Any changes to global fields only persist for the duration of the user's session - once they close the hosted file the values are discarded, and when they next open the database the global values revert to what they were when the database was last opened with FileMaker Pro/Advanced (not hosted on FM Server).
If you need the global values to persist you'll need to store them in non global fields in a table as appropriate.
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Global fields can definitely be updated by a client. One common gotcha though is that the global fields are only persistent when a client is logged in. When the exit the system the global value goes away
The only way to save a persistent value in a server hosted global field is to open the file locally, enter the value, close the file and upload it to the server. It will "stick" when it is uploaded to the server.
It sounds more like you need a user table perhaps to save certain settings or preferences by user?
Thank you both for your replies.
So, is it accurate to say that in a solution hosted on FileMaker Server, global fields in a table are essentially no different than global variables whose values are hard-coded in a startup script?
As the others have stated when creating a global field on a server the initial value is lost when the file is closed. I get around this by setting the values in the OnFirstWindow open script. This makes it easy to creat new global fields and when the need arises easy to change the initial value.
I would say that they are similar but not the same as global variables. Amongst other things global fields are great for building reporting systems that allow multiple users to access the same report but see different data based on relationships built on global fields.