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cat traveller

Filemaker 17 server on Mac with external container data saved on local dropbox business account

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In the past, we have been using filemaker to take care of everything business related.

Due to many people now working connected while on the move and the mix between clients and team collaborating on files, there are more and more times where people work on say e.g. an Excel file together while on the move. 

The mac server that hosts filemaker server could have the dropbox app installed and be logged in and a specific folder on the dropbox share of that server could have the permission for fmserver to read and write. 

What would be the drawbacks besides the time to synch once something is posted to use a folder on dropbox to host external container data?

Would this not open the option for everyone that has access to those files to amend even without filemaker when on the move?

Those files could also be made available for someone like a tax consultant as read only via a link?

Filemaker would then do the role of the DMS? 

Before we have used Supercontainer but with files outside of FM, people would need to download / checkout then re upload. This would get rid of the problem.

In case of an error, that file could be restored from the dropbox logic.

Any thoughts / ideas on this?

Thank you.




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The main issues besides the sync time:

  • File lock. This can happen from either side. Either FMS locking the file, or Dropbox. This would result in some unexpected, unpredictable, and potentially hazardous results. Conflict copies of files. Corrupted files that are only partially in-sync. Duplicate files. 
  • Simultaneous edits. Kind of the same like if symptoms as the last one, but more slanted toward conflicted copies or lost edits from last save wins scenarios. 

 Collaboration is not the same as sync. It certainly feels the same most of the time. However, differences require much different handling. Does that make sense?

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Yes, that makes total sense. 

So storing should not be an issue, the collaboration is what does not work. 

So users outside of filemaker could have read only access to the files, e.g. the tax accountant could have read access to the documents that are stored via filemaker. 

A project manager on the go without filemaker access could do the same, just the editing bit does not work then.

Not bad so far...

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I, typically, recommend against storing the LIVE file in Dropbox. Many claim they have never had an issue, but I have seen many, many files get corrupted because of either a partial sync, or a hiccup that causes Dropbox to pick up the file lock instead of FileMaker. 

If I am developing/working locally, I work on the file from the Desktop ( file saved to the Desktop directory ), and use a script to "Save a copy as" into the Dropbox folder.

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