Unable to store/retrieve some externally stored Container field PDF documents

Discussion created by fmp-al on Nov 14, 2018
Latest reply on Nov 14, 2018 by eric

Hey everyone,


Thought I’d post something that’s been a bit boggling for us over here. Tried to search, but haven’t found anything along the same exact lines. We’re having an issue with sporadically unretrievable container content (PDF files). Maybe someone has experienced this before and has insight into where the issue might lie-whether it’s FMPro, FMServer, InDesign PDFs, user permissions, network, etc.


Background: Our company has been using the same network MacOS file server for a while and over the past three years we’ve uploaded 70k+ documents (of assorted file types) into a container field that is openly remote stored on this file server. Everything’s been fine and working as expected, up until about four months ago when we started having an occasional document upload issue.


We have a design team that started uploading an increasing number of these particular documents (PDFs) and nothing significant has changed on their end with regard to configurations, software, network, access groups, etc. They use Mac FileMaker Pro clients to upload the PDFs. By ‘upload’ we either use a script step that prompts the OS system dialog file picker or they drag and drop files directly into the container field.


Most of the time the files upload just fine. They are previewable in the non-interactive container. We can export these previewable files. But occasionally there are containers that display the generic Mac PDF icon with “<Missing [filename]>”. These documents are not retrievable via any FileMaker Pro clients, including the person who created it.


The odd thing is that these documents are actually there on the file server, in their new respective folders, along with the JPG and PNG preview files that FM automatically creates. So FileMaker was able to ingest the file from the client and copy it onto the file server with no apparent issue.


When trying to open or export these files in FileMaker Pro the error message that comes up on screen is “Container fields cannot be exported”. When running the VerifyContainer() function on the document field, it returns 0. When running GetContainerAttribute( x ; “all” ) we’re able to see some info like the width and height but the filename and file size aren’t returned.


This could seemingly arbitrarily happen to the same user on the same day, with one PDF upload going through just fine, and the next one simply doesn’t. There’s no error message that appears on the uploader’s end. The only giveaway that the process didn’t work fully is the fact that the container shows the <Missing [filename]> icon. No server errors are logged, nothing out of the ordinary in the call stats.


If we retrieve the uploaded PDF from the file server, go back to the record, remove the ‘broken’ document, and reupload it into the container, it all works fine. The PDF is there and now it’s previewable and exportable. The PDF itself seems fine, before or after insertion into the container.


In the past four months we’ve also updated from FMS15 to FMS16 (not because of this issue), updated hardware for our on FM server, and updated a good number of our clients but this hasn’t changed or fixed anything. It’s been quite bizarre to deal with this, having never seen it anywhere else.


We reached out to FM phone support a few days ago, spoke for about 30 mins with a rep but now still waiting from someone over there to get back to us.


Any ideas? Thank you all for listening/reading.





FileMaker 16 server; 78,000+ documents, dating back to 2015 on FMS14/FMS15

FMS 16 running on Mac OS X 10.13.6 iMac Pro 18 core 2.3GHz 32GB

File server:

Mac OS 10.11.6 Mac Mini i7 2GHz 16GB + Promise Pegasus NAS Thunderbolt

On the same subnet and physically located next to each other

Users authenticate via AD