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Basic Flaw in FileMaker (server & client)??


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I'm new to FileMaker so I may be way off track, but here's my question: How does FileMaker know which file to open if multiple machines are hosting files with the same name? We have FileMaker Server 5 and it is hosting a file named "Y2K". As a test, I created another multiuser file named "Y2K" on my client PC (with totally different fields). I tested a script which uses the "OPEN" statement and it appears to open the first file named "Y2K" (which happens to be on my PC, not on the server). What this means is that now that we've had to put a fully-capable client on each user's machine, any user could potentially screw up existing scripts, etc. by simply creating and hosting a file with a name that matches an existing file hosted by the server.

Is this truly a problem or am I missing something? Why doesn't the OPEN statement in the scripting language allow you to specify the server?

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quote:

Originally posted by rsokoloski:

I'm new to FileMaker so I may be way off track, but here's my question: How does FileMaker know which file to open if multiple machines are hosting files with the same name? We have FileMaker Server 5 and it is hosting a file named "Y2K". As a test, I created another multiuser file named "Y2K" on my client PC (with totally different fields). I tested a script which uses the "OPEN" statement and it appears to open the first file named "Y2K" (which happens to be on my PC, not on the server). What this means is that now that we've had to put a fully-capable client on each user's machine, any user could potentially screw up existing scripts, etc. by simply creating and hosting a file with a name that matches an existing file hosted by the server.

Is this truly a problem or am I missing something? Why doesn't the OPEN statement in the scripting language allow you to specify the server?

This is potentially a problem with anything, not just FMP.

However FMP has a very particular search pattern (although not well documented). If you are using TCP/IP then FMP will first look to the IP address that the file is expected to be on. It will not look at any other places. If it does not find the file there then it looks in the Filemaker folder on the users HD, or the folder from which the user was in when they started opening files.

When using Appletalk this is a little more problematic, as FMP simply polls the network for for open copies of the file, although I think that it tries the servers first.

The solution is to make sure that no one create multi-user files with the same names as your server databases.

Yes, as much as you might not want to, you actually have to train your users and set policies regarding this kind of thing.

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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Kurt Knippel

Consultant

Database Resources

mailto:[email protected]

http://www.database-resources.com

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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I think that your response confirms my suspicion that this is a serious flaw in FileMaker. We have many divisions in our company, each with their own LAN connected by a WAN. This means that no two divisions, workgroups, etc. can use the same application (without modifying it to use different filenames). Also, the potential for inadvertently naming files the same is huge (e.g. employee.fp5). Lastly, saying that we should train our users to insure that they use unique filenames is like saying that we should train users of the internet that they should not write viruses - there's always going to be someone who wants to cause disruption and if proper security and safeguards are not built into the product, there will be nothing to stop them. It seems to me that if FileMaker wants to "grow up" and participate more fully in the enterprise, it must address these and other inherent flaws.

By the way, this problem does not exist in other products. Other products have fully qualified names for the database files including computer, folder, etc. or specific IP address, or some other comprehensive name resolution mechanism such as DNS. FileMaker's problems stem from the fact that it uses its own networking scheme to host files. This may have been appropriate in the early days when networking at the OS level was not very developed but it is an anamalie (and drawback) now.

[This message has been edited by rsokoloski (edited February 28, 2001).]

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quote:

Originally posted by rsokoloski:

I think that your response confirms my suspicion that this is a serious flaw in FileMaker. We have many divisions in our company, each with their own LAN connected by a WAN. This means that no two divisions, workgroups, etc. can use the same application (without modifying it to use different filenames). Also, the potential for inadvertently naming files the same is huge (e.g. employee.fp5). Lastly, saying that we should train our users to insure that they use unique filenames is like saying that we should train users of the internet that they should not write viruses - there's always going to be someone who wants to cause disruption and if proper security and safeguards are not built into the product, there will be nothing to stop them. It seems to me that if FileMaker wants to "grow up" and participate more fully in the enterprise, it must address these and other inherent flaws.

I was more referring to "applications" in general, where having a Word multiple documents named "Employee.doc" sitting on the server and possibly opened and edited by various individuals is very possible. Even more so if these are in shared locations.

quote:

By the way, this problem does not exist in other products. Other products have fully qualified names for the database files including computer, folder, etc. or specific IP address, or some other comprehensive name resolution mechanism such as DNS. FileMaker's problems stem from the fact that it uses its own networking scheme to host files. This may have been appropriate in the early days when networking at the OS level was not very developed but it is an anamalie (and drawback) now.

Then use the TCP/IP protocol, this essentially makes the name of any give file hostIP:filename. Only when using appletalk, where all systems actively broadcast themselves is this really problematic.

And just because other RDBMSs happen to do this naming for you does indicate a flaw in Filemaker. You can implement a similiar feature in your naming structure. Give the servers a code or something so that you have "001Employee.fp5" when setup and hosted on FMP Server "001". This is something that would be required of pretty much any other system.

Would it be nice if FMP did this for us? Absolutely, send it to them as a feature suggestion. It is a good idea.

------------------

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Kurt Knippel

Consultant

Database Resources

mailto:[email protected]

http://www.database-resources.com

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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