Summary fields - where is the calculation performed

Discussion created by georgej on Aug 21, 2017
Latest reply on Aug 21, 2017 by FileKraft

I am running into a significant performance issue for summary field data when clients are connecting via remote (ie slow) links to a FM server, where the application is hosted.


The data underlying the summary is I believe downloaded to the client where it is summarised.  The overhead on a network is minimal (on most fast internal networks today that is) but over a slow link with greater latency it is very very slow.  And, yes, I can product layouts without the summary fields on them with a switch for remote use.  The summarised data is incredibly useful and I don't want to lose that functionality so I need to find another solution.  I don't want to "cripple" my financial dashboards just because remote access is too slow for the summarised data I want to display.

I am in discussions with MBS about this but thought I would ask the collective wisdom of this group for some assistance.  I'm a lawyer not a programmer (though I have been using FMP since 1993 and know it inside out).  There are limits to my abilities and I don't have access "under the hood" to know how FMP client and server process summary fields. 


All I can see is terrible performance when a lot of data has to be retrieved so that the client can process that data to create the summary.


Anyone with remote users on a slow link will run into this problem.  How do I solve it?

The obvious and easy solution would be for FileMaker to process the summary data on the server, not the client.  That would not only solve the remote user issue but would decrease network traffic.  Just because nobody notices the extra traffic on fast internal networks doesn't mean it should be there if it can be avoided.


Would an SQL query to FMS solve this?  I expect that the SQL engine works in the same way, namely that all the data is dumped down to the client for summarising.  If so, that won't help me.  However, if an SQL query to an FM server hosted database is processed on the server then I just need to change to a calculate SQL query field rather than use a FMP summary field.


I am completely out of my depth here (SQL queries are a level above writing scripts - that's what I would call real software development) and I don't know how FMP client and server do the calculations internally.


Any pointers/suggestions?  I would be most grateful for any information the wise and clever people on this list can impart (and I mean that genuinely).

If there is no solution then either it is feature request to FileMaker (which may never happen) or I need to work with MBS about a custom calculation which the client and server plugins apportion processing between them.

Many thanks.