13 Replies Latest reply on Aug 12, 2013 8:04 AM by disabled_jackrodgers

    Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?

    liyangao

      We have a filemaker application where we have to use VPN to do data entry on our database on FM 12 server remotely. We found that some of data was missing probably due to a lost internet connection. What does FM do when we have a remote file open and the system drops the network connection it has. I havenot received any warning or message from FM about the missing connection. I thought it makes more sense for the VPN to issue the warning about the lost connection.

       

      On FileMaker server, it say that FileMaker server sends no email notifications for web publishing errors or warnings, which is not the same thing as the VPN access to FileMaker server. I can see some analog between the two.

       

      Here comes the question. Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host? What happens to the data entered? Is it lost in the air?

       

      Your comments and responses are sincerely appreciated!

      Liyan

        • 1. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
          wimdecorte

          FileMaker client and FileMaker Server are in constant communication and if the server detects that a client is no longer responding it will cut the connection and report it in FMS event log as a "client no longer responding"

          On the client side you will see a message saying the the communication was interrupted and when you click OK on that dialog, FileMaker will close all the files that were open from the server.

           

          As to the data: that depends what was happening on the client at the time the connection dropped.  The client holds a certain amount of data in cache that can get lost if it has not been sent to FileMaker Server.  Certainly any data in uncommitted records will be lost.

          • 2. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
            RonSmithMD

            Why do you have to do a VPN? Is there a firewall preventing you from getting to your server? Why not use FileMaker's built-in SSL connections?

             

            Ron

             

            Ron Smith, MD, 'The Pediatric Guide For Parents'

             

            Want to know more about me and my family? Take a look at the free ebook about my daughter below.

             

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            • 3. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
              liyangao

              Thank you so much for your response. We have seen some missed data due to lost of connection. We are in search of solutions for this missing data problem.  What we observed is that sometimes when lose the whole record and sometimes we lose part of the record.  How to know whether a record is committed or not?

               

              Is it possible to write a script so that the data entered into cache can be forced saved and the user can be warned of the lost of connection and FileMaker can be closed? How do I capture the lost of connection signal from FileMaker server side? How long is the delay and is it feasible to do it onsite remotely through VPN?

               

              Any pointer or suggestion is highly appreciated.

              Liyan

              • 4. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
                wimdecorte

                A couple of different approaches:

                - you can try and solve the connection stability issue by working with Terminal Services and Citrix so that there will be no data flowing across the remote network and the true FM to FMS connection stays within the local network

                 

                - or you take control in your scripts over when data is committed.   FileMaker does a lot of implicit commits but you can take control over that.  It will add a lot of scripting but it will overcome the issue.  For some reading on this do a Google on "Todd Geist transactional model"

                • 5. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
                  liyangao

                  Thanks for your prompt reply and pointers. We had to get the data entered remotely and can not use the first approach. I checked on "Todd Geist transactional model" and did not find much information.

                  I appreaciate your insight.

                  • 7. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
                    DavidJondreau

                    With Todd's model, you will still lose data. It just prevents you from losing data from some tables, but not others. Which is certainly a handy thing (and required in some solutions), but may not be what you're looking for.

                     

                    At the most basic level, you could add a script trigger to every field to have it commit the record each time a field is exited.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • 8. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
                      liyangao

                      Thank you for the response. In order to have the FileMaker commit the record each time a field is exited, do I need to write a script with commit record/request in it and add a script trigger of OnObjectExit for each field? I am new to script trigger and want to make sure I understand it right.

                      Thank you for your response!

                      Liyan

                      • 9. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
                        wimdecorte

                        Doing a commit on each record exit may kill performance on the solution though so I'd be very mindful of that.

                         

                        Under what circunstances do you see the transactional model losing data?  If a transaction fails then no data gets created but that's what you'd expect and want.  I don't consider that losing data

                        • 10. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?

                          Committing the record does not force a write to the database, it just marks the record in memory as committed. Flush Cache forces a write to the hard drive. Flush cache may also remove data from RAM cause a bit of slowness when it must be reloaded.

                           

                          Modern databases all suffer from this keeping the data in memory and not writing to the hd for 15 minutes problem in order to work faster, especially when there are a hundred or more clients (think shared host).

                           

                          The 15 minutes worth of committed data can be lost when the connection is lost. You can set the preferences for a shorter time between writes to disk.

                          • 11. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
                            jormond

                            I think the OP is referring to having entered data in their form, and not yet committed. Then the disconnect happens. That data that the remote user entered is now gone.

                            wimdecorte wrote:

                             

                            Doing a commit on each record exit may kill performance on the solution though so I'd be very mindful of that.

                             

                            Under what circunstances do you see the transactional model losing data?  If a transaction fails then no data gets created but that's what you'd expect and want.  I don't consider that losing data

                             

                            liyangao - you may want to consider either (1) using the virtualized environment like Wim suggested since it gives you a remote connection, but eliminates the "remote" part of having the actual FileMaker client on an outside network from the server (but still lets the user be outside the network), or (2) Consider a syncing solution. Though syncing can be somewhat complex from a development end, depending on your skill set.

                            • 12. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?
                              jormond

                              Though you will notice that more on lengthy scripts and batch operations, correct?  If you enter data into a single record and commit it, the data goes to the host and then is broadcast back out to al the remote users (that have accessed that record).  And this happens, especially in a local environment, VERY quicklly.

                              • 13. Re: Will FileMaker be able to detect and warn about a lost connection to remote host?

                                A client has also been losing data over an encrypted VPN solution. The developer gets the blame...

                                 

                                One answer to this is that most Filemaker databases are inadequatley designed since it is so easy to develop in Filemaker and also because most developers lack the knowledge of what is needed for a complete design.

                                 

                                This insance is a good example.

                                 

                                A complete design would consist of verification (plus many other features). Verification would be the server notifying the client that data has been received and returning a copy for verification. The client could then compare that to the record sent. Filemaker Server, to my knowledge, does not have that feature and it should else please remove Pro from the name.

                                 

                                So, how to test to see if the data was saved to the server?

                                 

                                Untested Psuedocode:

                                 

                                Commit Record to unlock it

                                set variable to id of field

                                set variable to modified field value

                                 

                                Open a new window

                                Find the record id

                                Compare modified field to variable above

                                 

                                Now you know if the record was saved and if the existing field data is the saved field data.

                                 

                                Filemakers ease of use and the inexperience of a developer over looks this process. There was a time when computers were new when punch cards were used that 3 or more people entered the same data and it was compared for typos. Now we are less concerned and our databases are very messy and filled with errors.