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    Sharing FM Pro database


      I created a FM Pro 14 database on my Windows computer (PC1). I need to be able to access it on another Windows computer (PC2). I have tried DropBox and OneDrive. In both cases, I made changes in the database on PC2, and they were not shown in the database on PC1.


      I am looking for an inexpensive (free?) cloud program where I can work freely on either computer and have the changes reflected. I want one version of the database. Suggestions?

        • 1. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

          FileMaker also does Peer-to-Peer sharing.  Or even better yet, host it on FileMaker Server!  This lets both of you use it at the same time... or many more people too!

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          • 2. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

            Drop box is dangerous to FM if not used carefully.

            Not sure if one drive has the same risks but seeing he word SYNC in their documentation i would be skeptical.

            If PC1 and PC2 have access to a shared drive this could provide you with what you want unless PC1 and PC2 need to have the file open at the same time. Then you have to use some kind of sharing as already stated.

            • 3. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

              Also, if it is truly PC1 and PC2 with nothing else in the way


              1. FMServer

              2. Shared netowrk drive

              3. peer to peer

              4. Windows Homegroup


              All of these work...and I listed them in order of preference. (my preference anyway )

              • 4. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                Taylor, thank you for the reply. Not sure how to access Filemaker Pro Server.

                • 5. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                  I used DropBox very successfully when I was a graduate student at the University of New Mexico for 8 years! A couple years ago I started having serious non-sync problems with it. Dropped DropBox and went to OneDrive. Same non-sync problems with it. A Microsoft support email says I shouldn't use OneDrive for the database.

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                  • 6. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                    Eric, thanks for the suggestions. Don't know how to create Windows Homegroup.

                    • 7. Re: Sharing FM Pro database



                      I use Dropbox daily. I also work through the day, every day, on multiple computers.




                      How I used to do it when I was young and reckless


                      For years, I used Dropbox to store databases that I was working on. It worked and I never had a problem with a file. But you must heed the advice of coherentkris! If you don't, you will almost certainly damage your file, possibly very badly.


                      What does "work very carefully" mean?


                      1. Under no circumstances EVER EVER open the same file from Dropbox on two computers at the same time. (This actually is true in any context, when the file isn't being hosted.)
                      2. Corollary of #1: Get in absolute habit of quitting FileMaker when you step away from each machine.
                      3. Corollary of #2: Never forget #1 or #2. I mean it!
                      4. Remember that Dropbox takes time to sync, so when you quit working on machine A and move to machine B, give Dropbox time to sync. Before you open the file on machine B, make sure that Dropbox's little status icon for the file shows that it has been properly synced. The status icon is a little green circle with a check in it, once the file has been synced.


                      So that's how to do it with Dropbox. My guess is that it would work similarly with other cloud drives but I hate iCloud and have only ever used Dropbox.


                      Let me say it again: that will work if you're really careful. But if you're not, you very well may hose your database.





                      An alternative is to store the database on a removable drive, say, a "thumb drive." Not sure if this is safer. You won't easily be able to open the file in two copies of FileMaker simultaneously, true. But the risk here is that you'll pull the thumb drive out without properly dismounting it first and that FileMaker will be writing to the file while you do that. Result: much pain and gnashing of teeth.




                      How I do it now that I am older and wiser


                      Best approach is to spend $100, get a developer subscription from FileMaker Inc, and put FileMaker Server on one of your machines. Host your database there. This will (almost) eliminate the worry about damaging the file and allow you to open it safely from any machine on your network. Install Server on machine A, and you can access it in FileMaker from machines A, B or C (etc) within your network. The basic developer subscription provides FileMaker Server for development (not deployment) so you only get one connection, but it sounds like that's all you need.


                      I know it's not free. But if you slip up with Dropbox, you'll wish you'd spent the $100.




                      p.s. Puts me in mind of one of the funniest scenes in movie history: You Should Have Bought A Squirrel.mpeg - YouTube  The amazing thing is that neither Kathy Bates nor any of the squirrels received credit for this scene.

                      • 8. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                        William P., loved the Kathy Bates/squirrel video.


                        Glad Drop Box works for some folks - carefully. Will never use it again for a database.

                        • 9. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                          William, I'll look into spending the $100 & getting access to the Filemake Pro server.

                          • 10. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                            If the two computers are on the same network (internal network so on the same router or wifi network) then you can simply share the filemaker file over the network.

                            No need for any fancy stuff.

