10 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2012 11:02 AM by LSNOVER

    FM12 Containers - Observations & Question


      Did first conversion of friend/client FM11 to FM12 this afternoon.


      Some observations & questions...

      ( if i'm spreading mis-info / any corrections feel free to pile in - as this might be of interest to someone)



      1. Background:


      - Simple 1 user database on desktop mac with asset files stored on corporate network store (6GB, some big movie files - Ad agency)

      - Why moved to 12? Drag & drop files + folder naming management compelling (non secure store method) + easy to flip back if all went wrong.

      - Previously in FM11 - containers were via file references - pointing at network drive ( user manaually store file on server, right click, insert file into container, go to field/select perform to play in Quicktime player)



      2. What I did:


      Script to loop through and export FM11 file ref containers (x500) & re-import as new 'Insert File' to manage container externally (using 'Client/Project/Campaign' folder path calc to store on server).


      note: files need to be embedded for FM to manage that step in conversion to FM12 (have to manually deal with file reference containers)



      3. Issues:


      - Little time to test at end day but Filemaker crashed (a lot) if used 'Optimise for Interactive' setting in inspector. Most obviously with PDF, Movies. (1 user db with files on network drive remember)


      I flipped back to optimise for Image, then crashes stopped. Interesting side point - FM never tried to check/recover database from any of those crashes on reopen.


      UPDATE: I tested same 1 user database with external files stored on network drive in different office today. All media player/pdfs worked ok. Must be something on clients local machine/network which caused the crashes with the interactive setting & filemaker. Suppose could be few things at work, network speed, protocols, firewalls, 3rd party app clashes,( just read a grumble Adobe Acrobat Pro elsewhere)



      4. Other container behaviour changes / potential gotchas observed:


      - Seems can't turn off drag & drop target area to an 'Externally' stored container, ever. I tried not allowing Field Entry in inspector, overlaying a transparent png. Overlaying FM object. Can still drag & drop a file to container.


      You can manage via privilege sets. ( don't think turns off target area but nothing happens if drop onto it )


      Gotcha: Imagine use case won't be used much in FM12 but *think* if want to force user to only Insert with 'File Reference' via new Insert File script BUT allow to interact with field. You would have to disallow access to field with privilege set but manage playback via scripts run with full privileges. (otherwise user can drag & drop and that file will be stored as embedded/external remote rather than as a file reference)


      - Note: You can turn off drag & drop area for an old school 'embedded' container or 'file reference' by unchecking allow 'Field Entry' in inspector. However if script go to field to play means you get quicktime playback with no interactivity (not forgetting bug that crashes FM on windows on certain file types and quicktime).


      - also discovered interactive optimised fields don't work in a portal. (missed that in the help)



      5. Question?


      Are all the previous insert file Script steps now essentially redundant as we have Insert File? (except for old systems).


      e.g.. Insert Picture, Insert Audio/VIdeo, Insert PDF


      New Insert File script step seems to work out File Type dynamically? or are they still needed for embedded file inserts - eg. play in quicktime player?






      Olly Groves

        • 1. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question



          Do you have any updates on this ? Speed comparison, drag & drop effectiveness, file size comparison, was Server Mac  or Windows or mixed ?


          I am about to undertake a significant project where this is essential and after reading heaps and testing on small db's, just wondering how effective this is for clients now after a few months.


          Any insght will be helpful.




          • 2. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question

            Hi Singo




            Do you have any updates on this ?



            Not really but some bits i've picked up below.


            My notes were about a *single* user solution with the external container path on a *network disk* (external disk explicitly not supported on server at moment).  


            I can't recommend setting the container to interactive when files on external disk in single user setting - was 1 fine/ 1 frequent crashes in 2 networks i tested on. 


            You are the whim of network speeds if not using FM Server (as downloads file, not streaming) - however it all works fine if set container as non interactive. Which is how I've left it in interim of setting up on FM Server.


