1 2 Previous Next 20 Replies Latest reply on Feb 6, 2014 6:55 AM by beaconny

    Peer-to-peer sharing clarification

    beaconny

      Background

      For my application (based on the separation model), I have 2 FM database files, front-end (the interface) and back-end (the data file).

      Using the Manage External Data Sources, the front-end is configured to use the back-end file.

      I will have 3 users, who will each have on their Mac computers a copy of FM pro 12 and a copy of the front-end file. The back-end file will be stored on the local area network server.

       

      My questions have to do with the actual process used for the users to access and use the application.

       

      (1) Do they simply open the front-end on their computer?

      (2) I noticed there is a Sharing > Filemaker Network Settings command. Do I need to configure that dialog?

      (2a) If so, does this only need to be done one time?

      (2b) If so, I am not sure how to configure the options. Here is my guess, please tell me if I am correct.

       

        • Configure only for the back-end, since that is the file that will be shared?
        • Set Network Sharing: On
        • Have no idea what the Open Remote File dialog does.

       

      All help is appreciated as I am neither network knowledgeable nor a very experience FM developer (come from I Microsoft Access background).

        • 1. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
          BruceRobertson

          Hopefully others will expand on this shortly in more detail. But:

           

          "The back-end file will be stored on the local area network server."

           

          You really really really do not want to do this. That is not "peer to peer", it is not how FileMaker data sharing is designed to work

          .

          It is highly likely that such a practice will damage your file.

          • 2. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
            wimdecorte

            I can't strongly enough stress what Bruce is saying: DO NOT DO WHAT YOU INTEND TO DO.

             

            In order to share FM files they have to be hosted.  "peer-to-peer" means they are hosted by a regular copy of FileMaker Pro and not FileMaker Server

            • 3. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
              beaconny

              OK, I am getting the message. Maybe you can come up with a suggestion. The reason I wanted to put the back-end on their lan was to ensure that all users (all 3 that is), could use the application.

               

              If the back-end file is on someone's computer, then that computer must be turned on for the data to be accessable. Can you describe the scenario for peer-to-peer sharing? I think I do not understand. If the back-end is on someone's computer, then does the filemaker app on that computer have to be started for others to access it?  I was looking for a solution where everyone independently can start the front-end app and access the data. I thought that was what peer-to-peer meant. Thanks for some clarification.

              • 4. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                wimdecorte

                beaconny wrote:

                I was looking for a solution where everyone independently can start the front-end app and access the data

                 

                FileMaker Server.

                 

                In my opinion there really is not a good scenario for peer-to-peer sharing.  The functionality is there and you can use it but it lacks some serious functionality, primarily the ability to do live backups.

                 

                Also keep in mind that the number of concurrent peer-to-peer connections has been dropped from 9 to 5 in FM13.

                • 5. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                  BruceRobertson

                  The goal of multiple users connecting independently to do whatever they need to is a normal FileMaker multi-user scenario.

                  Just not the way you were orginally thinking about it.

                   

                  The best approach, as Wim says is to use FileMaker Server, which also requries a dedicated computer running FileMaker Server.

                   

                  See:

                  http://www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-server/

                   

                  In the case of real FileMaker peer-to-peer sharing, you still require a dedicated computer but it can be running just FileMaker Pro.

                  And yes, that computer must have the file(s) always open, must be set to act as host, and can't be aribitrarily shut down or used for other tasks.

                   

                  What is the nature of your system? What is its business use?

                  • 6. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                    ch0c0halic

                    I think I understand what you are trying to do. The separation model can be a valuable design. But your deployment is, IMHO, wrong.

                     

                    By putting the Front End file on each computer you are creating a support nightmare for yourself. When you roll out a new version everyone who is using it must be notified and forced to update their copy. If its not done for them you can be sure they will end up with multiple copies of the Front End file on their computer. And will open the wrong one, forcing yet another update.

                     

                    Put both files on the ‘Back-End’ server. That computer should be running FileMaker Server. You do not turn on the computer’s file sharing as FMS uses its own. Each file must be set up properly with an access privilege set to use FMP sharing, and other’s as desired. I suggest you turn on all access methods in the Full Access Privilege set so you can always get into and perform testing with your developer account.

                    • 7. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                      beaconny

                      First, thanks for taking the time to answer. The business makes high-end furniture. The accounting, tracking of customers, etc is done in Quickbooks. The app I am writing is simply to track their jobs, what materials are needed, when does it need to ship, etc. Only has 2 main layouts, not complicated. Does not get intensive use. People just need to see what if going on with their jobs and occasionally update a few fields. They cannot possibly afford Filemaker Server. There will only be 2 or maybe 3 people using my app. Backups are done at night, after everything shut down. Originally they were using Access, with no problems. However when they switched over to the Mac world, they wanted an app that would run directly on the Mac, not using VMware Fusion. So...

                       

                      Question 1

                      So first, to better understand peer-to-peer sharing, does everyone have a copy of FM on their computer and then access the same (unique) app, wherever it is located?

                       

                      Quesion 2

                      If the above is true, is there anything special the first person has to do in order to allow sharing, or can that be done once. Is there anything special that additional users need to do? In other words, what kind of configuration need to be set?

                       

                      Question 3

                      For my own understanding, why can't the FM files be located on their LAN server, instead of on a local computer?

                       

                      Thanks for reading and I await your response.

