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Importing files back into main database from "on the road" clone

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My company runs trade shows and my database keeps track of the trade show exhibitor's individual orders plus details about each show. While most of the data entry occurs at the office, we still have some show site orders and data entry that occurs on site during the event. While we have a VPN setup so that the on site people could theoretically connect into Filemaker Server to access the files, we often are working out of sites without internet access :

In the past it has only been me using the database in the office and on show site so I would simply download the entire database to my laptop and upload when I got back to the office. Now we are expanding and I need a way to offload the files for an individual show and import them back into the main database.

What I don’t quite understand is how to pull off the import of the records when they get back to the office.

Here is an example of some order records to illustrate my question.

Office Database before export

Order ID Exhibitor ID(f) Show ID(f) Order Date Item

1 8989 FTGA2006 8/1/06 Table

2 9098 AAA2006 8/1/06 Chair

3 7876 AAA2006 8/5/06 Stool

4 6754 NDIA2006 8/10/06 Carpet

Say that the above is the current database records at the office. Now my people are going to the AAA2006 show. I export all of the exhibitor, orders & payments for the AAA2006 into a clone of the office database. I would also leave the AAA2006 records in the office database as a sort of backup. Good so far.

Now at the AAA2006 show new orders are entered into the clone database and also new orders are being entered at the office for other upcoming shows.

Office Database

5 8793 PGA2006 8/20/06 Table

6 4313 FTGA2006 8/21/06 Chair

Showsite Clone Database

5 2343 AAA2006 8/20/06 Chair

6 1243 AAA2006 8/22/06 Carpet

What I thought I would do was import the showsite clone files back into the main database using the Match import feature and matching on the Order ID. I realize now that that wont work, I would lose the two orders that were entered into the office database. My next thought was to match on both Order ID and Show ID. This would solve the problem of it overwriting records that were created at the office (no one would be working on records for a show currently in progress). If I did this would I still end up with duplicate Order ID #s or would Filemaker assign new ID’s based on the auto enter rules of requiring a unique # in the Order ID field?

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that my problems are probably based on the fact that I was planning on keeping a copy of the records I exported in the Office Database as well as in the Showsite Clone Database. If I erased all of the AAA2006 records from the Office Database then I could just import the Showsite records using the “add new records import” correct? But wouldn’t I still possibly run into duplicate Order IDs?

I know I’m verbose but I like to make sure I explain myself as I know people here can come up with the best solutions when they have the most information. Thank you for anyone who helps. I guess I need a little background info on how importing works in general to answer my questions.

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The problem all boils down to the fact that you are getting duplicate order IDs. That's the problem with using an autoenter serial number to generate unique IDs. It only works as long as you never have to import records generated externally. You should consider developing a different unique record ID such as the one proposed by Kurt Knippel some time back. Then it's much easier to import your new records. Look here.

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