AnsweredAssumed Answered

Failure to Launch

Question asked by MarcDolley on Jun 18, 2012
Latest reply on Jun 18, 2012 by MarcDolley

I have a system which experiences intermittent problems which I know are caused by human error. The client wants me to find a way to overcome the problem (without replacing the humans).


A bit of background first. This is an automated billing system for a high rise building. It runs under a single copy of FileMaker Pro 11 on a standalone Win 7 PC. The computer is located in a machine room in the building which isn't generally accessible (without a hard hat at least). As a result, users (and myself) access the system via a VNC program. The IT people who supplied the PC were unable to get remote desktop working. Every morning at 2 am, a Windows scheduled task launches the database and imports data from a number of CSV files generated by another system. The result is that one file has 17,472 records added and the other file has 145,152 records added each day. The second file has to hold three years worth of data at any given time so will end up with almost 160 million records. The system uses the FileFire Advanced plugin to collect and process the CSV files which reside in a number of different folders on the local hard drive. Once a month, another scheduled task launches and generates a range of reports and billing information. These include PDF's and Excel files. The daily process sends an e-mail to a number of people. This daily e-mail shows how many records were imported and lists any errors which have occurred.


All of that works perfectly and has done for over a year except for the occasional problem. If a user logs into the system to review the information and then fails to exit FileMaker and/or log off the system, when the scheduled task tries to launch, it fails because FileMaker is already running. The log off procedure is clearly documented in the user manual with screenshots. It has also been explained to the users in person on numerous occasions. The most recent incident occurred a few days ago. Someone didn't log off properly, the system didn't run and the billing information didn't get generated until I logged in and ran it manually over the weekend. Apparently none of the six recipients noticed that they didn't get their daily e-mail or that the monthly billing information didn't arrive.


My question is, does anyone have any suggestions as to how I might further idiot-proof this system so FileMaker will launch even if the user has failed to log off? Is there any way to create a scheduled task to end the FileMaker process if it's still running before it tries to run the daily import process? I can't run it under FM Server because it relies on the plugin and uses multiple script steps which aren't server compatible. I also can't restart the computer as there are other processes running on it that require the PC to be on at all times.


Any and all suggestion most welcome.



Marc Dolley