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Working in FileMaker Pro

Synchronizing with a FileMaker Database

You will need to turn to your computer to prepare a mobile database to be synchronized with a desktop or server-based database.

Configuring a File to Be Published

Assuming that you have available a file you want to publish to your handheld device (or devices), the process of publishing is simply a matter of configuration through the use of the FileMaker Mobile 8 application.

The first step in preparing a file for publishing is turning on the extended privilege for FileMaker Mobile within the security settings for the appropriate privilege sets. You can do this from within FileMaker Mobile or from within FileMaker Pro. This then will allow any account associated with that privilege set to synchronize with your database.

For more information on extended privileges, see "Extended Privileges," p. 342

Important note: When you want to prepare a file for synchronization, you must have it on your local computer the first time you configure it. You cannot initially set a file for mobile access if it is hosted on another computer. FileMaker Mobile requires that an internal setting be established in a file; this process can happen only on a local computer. After this initial configuration is complete, you can subsequently change configuration settings while it is hosted elsewhere. Configure a file once locally with FileMaker Mobile and it will remain configurable from a networked copy of FileMaker Mobile from that point forward in perpetuity.

The main screen in FileMaker Mobile, shown in Figure 26.6, provides a listing of all the FileMaker Pro files that have been configured for handheld sharing and shows whether their sharing is currently enabled.

Figure 26.6. The FileMaker Mobile 8 desktop application allows for the configuration of the handheld publishing settings for FileMaker 7 or 8 files.

 

Adding and Removing Files

Clicking the Add button prompts you to select the desired FileMaker Pro file and then places you in the Settings dialog. The selected file may be a local file or a database hosted by FileMaker Server, but again you will need to have a file on your local computer if this is the first time you are configuring it for FileMaker Mobile access. You can also, if you choose, remove files by clicking the Remove button. Note that this only removes files from the list; any settings contained within them remain.

Permission Settings

Clicking the Settings button will display the file settings options for the selected database (see Figure 26.7). Note that you must have [Full Access] privileges in order to configure a FileMaker database for mobile synchronization.

Figure 26.7. The Mobile Settings dialog in FileMaker Mobile 8 allows you to configure (or reconfigure) a single file for handheld access.

Within the Mobile Settings dialog, you have three settings to work with:

  • Sharing
  • Fields
  • Synchronization

Sharing allows for the designation of which users, if any, are allowed to synch their handhelds to the selected database file. You can either choose to allow all users to synchronize with a given file, or choose to enable specific privilege sets to have access. In all cases, FileMaker Mobile will be enabling the [fmmobile] extended privilege within your FileMaker file.

From this dialog you can also shut off all access for users, regardless of other settings. This is normally used to temporarily disallow synchronization during upgrades, maintenance, and the like.

Field Configuration Settings

The Specify Fields button of the Mobile Settings dialog allows you to specify which fields are to be published via FileMaker Mobile and to set their properties within the mobile database (see Figure 26.8).

Figure 26.8. The FileMaker Mobile 8 field options determine how field information will be displayed on your handheld device.

No more than 50 fields from a single table may be published as a FileMaker Mobile handheld published database. Only fields of data type Text, Number, Date, and Time are supported by FileMaker Mobile 8.

  • Available Fields Must all be from the same single table. If you try to change tables, the application will clear fields added from a prior table. The FileMaker Mobile 8 handheld version does not support related tables and operations.
  • Handheld Field Properties Specify how a field appears and its behavior in the mobile database. You can choose a value list to associate if you've selected a format that requires one. Note that value lists in FileMaker Mobile can only be derived from fixed custom values (as opposed to being dynamically generated from field values or related records). You can opt to disallow entry into fields, essentially making them read-only. You can also enable auto-capitalization as is the convention on handheld devices. Last, you can specify what field label to use.

It is important to keep in mind the limitations of FileMaker Mobile 8, especially that only one table and a maximum of 50 fields (of type Text, Number, Date, or Time) from that table can be published to a handheld per database file. This means that FileMaker Mobile 8 databases running on handheld devices are not relational. Methods for working around this limitation are covered in the section "FileMaker Extra: Publishing Related Data," later in this chapter.

