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Managing datas collected by 5 or more iPads


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Hi all, i'm trying to figure witch is the best solution to collect information with some iPads and donwload it on FileMaker. I've FMTouch installed and after each iPad data collection, i must synch the device. I've one operator per iPad, and one Desk operator that must manage and update the data into FileMaker.

The database structure is this:

DataCenter. 1 table containing all the records, non destructive, to be updated daily.

iPad1 iPad2 etc. N tables, one for each device (iPad) where i import each time just the record that i need in that moment, to synch on the device. Destructive.

iPad1 iPad2 etc. N layouts, one for each table, distinguished by colors.

Many aggregate layouts to see the flow, statistics etc.

The flow of the job is this:

FileMaker database with data to update daily.

Every day i must update the database with new information, many times per day.

The Desk Op. must synch the iPads with the record to be update each time.

The iPad operators update the data's records on the devices doing their job and than come back to the Desk.

Here the Desk Op. synch the iPad downloading updated record plus new related records. Clear the data on the device and than pass via synch the new record to be update to the iPads.

Than the flow start again.

I must update one record at time.

My concern is how manage this.

For now i've a Layout for each iPad, distinguished by color. Each layout is related to a table. For example, 5 iPads, 5 Layouts, 5 Tables. Creating many DDR that contains just one layout and update it in each FMTouch, i can synch just the record i need for each device, importing it to the needed table from the DataCenter table, than synch, than update on iPads, synch twice, and than update in the DataCenter. Clearing all, than start again.

This Flow is very heavy and take a lot of time. Too many passage for just that simple operation but i've not find a simple way.

I cannot synch found set, neither synch records trough relations or pinter fields.

Any suggestion is welcome!


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  • 2 months later...

Hello Ganchan,

Sounds like your current method of syncing all those iPads would take several hours. My first suggestion would is to purchase FileMaker Server. But if that is out of your budget then you can dedicate one Operator computer as the Host for FileMaker Pro in a shared peer-to-peer network. The office PC (operator) would run the main database. You will have to either purchase a static IP or manually set the IP to a fixed address outside of the DNS pool of IPs that are issued dynamically.

1. Setup the office PC to run the main database as a shared database accessible to all users by password. (Up to 5 iPads can connect at the same time.)

2. Create a unique Account for each iPad in the main database.

3. Build an Opener file (small FileMaker database) that opens the main database by calling a script for Login.

4. Load the opener file onto each iPad using the FMTouch software. (This process is easier with FileMaker Go)

5. Start the App on each iPad and Login.

As long as your users have access to the network via WiFi this will work. You also must insure that the host PC will always be turned on and accessible ( static IP required ). This removes the need to constantly re-sync the records when they are brought back into the main database.

One note about multi-user databases: You must design the database so that Users are not conflicting with each other. This means that you must add either a login table so that users create their own record at login or you must design another method to prevent record-lock conflicts that can occur.

Good Luck.

- Charlie M.


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