                      • 8. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                        wimdecorte

                        for more info on sharing:

                        http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6097/kw/sharing

                         

                        As to your questions:

                        1) Yes.  Problem is that you need to know in advance who is the host.  So the folder where the files are can not be shared in any way through the OS, so the same machine has to be the host of the files at all times.

                        If you share the folder where the files are, the anyone can be host, but at the same time anyone can try to open the files from that share directly instead of going through FileMaker's "Open Remote' protocol.  And that will corrupt your files at some point

                         

                        You make the analogy with Access:  Access does allow acces through network sharing but its sharing capabilities are very limited.  FileMaker offers a far more robust sharing mechanism but you can not use the OS sharing function.

                         

                        2) The first person = the host has to open the files.  All other users have to use "open remote" to connect to the shared files.  The first perosn has to be always the same one.  In other words: the files cannot be in a network share every everyone can get to them.  All guests have to use "open remote"

                         

                        3) because filemaker requires exclusive lock on the files to do the reading from and writing to the file across all requrests from all clients.

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                        • 9. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                          BruceRobertson

                          Excellent answers from Wim but perhaps one further comment about the "instead" part:

                          "For my own understanding, why can't the FM files be located on their LAN server, instead of on a local computer?"

                           

                          The FileMaker files can - and should - be on a LAN device - but that device is the device you have designated and dedicated as the FileMaker Server computer. It is not a "local" computer, is not to be used for general user computing.

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                            BruceHerbach

                            The best way of sharing the database is to have it hosted on a FileMaker server.  The others have already given you a some good advice regarding this.  If the real issue is the cost of FileMaker server,  there are a number of FileMaker Hosting companies that will host your database and everyone will access it from the Host companies server.  Depending on the size of the database these start at $19/ month.    Part of the cost determination  is the size of the database.  If you are going to store images in Container fields,  it can grow quickly.  This will probably drive the monthly cost up fairly quickly.

                             

                            So in short my suggestion would be to start with the Hosting company.  Try it.  If the database does it's job and becomes a key business item then you can justify the cost of a server and backup system.

                            • 11. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                              jormond

                              If one were to do a peer-to-peer setup, you would need the following:

                              • A PC/Mac dedicated to host the file. You really don't want the machine doing anything else.
                              • An extra license of FM Pro, to leave open and host the file.
                              • A license for FM Pro on each machine accessing the file.
                              • Some automated scripts setup to "Save a copy as..." to save backups of the file to an external file server.

                               

                              With the cost of FM Pro, it may be worth, as Bruce mentioned, using a FM Hosting service. For a single file, it can be very inexpensive. The one thing you need to think about, what happens if our internet goes down? And you need to plan accordingly. No internet connection, no way to access the remote host. ( I personally regularly back up to a server that is local. If anything happens, we can keep working on the local file, and then push that back up to the server and only lose the work between the last backup and when the connection is lost ).

                              • 12. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                                beaconny

                                I am beginning to understand. Thanks for your last response. A little more clarification and I am ready to hand over the app to my client (my son-in-law) so it has to be right. Please let me know if I am right or wrong for each statement. If wrong, please explain.

                                 

                                (1) If a computer is dedicated to the app, that dedicated computer must contain the FM database files, but does not actually need to have a copy of the FM program. The only computers that need the FM program are those who will access the app.

                                 

                                (2) The same person (the host) must always open and close the app.

                                 

                                (3) The other people (the clients) must open the app via the FM File > Open Remote command (or a script that does this for them).

                                 

                                (4) The FM database files should be stored in a directory that is NOT shared on the network.

                                 

                                Thanks

                                • 13. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                                  wimdecorte

                                  beaconny wrote:

                                   

                                   

                                  (1) If a computer is dedicated to the app, that dedicated computer must contain the FM database files, but does not actually need to have a copy of the FM program. The only computers that need the FM program are those who will access the app.

                                   

                                  (4) The FM database files should be stored in a directory that is NOT shared on the network.

                                   

                                   

                                  #1 and #4 are mutually exlusive.

                                   

                                  The computer dedicated to the app has to have FileMaker Pro installed, has to have the files opened from its own hard drive.  That location can not be shared to the network

                                   

                                  Then all other computers need to have FM installed and use Open Remote to connect to the host

                                  • 14. Re: Peer-to-peer sharing clarification
                                    jormond

                                    1.  The files need to be hosted by either FM Server, or at least FM Pro.  Server is preferred and safer. If you can't afford Server, try a FM Hosting service. As an absolute last resort, use FM Pro on your dedicated machine and let a copy of FM Pro host the file.

                                     

                                    2.  The file must be hosted at the same IP Address. So you need a static IP address on the machine that is hosting the files.

                                     

                                    3.  Correct.

                                     

                                    4.  The OS file sharing should be turned off, correct. As well as any third party backup software, and anti-virus.

                                    beaconny wrote:

                                    (1) If a computer is dedicated to the app, that dedicated computer must contain the FM database files, but does not actually need to have a copy of the FM program. The only computers that need the FM program are those who will access the app.

                                     

                                    (2) The same person (the host) must always open and close the app.

                                     

                                    (3) The other people (the clients) must open the app via the FM File > Open Remote command (or a script that does this for them).

                                     

                                    (4) The FM database files should be stored in a directory that is NOT shared on the network.

                                     

                                    Thanks

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