            Drag & Drop?: works great re: copying files to network location, organising folder paths base on project, brand, campaign etc.  You have to manage field access with Privilege sets far as I can see.   Not found any way to turn off the drag drop icon (tab panel covering also doesn't do it on Mac anyway)


            Speed comparison?: Not sure what you looking to compare but no noticeable different to copying files across the network with drag and drop in OS.


            File size comparison?: Again not sure what you mean, external container files won't change size unless you compress, i'm not doing that. The FM dbase is essentially just metadata with 'managed containers' so that size is minimal.



            Was Server Mac or Windows?: Wasn't server - is single user Mac - was why I posted as the single user use case is a little undocumented as to what's supported.





            I am about to undertake a significant project where this is essential and after reading heaps and testing on small db's, just wondering how effective this is for clients now after a few months.



            Its been fine except for container folder mysteriously going missing from network disk (yet to be recovered by IT).  Pretty sure that something at the client end rather than FIlemaker issue.   Which is why this you really need to have this stuff on FM server if not a fully local setup.  Hopefully be moving to FM12 Server at end of August and rolling out to more users. Will update any experiences.



            Couple of notes from Devcon.


            - The new 'insert file' script does essentially make all other 'insert <media>' steps redundant. My understanding is FM Inc kept them in for backward compatibility. 'Insert File' auto manages file types in interactive container setting.


            - Engineers fully aware of desire to store media files on diff disk from DB , while there were no promises it sounded like they are looking at it  ( for fast storage at least ).   Seems best workaround for now is to build a Filemaker File to manage container files, stick that on the external disk where containers live and build that 'FM File' into your solution (probably how I'll do it anyway as can build lot of container admin functions into that file at same time).  FM12 server offers a couple of path settings for FM files to allow for this.


            UPDATE: Forgot  to mention if you have a lot of container files - making a separate FM dbase file to manage offers further flexibility when using new Server Admin 'download' database function to work on file (not sure be an issue if use old way of logging onto server to grab files).    Believe can only download a database file with containers attached (either in external folders or embedded in file) or as a empty Clone.  If split out container management into its own filemaker file you can download and work on data files without the need to download gigs of containers with it.

            • 3. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question

              Thanks for the info and sorry for the confusion, I didn't read close enough to see this was not server and the comparision was between v11 & v12.


              Mine certainly is server and windows and the several locations will help as I see it as well.




              • 4. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question

                No worries,


                As an FYI, I just read in help doc that FM Server won't validate a path (inc for Addtional Database Folders) on a "Remote Volume".   


                I presume that means you can use server attached storage (or SAN?) only.


                So sticking a FM DB File on "remote disk" to manage just container files likely not possible, but will be on different "Local Volume"


                I'm little unsure what a "Remote Volume" includes.  If anyone can confirm please let us know.





                • 5. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question

                  A remote volume is anything that is not internal to the FMS machine.  A SAN is ok as it is exposed to the OS as something internal (as opposed to a NAS which is a network share).

                  • 6. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question

                    Thanks Wim, it's always nice to have THE expect on hand.



                    Glenn Singleton

                    • 8. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question

                      Hi Wim:


                      Have you ever worked with the Hard Links that FM is now using with backups?  Could these be created by developers to locate the files in other directories in the scope of External Container fields?  It looks like Hard Links are restricted to the same drive from what I've read?  Still might give some additional flexibility without duplicating large files.



                      • 9. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question

                        Hard links are indeed limited to files on the same volume.


                        Not sure how adding your own hard links would add flexibility to the remote container functionality though....

                        • 10. Re: FM12 Containers - Observations & Question



                          Was just thinking you could have multiple folder structures for different purposes.  I'm working on a app. where I want to share External Container data between both Filemaker and Oracle.  Neither makes it easy to use networked storage for these purposes.  So, I'm just thinking outloud a bit, wondering if there is some way to use aliases of some sort to achieve the goal.