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Synch through Importing


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I have a somewhat complex problem. I need to be able to synchronize the records in a database from the filemaker server file and the local machine file. The file is accessed and changed by 4 or 5 people. I tried to use import updates as a solution, unfortunately the importing function doesn't take into account when the record was most recently updated. Thus updating and replace either the server file or local file with old information. Can someone point me to a viable solution without the use of an expensive plug-in. Thank you for your help.

BTW, putting the file online is not a ideal option since my boss wants to be able to work while offline as well. Some type of psudeo-synchronziation would be ideal since others access the database.

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First, Import, using Matching Records on a proper auto-entered serial ID will take into account which record was most recently modified. Otherwise it would be of no use at all.

Probably you got bit by the "did not Show All Records first" gotcha. You have to Show All Records first, because it cannot match or update records that are not in the found set (which is not very intuitive, because relationships generally can modify any matching record, found set or not).

It has 2 further kinks. The first is that it only considers the record as a whole. It does look at a record and see that Field1 is more recent in File1, but Field2 is more recent in File2, then make 'em both Field1 from File1 and Field2 from File2. It just uses all fields from whichever record has the latest mod date/time.

You could custom build such a field-by-field modification date/time stamp, comparison and custom update procedure. But that's kind of a pain (to put it mildly).

The other kink is that, as you can imagine, the Show All Records, Update Matching Records will get slower and slower as records increase.

The solution to that would be to only take recent records, and know which they were; but that still doesn't solve the field-by-field problem. There just is no simple inexpensive solution to what he wants. There are only what your boss would think are expensive solutions; SynDek http://www.syncdek.com/

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  • 3 weeks later...

a product plug, and more info...briefly....

A new version of SyncDeK, v5.0 is due for release in a month.

As mentioned, SyncDeK manages all of the export/import mapping, and field-level merge between unlimited number of users and/or FM Servers (in distributed database terms these are "nodes").

>BTW, putting the file online is not a ideal option since my boss wants

> to be able to work while offline as well.

Just your boss? Why not you, too? cool.gif

SyncDeK can synchronize without ever requiring direct connectivity between nodes. So your mobile user(s) can synchronize securely without returning to the office, and without you having to open up your FM Server to the Internet.

Jay Gonzales

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Aside from comparing update date/times, a replication process should also match deletions and handle conflicts.

I recently saw Jay demo the new version of SyncDek at a DIGFM meeting in the SF Bay Area, and I was quite impressed with the product. Syncdek 5.0 is much easier to integrate into your own solution than previous versions. It is also very fast, much faster than if you wrote your own process in FileMaker (their process is largely handled by a Java component they've authored). The price is very reasonable, and pales in comparison to the cost of your time if you were to try and build something even remotely similar yourself.

Speaking from experience, building a fully automated synchronization module is a major undertaking. It requires a good understanding of replication theory, quite a bit of design work, and lots of coding as well. If you write your own solution in FileMaker it will likely be difficult to maintain, based on FileMaker's development environment. Syncdek was able to escape some of the limitations of the FileMaker environment by using Java, and consequently their system is much more flexible and will grow much more painlessly than if you had written the tool in FileMaker.

I highly recommend seriously considering Syncdek, as it can prevent a tremendous amount of headaches. I imagine you could work something out with the folks at Syncdek to view a demonstration of the product before you commit to it. Good luck!

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