                            Just click the "Share" button up top.


                            Filemaker server is only required if you want to share the file over the internet and access it at all times from anywhere online.


                            So this is not needed if your two computers are in the same office.

                            You do need one computer to "host" or "Share" the file if the other computer wants to work on the file as well.




                            • 11. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                              Please note that system level "file sharing" as opposed to opening the file on one computer and accessing it from another via FileMaker serving as the client as Guy has recommended, is not, in general a good idea.


                              Should two users go to the shared volume and try to open the file at the same time, the file can be damaged. That might not be an issue if you are the only user as long as you are careful, but don't make the share accessible by other users to avoid accidents.

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                              • 12. Re: Sharing FM Pro database


                                I have managed to put it in drop box down load it to the iPad and then immediately took the original back out of dropbox and i can open it. All i want is to be able to see it on iPad as i design my touch devise layouts. So peer to peer works, but it doesn't.

                                • 13. Re: Sharing FM Pro database

                                  Please note that what you are doing physically copies the file to your device. You wouldn't then try to open it via the Hosts button as you haven't hosted the file by doing that.


                                  When I am working on iOS layouts, I do it this way:


                                  My development machine is on WiFI.


                                  I use sharing to share the file over the WiFi network. I have the file open and hosted from my development machine.


                                  Then use "hosts" to find and open the file on the iOS device.


                                  I can see and test the UI on the iOS device, but can immediately use my development machine to modify the layout as needed to fine tune things.

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                                  • 14. Re: Sharing FM Pro database



                                    Several folks have suggested that you try peer-to-peer sharing.


                                    It's certainly something to know about. It's a possibility. But as I try to read between the lines of your question, I am pretty sure that this is not the right answer for you personally. I could be misinterpreting you, but that's the way it seems to me.


                                    It sounds to me like you want to move around from computer to computer but you want to be able to get to this database from different computers. You did not mention having multiple users, so I have the sense that you are the only user.


                                    In that case, I would NOT recommend peer-to-peer sharing. (In other cases, like if you have two or maybe three users who need to access the database and you don't want to spend a few dollars a month to put the file up on a hosting service) then peer-to-peer sharing might make sense.


                                    But for what I think you're trying to do, peer-to-peer sharing is, in my experience, riskier than using Dropbox. For one thing, you need to be absolutely sure that you open the database on the same computer first every time. (So if you do this, DON'T put the file in Dropbox where each computer can "see" it.) And once it's open on computer A, it needs to STAY open on computer A, so you can access it from B or C. Now it's open on two or three computers. Access from computer B is going to be slower than it would be if you were opening directly from Dropbox on one computer at a time. Peer-to-peer sharing isn't fast. And Heaven forbid something go wrong with the network connection while B is writing data to the file.


                                    Of the ways to access a FileMaker database file:


                                    1. The safest is to access it while it is hosted on a machine under FileMaker Server. That's because Server is designed specifically to protect the file from harm. (The fact that Server will automatically make backups for you is another plus.)
                                    2. The next safest is to access the file directly, from the computer's internal hard disk. That is what you do when you use Dropbox. (Remember those caveats I mentioned about syncing!)
                                    3. Slightly less safe is access over the network from a networked drive or a removable drive like a USB stick. (It's slightly less safe because those connections can get broken.)
                                    4. The riskiest way to work on a FileMaker solution is by peer-to-peer sharing. It has the disadvantages of 2 and 3 above, plus a couple of disadvantages of its own, and it lacks the advantages of option 1.


                                    Some small work groups share peer-to-peer for years without incident. I've developed for clients who did that. Great for them. It's legal, FileMaker supports it, and if you're really careful about how you do it, it's a valid option. But "valid option" ≠ "good option," certainly ≠ "best option." In the last twenty years nearly every single instance of really bad file corruption that my clients have experienced has been a result of peer-to-peer sharing.


                                    If you are in fact working with, say, two or three other users and you all need to access the database simultaneously, then I strongly suggest that you contact a hosting provider like FMHosting Pros or Point in Space and consider shelling out a few bucks a month for a genuine hosted solution. This may be almost as cheap as a FileMaker Developer subscription and it has other advantages.


                                    But if you're working on your own and just need to access the same database file from different machines, you can make Dropbox work for you -- or you can get a Developer Subscription. And even then a subscription from a hosting service isn't a bad idea as it will allow you to access the file not just from within your LAN but elsewhere, in FileMaker Go, or in a web browser, etc.



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