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runtime solution accessing external file


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Hello all-

I am running a solution using FileMaker Server Advanced, with around 20 FileMaker Pro Clients. Since there are only a couple developers, and most of the other users are just regular users, I was thinking about deploying a runtime solution for them to use, so that we don't have to have so many FMPro licenses. But before I drop the cash on a copy of FileMaker Advanced to generate runtime solutions, I have a few questions.

First, right now, I have one FP7 file with all my data (around 1.8GB), and another file with scripts, layouts, and value lists (about 8MB), which manipulates the data file. Could I do this with advanced? Could I turn the file with the scripts, layouts, and value lists into my runtime solution and have it refer to the large data file, still hosted on the server? Would I get the same performance using a runtime solution? This is really important, because I don't want to be deploying a 2GB runtime solution to all my client machines, and I REALLY don't want to try to merge the data from 20 users at the end of the day.

Next, I've heard FileMaker Server can actually host a runtime solution. That would be cool, but how do you access it? Do you have to have FileMaker Pro to access it? If so, that's not as useful, at least not for me.

Is there an easy way to handle updates to a runtime solution? I was thinking that I'd just have a login script that downloads the newer version from a specified location on our network. But if there's a smarter way to do it, so much the better.

How do you deal with plugins? Can you bundle them into the runtime? I've got some XML files, and tiny commandline programs I use with my solution as well. Is there an easy way to bundle those, or should I just handle them normally?

Are there any other big hiccups and hurdles when converting an existing FP7 FileMaker Solution to runtime?

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Well, I may have just answered my own question.

According to this page:

http://www.filemaker.com/help/FMPA_Using%20Tools12.html

It says "Runtime applications cannot be shared over a network." Bummer.

If someone knows a way to make something like a runtime solution out of a FileMaker database that can be shared over a network, I'm all ears. Looks like we'll just have to keep using FileMaker Pro clients, though.

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Actually, yes they can: to my surprise, one of my clients created a "virtual network" on his server so he, as well as the rest of his staff, can access the FM runtime solution I wrote for him/FedEx from anywhere in the world that has Internet access; they just log into their server, click on the link to the runtime, and they're good-to-go. The only limitation is that only one user can access the runtime at a time.

How is a virtual network created? I haven't a clue--I'm not network savvy at all. However, this doesn't bode well for us developers since a client could order one copy of a runtime--instead of the (legal) one-per-computer or site license--and enable any number of users to use it.

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