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Noob Question: External container storage

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I've read that container data shouldn't be embedded in a FileMaker Pro (FMP) solution because it can slow performance so external storage is a better way to go. I get that. However, I'm a little confused as to how to go about it even after reading the online FileMaker Help/Info pages.

Here's what we have: a portal, accessible by IWP, where users will upload their .pdf's to our (virtualized) Windows/FileMaker Pro server by clicking the button, UPLOAD. Currently, .pdf's are embedded in the field, Container__lxr; the plan is to use SuperContainer--or some other means--to allow users to view the stored (or referenced) .pdf's instead of having to download them to be viewed later.

In File > Manage Containers--and in the container field's Option tab--you can see what it looks like in the attached. 

Where to I go from here so an uploaded .pdf is stored as a reference (outside the solution) and it can be found by SuperContainer. (On that note, do I even need SuperContainer or is there a native way--say, using the web viewer, to view .pdf's?)

I know any response will be lengthy so thanks in advance for your time and reply/replies.



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Edited by TeacherEd

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FileMaker Remote containers differ from SuperContainer.

FileMaker does its job by trying to only maintain one copy of a given attachment therefore in your example above for the open storage - many developers will include the unique ID or some other primary key to the path.

"CHECK_LIST_DATA/Container_lxr/" & Table::UUID & "/" 


"CHECK_LIST_DATA/Container_lxr/" & Table::ID & "/" 

this will create a folder for each attachment where that attachment will reside. Plus if your storing them in OPEN manner you may have some means of matching records to attachments should something go sideways. (with secure containers all bets are off)

I believe FMP does a md5 check on the path and attachment and if it already exists may create internal hard links to the other records. 

All developers recommend not messing with remote container folders so as not to break connection to the record.  

In one project I used a path of:  folder & "/"   where folder was a field.

Choose ( 

Length ( _ID_Image ) ; "0" ; 

"0000" ; //1
"0000" ; //2
"0000" ; //3
Left ( _ID_Image ; 1 ) & "000" ; //4
Left ( _ID_Image ; 2 ) & "000" ; //5
Left ( _ID_Image ; 3 ) & "000" ; //6
Left ( _ID_Image ; 4 ) & "000" ; //7


based on the length of the image id it would place images in to folders of 1000 to be more performant you don't want a directory of 30k images. 

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depending on the nature of the file I have also name spaced the folders to be YYYY / MM / ID  so that you can get a sense of when files were uploaded. If needed adjust backup of files that are ancient and seldom change. 

SuperContainer only stores a url to the file.

And it has the added advantage so that you can obfuscate the URL by a UUID and then send that link to a third party where they can see the attachment, pdf / zip -  I have used it in the past as a way to send large files, and only emailng a link - and not need a third party service to transfer large files. 

one thing to be aware of is the hard limit of file path on windows - i think 256 characters including / and spaces. (if memory serves)



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Thank you!

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