1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2015 12:31 PM by iceman7

    Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content

    iceman7

      I developed a solution that utilizes container fields in about a dozen different places through the solution. In about half dozen instances I used external storage. All was well for six months. Suddenly last week the linked container fields all display "missing." All of them. Linked files cannot be viewed, accessed or exported.

       

      I was directed by FileMaker Tech to copy the db and linked file folders to where I could work with them offline, shorten the file names/paths and then afterwards restore everything to the server. I did exactly that and believed resolution to the issue was at hand. Working locally on a different computer all the linked files displayed normally and were perfectly accessible.

       

      But when I copied everything back to the server: it was as before for all FM clients. Nothing was resolved. I have absolutely no idea what to do about this and it's a huge deal--not only with the immediate project. The next phase of work with this client was to help them go paperless. If FileMaker cannot reliably store linked documents....Houston, we have a problem.

        • 1. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
          Jonathan Jeffery

          Hi,

           

          The move from local to host solutions with external data can be a bit awkward!

          From memory, a local solution can specify any file path to be the root of the storage, but when hosted it is always in the RC_Data_FMS folder adjacent to the hosted file, with any specified 'local' path recreated inside that.

           

          At the end of that file-path, folders should have the structure: databaseName -> tableName -> fieldName

           

          One trick I have used in the past;

          1. Host the solution, but move everything of out the RC_Data_FMS folder (don't delete it, though!)
          2. Create a new record in your database, and save a sample file in a container field.
          3. The take a look at the RC_Data_FMS folder — there should now be some subfolders, ultimately containing your one saved file.

           

          This will give you a clue as to where the database is expecting to find the folder containing the externally-stored files.

          You can then stop your Filemaker server, move the old storage folders to this location (don't bother trying to 'correct' the file path — it'll be a loosing battle!).

           

           

          Remember the databaseName -> tableName -> fieldName structure, as you add other folders. Perhaps try a few fields/folders first of all, as a test.

           

          Start your database back up, and the files you've worked on should be re-linked with their containers. You can then go back and add the rest.

           

          One note of caution... we had a strange experience last week with a major online hosting company — when we retrieved a backup, the folders were not arranged as databaseName -> tableName -> fieldName, but every field's folder was placed inside another's – rather like Russian dolls. This made for impossibly long file paths that Windows Server couldn't cope with.

           

          In the end, I had to go back to the online solution, and change all the fields to internal storage, then move the database to its new location and the re-set the fields to external storage again. No idea why—whether this was a fault in the database itself, or the result of the hosting company's setup. I was time-pressured, and so I just fixed it and moved on.

           

          Hope this all helps,

           

          J.

           

          PS) a trick for dealing with impossibly long file paths in Windows, is to share the root folder (for example as 'mySharedFolder', then access the share via SMB; \\myServerIP\mySharedFolder

          You will then be able to access all the subfolders, and edit/copy/delete stuff as you need (to shorten the local file path)

          It turns out the file-path limits are a legacy issue of some parts of the operating system, but SMB is effectively unlimited.

          • 2. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
            iceman7

            What is very strange is that this was all working perfectly on the server for the past 6 months. Then suddenly last week everything showed up as 'missing.'

            • 3. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
              iceman7

              I am very grateful for the thought and depth of your response. At least it gives me a start of some things to try. This is all Mac based so I don't know if I need to be concerned about file/path name length or not. I found one FM tech document that suggested long file names could be a problem but it didn't specify how long is too long or provide much help. My attempt to shorten the names/depth didn't solve anything.

              • 4. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                siplus

                go to any of the referenced files in finder and do a get info on it, look at permissions. If for some strange reason a whole folder including images has wrong permissions, you will get this kind of problem.

                • 5. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                  Jonathan Jeffery

                  Macs shouldn't have any real path limit (thousands of characters long). Windows (for peculiar legacy reasons) can give you trouble if they get longer than 255 characters (give or take).

                   

                  I have no idea why the file paths would have suddenly gone astray... that would also give me sleepless nights!

                  • 6. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                    Jonathan Jeffery

                    That's true — the FMSadmins grounp needs to have read/write permissions, as I recall. This is a bit easier on Windows, where the permissions are inherited. On the Mac, I find the freeware BatCHmod a very user-friendly alternative to messing around with the terminal to set the permissions.

                    • 7. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                      iceman7

                      That was the first thing I suspected might have happened...and I did look at it.  The folders weren't locked but perhaps somehow the server lacks the permissions it needs. I'll double-check that for sure.

                      • 8. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                        iceman7

                        On Mac you can use the "Apply changes to enclosed items." But I've also been a BatCHmod user.

                        • 9. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                          iceman7

                          It didn't give me a sleepless night...but it stressed me out enough to get drunk last night. The very next scheduled project with this client is to use FM to help them go paperless. It wouldn't surprise me if this problem (going on it's third day unresolved) will dissuade them and kill that.

                          • 10. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                            Jonathan Jeffery

                            Yes for some reason, the 'get info' permissions interface doesn't give you access to the FMSadmins group

                            • 11. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                              siplus

                              We sometimes have the problem that the folder has the right permissions but some files inside it don't - when it happens, it happens because of windows computers connected smb and proprietary ophthalmologic software writing files directly into the directory.

                              • 12. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                                iceman7

                                OK...while taking a shower I think I now have a working theory of how the linked files suddenly went 'missing.'

                                 

                                It is troubling, however, as if my theory holds...it may be impossible to perfectly glue humpty dumpty back together again.

                                 

                                My theory:

                                1. The problem started further back in time than I thought...by at least a few days.

                                2. It started when I updated FM Server

                                3. Previously the linked files were *not* stored in the folder 'RC_Data_FMS,' but merely in a nearby folder that FM Server was readily able to see and access. It was working just fine.

                                4. When the Server was updated some of FileMaker's updated code made it more particular about where that linked data lived...or redirected the paths... and the existing connections were broken.


                                Now...if I can only fix it with minimal loss and additional time.

                                 

                                • 13. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                                  iceman7

                                  This is a living nightmare. It is now working for newly added files, but I can't get the server to see any of the previous files.

                                   

                                  I tried this (pasted below). The first part worked--I could see where the new file was added. But moving the files didn't force FMS to see them!

                                   

                                   

                                  ----------

                                  This will give you a clue as to where the database is expecting to find the folder containing the externally-stored files.

                                  You can then stop your Filemaker server, move the old storage folders to this location (don't bother trying to 'correct' the file path — it'll be a loosing battle!).

                                  • 14. Re: Container Fields Suddenly 'Missing' linked Content
                                    iceman7

                                    For now I have changed all my container fields to internal storage. I can't afford anymore downtime.

                                     

                                    But there were some casualties here:

                                    -A ton of my time was lost

                                    -About 4 days of linked files that were posted could not be restored.

                                     

                                    Maybe at some point I'll need to reconsider external storage, as I'm not happy about a 5GB filemaker file that will only increase in size. But that's a worry for another time. This took a toll on me.

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