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I realize that your context is FM11, but I will nonetheless mention an experience I had in FM12, in case it might shed light on the situation:
In playing with the FMP URL protocol, seeing what I could accomplish by triggering scripts and so forth, I noticed that I was creating scenarios whereby it appeared as though I was locking records with another user -- yet I was the only one using the file and I did not have any extra windows open which might have had an open record. I did not pursue this, but my conclusion was that triggering the script via the URL is more than just triggering the script -- it might actually be opening the file as a new user session and then triggering the script. I don't know that this is the case -- it was just a thought. It does seem to jive with the advertised idea that the FMP URL is for opening a file. I'll need to fill in the gaps in my knowledge on this topic sometime if I really want to work well with this functionality.
Should the hunch I mention above be true:
You might be running into a limitation on the maximum allowed number of users. Suppose that each iPad instance takes up one user session just to run, and then perhaps it chews up another alloted user session when it opens the fmp7 URL. Four iPads, plus the host version of FileMaker Pro would set you at a total of nine user sessions -- right at what I believe the limit is for peer to peer sharing. I could see this being a potential problem that results in the symptom you describe, and though I might have expected to see a dialog telling me that I've used up all my alloted user sessions, I'd still entertain this theory for a little while.
What you might try to test this theory:
1) Can you simultaneously connect to your shared database from at least a couple other FM clients somehow, thus reducing the number of remaining user sessions, and then see if the problem resurfaces when you start connecting with iPads? Let's say you can cook up a scenario where you are compromising at least two extra user sessions -- does the problem now occur on the third connected iPad instead of the fourth?
2) When you've run this using FMS, have you tried watching the list of connected clients to see if the list grows as you scan barcodes and trigger the FMP7 URL?
I realize you mentioned that you've tried using FMS, and that if you were using a full server licesnse, you wouldn't be running into any limitations such as what I'm proposing. I'm going to guess that you are running FMS with the developer license. If I am mistaken about that, well, then I guess that would probably prove my theory about user limits to be wrong.
I hope this may help some.
This sounds like a peer-to-peer issue. FMServer will allow more connections than FMPro/Adv as the host, and your network may have reached or exceeded its allow connections with a 4th Go client.
It is possible that one or more of the clients is using connections to more than 1 file at a time if this solution uses multiple files and tables. The hosting limit is being tested as each connection is made to each file from each client as well as from the host machine.
Thanks for those suggestions. As I'm running out of ideas, I'll take challenges to what I've done so far, or details in what I've done that I may have missed or hunches from other verions, or whatever.
The peer-to-peer limit is one I specifically wanted to check. Slightly older versions of - I'm not sure which, FM Go or CNS Barcode, actually did cause a second copy of the file to be opened on the ipad. After a scan that wasn't going to work, you would be taken back to the database, but a 2 shows in the upper left corner - indicating a second window was open. An update to FM Go and a couple updates to CNS Barcode came within days of each other, and one or the other of the updates fixed that problem (or at least made the 2 go away...).
I did install a full version of FM Server on the mac yesterday morning for testing. As ipads connect up, they show up as a client. When they hit the button to scan, they disappear from the client list. After the scan - regardless of good or not, they would show back up as a client. No duplicate clients appear. Server always agreed with me as to how many clients there were active.
As we've done more testing today, even three ipads connected isn't completely reliable. There are occasional problems even with only 2 ipads connected to the same database. More frequent problems with 3 ipads connected. I also wanted to mention that I have this setup distributed to more that one location, and they are all having the same scanning issue. So it's not a problem that I can tie to this mac, or this wireless router or this bad ipad.
Thanks, Steve and Stephen, for your input.
One other suggestion that slipped my mind this morning:
If you are using FMPA for the peer-to-peer sharing, open up data viewer and monitor Get( UserCount ) as the iPads do their business flow.
Good luck with this,