the synch file if it's damaged and I have them send our solution to me where I a) recover it, b) import the data into a new copy of the file and return it to them. Out of the many such "recovers", FileMaker has only reported finding a problem to fix during the recover once.

       

      It's a very small percentage of the total, but the frequency with which this is happening has increased greatly with the latest copy of the synch tool and with FM Go 15.

       

      So I'm researching best practices and possible causes for the file damage issues.

       

      Presumably, leaving the FM GO file open and rebooting the iPad could damage the file. Is that a distinct possibility?

      What if they leave the file open, double click the home button and "swipe up", to close FM GO? Can that damage the file?

       

      Our third party synch tool is GoZync from SeedCode. In talking to them, they've suggested the above and that FileMaker needs to better protect the integrity of their files.

       

      Another details that may be relevant is that we use an "installer file" that contains the actual solution file in a container field to install the file onto the iPad. The user opens a download link, the installer copies over, opens and immediately starts to install the new file. It can detect an existing copy and offer to import the data from that copy into the new file.

       

      Yet I have yet to have a solution pop up as "damaged" on my iOS devices even though I have many different FM GO files. Perhaps this is because I have been lucky or perhaps it is because most of my personal designs, (The solution that I support with these users was created by a contract developer working for us), I include a button at the top that closes the file when tapped and I make it a habit to close the file when I am thru using it...

       

      To sum up:

      1) Do we need to better educate our users to close the file immediately after they are thru using it?

      2) Could a different synch tool such as MirrorSync by 360works be a better option?

      3) Or is there some other cause for this file damage that we need to take a closer look at?

        • 1. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
          coherentkris

          I built a data collection app for iPhone with gozync.

          No update routine like yours.

          I experienced the same issue with reported corruption.

          What it took for me to make this go away was to provide a close button that ensures all files are closed and explicit training to the user base to use the close button.

           

          I also made sure they knew how to double tap home and swipe to close when done.

           

          Once that was all in place and we went to FM GO 14 the problem went away

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          • 2. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
            philmodjunk

            I also made sure they knew how to double tap home and swipe to close when done.

            What is the purpose for having them do that?

            • 3. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
              coherentkris

              Because, during my research on how to mitigate the issue, i found some anecdotal evidence (forum posts) that making sure the files were closed and then making sure fm go was closed would alleviate the issue.

              Never discontinued the process

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              • 4. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                FileKraft

                 

                To sum up:

                1) Do we need to better educate our users to close the file immediately after they are thru using it?

                2) Could a different synch tool such as MirrorSync by 360works be a better option?

                3) Or is there some other cause for this file damage that we need to take a closer look at?

                1. educating user is the last thing to do

                2. i think the SyncTool doesn't solve the problem that a local copy running by FMGo stays healthy if your file gets 'interrupted' ..

                 

                i suggest to review uncommitted state of records. most corruption in our experience is if file had open records.

                also after committing Refresh & Flush ..

                • 5. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                  philmodjunk

                  1. educating user is the last thing to do

                  I understand why you said that, but we can do user education now at a time when organizational circumstances preclude deploying a new file with a more obvious close button that also closes the sync file is not something I will be able to deploy right away. And so far, adding that close button is the only design change discussed here.

                   

                  Also, please note that whether a user does or does not close down FileMaker GO and whether they leave a file open at the time they do that is purely user education with the current options available.

                  • 6. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                    philmodjunk

                    Because, during my research on how to mitigate the issue, i found some anecdotal evidence (forum posts) that making sure the files were closed and then making sure fm go was closed would alleviate the issue.

                    My concern here is that users might fail to close the file and then use "home button/swipe up" to quite FM GO and possibly damage a file.

                    • 7. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                      coherentkris

                      absolutely valid concern and i suspected that the corruption was actually introduced by home/swipe to close was at lease an ancillary cause. Once we coupled the close button with the home/swipe the problem completely went away.

                      I was never able to 100% nail down the root cause of the mobile file corruption so left the question open once the phenomenon disapeared

                      • 8. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                        rgordon

                        I agree with Kris' observations.  I'm convinced that most FileMaker Go issues are related to memory and the temp folder.  Kris' steps close all files properly, clears the temp folder and resets the ram being used by FileMaker Go.  If you want to clear the temp folder, all files must be closed before doing a swipe up to kill the app or a restart of the iPad/iPhone.  If not the Temp folder will not clear.  I also suspect when you are using local and hosted files together, the hosted files may not be closing properly which might lead to the temp folder not clearing properly.

                         

                        When having problems my best practice rules are:

                        1. Always close the files after you are finished working

                        2. When connected to a network, avoid walking around while entering data, if your network connection drops and you continue to type, you might experience a Revert from Hell loop if FMGO reconnects to the server. I think this issue has improved with newer versions of FMGO

                        3. When connected to hosted files, never close the cover unless you have closed the files

                        4. Restart the iPad at least once a week. (also make sure all files are closed before restarting)

                        • 9. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                          FileKraft

                          coherentkris wrote:

                           

                          Once we coupled the close button with the home/swipe the problem completely went away.

                           

                          how did you do that?

                          • 10. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                            schamblee

                            Double tap and swipe up used to be the only way to close FMGo, so I don't think there should be any issue closing the file.  I believe the close button / icon was added in FMGo 14.     I would suggest talking to TSGal and maybe she could follow up with the programmers and verify the use of double tapping the home button and swipe up as being safe.  

                            • 11. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                              philmodjunk

                              Double tap and swipe up used to be the only way to close FMGo, so I don't think there should be any issue closing the file.  I believe the close button / icon was added in FMGo 14.

                               

                              I would suggest talking to TSGal and maybe she could follow up with the programmers and verify the use of double tapping the home button and swipe up as being safe. 

                              TSGal, what's your thoughts on this? Does "Double tap home/swipe up" risk damaging a file if it is open at the time?

                              • 12. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                                rgordon

                                Here is a little more info on how FileMaker Go handles a swipe up.  In FMGO 14 if you leave a file open and then swipe up , when you reopen FMGO 14 the file will still be open.  If you do the same thing in FMGO 15, when you reopen FMGO 15 sometimes the file is open and sometimes it is closed.  Not sure if there is a pattern.  Now if you restart the iPad, the behavior stays the same in FMGO 14 but in FMGO 15 on reopening FMGO 15 after a swipe up  the file is consistently closed.  Not sure what this means but the two versions appear to handle forced quits differently.

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                                • 13. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                                  philmodjunk

                                  Thanks for all the info. We definitely need to nail down whether "Home/swipe up" can damage a file or not, but I've already got some info to pass on to our support staff as well as a design change to put in for the next version release--namely a button that closes both our file and GoZyncMobile with a single tap.

                                  • 14. Re: Avoiding Corrupted Files in FM GO
                                    rgordon

                                    Not sure how CoherentKris does this but one way to close all files is to use the DatabaseNames function to determine what files are opened.  Assuming that you have not renamed any windows, you could use a looping script with the Close Window command to close the files.  If you rename a window to something different than the file name, I don't think this option will not work. Also make sure the active window is closed last.

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