Synchronization Settings

The Synchronization button on the Mobile Settings dialog allows you to specify the rules by which FileMaker Mobile synchronizes data between two databases (see Figure 26.9). It is important to keep in mind that synchronization is a snapshot in time and that two data sets exist thereafter and will need to be reconciled at some future date. Also note that at the moment of synchronization, certain circumstances such as record locking can cause disparity between the computer/hosted data set and the handheld data set, so special attention must be paid to synchronization options.

Figure 26.9. The FileMaker Mobile 8 synchronization options determine what direction record data will flow between handheld and host/desktop.

The Mode setting allows you to specify the direction in which records will be transferred at synchronization time. These options control what data you want copied where, and how to handle override logic:

  • Bi-directional Records are moved from handheld to computer and from computer to handheld. This is often useful when live data is to be edited or verified at some remote location and then reconciled. Inventory control systems might utilize this form of synchronization. In the case of the same record being edited on both a handheld and the source database, the timestamp for last modification is used to resolve the conflict.
  • Upload to Desktop Only Records move from handheld to computer only in a one-way transaction. In this case, the computer acts as a repository for changes made on the handheld, and the handheld data takes precedence over the desktop data. People using FileMaker Mobile 8 to manage data collection activities driven entirely from their handheld devices will often use this mode. At the end of each synchronization, the handheld version of the database will be empty (contain no records).
  • Download to Handheld Only Records move from computer to handheld only, and the desktop data will override the handheld as necessary. In this case, the handheld acts as a display tool for data that is maintained on the computer or hosted version of the database. Any records that have been added to the handheld and do not also exist in the source (desktop client or hosted) database will be deleted.

    The Records option allows you to specify the set of records that are to be transferred to the handheld at the time of synchronization:

  • Found Set at Time of Synchronization It is important to note that the found set is not the same found set you may have present in FileMaker Pro. Instead, a script tied to the synchronization process must establish that found set. In other words, the found set referenced here must be created and is independent of the found set you, as the user, may be viewing at the time that the synchronization function is performed.

For help with solving the problem of establishing a found set before synchronization, see "Found Sets and Sessions" in the "Troubleshooting" section at the end of this chapter.

  • All Records All records in the given table will be synchronized.

    The Conflict Resolution setting designates what rule will be used to resolve conflicts that may occur in certain synchronization scenarios. The term conflict here is used to denote a record that has been modified both on the computer (or hosted) version and on the handheld version of the database. Of course, mode settings may override these settings when one database automatically takes precedence over another. The following are the choices available when reconciling conflicts in synchronization:

  • Duplicate Records Both versions of the record will be written to both of the designated databases. This will cause two similar versions of the same record to exist and will require that the user delete or modify the extraneous record.
  • Handheld Overwrites Desktop (or Server) The handheld's version of a conflicting record will be saved, and the computer's version deleted. Note that this operation creates a new record and deletes the conflicting record.
  • Desktop (or Server) Overwrites Handheld The computer's version of a conflicting record will be saved, and the handheld's version deleted.

The conditions for conflict resolution are based on the time and date of the last change made to a specific record. For example, let's say that you chose the Download to Handheld mode of synchronization, and then selected the Desktop Overwrites Handheld method of conflict resolution. In the case that a record is marked as having been changed on both sides, the desktop record would overwrite the record that was changed on the handheld.

The Actions setting allows you to specify a script to run before synchronization occurs and another after it is finished. It is through these means that you can perform tasks such as establishing a specific found set for synchronization or reconciling the lack of auto-entered serial IDs.

For help with scripting seeChapter 9, "Getting Started with Scripting," p. 247.

To learn how to deal with the case of missing serial ID values, see "Missing Index Values" in the "Troubleshooting" section at the end of this chapter.

 

Configure

Clicking Configure in FileMaker Mobile 8 prompts you for the selection of a FileMaker Pro file and allows you to access its FileMaker Mobile settings in one step. It will not automatically add the file to the list of handheld published files. The Add button must be used for that. Use the Configure setting if you want to configure a file but then don't intend to use your current computer for synchronization.

Users

Clicking the User button in FileMaker Mobile 8 displays the list of registered users and their Handheld License Keys applied on the specific copy of FileMaker Mobile 8 installed on the computer with which you're working. Multiple handhelds may be used with a single install of FileMaker Mobile 8, but each must have its own user code and license key.

Each handheld device is tied to one of the licenses used with FileMaker Mobile 8. In this scenario it is possible for an organization to have people typically out of the office synchronize with a single workstation shared among others and set with their key.


Troubleshooting

Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8

FileMaker Overview

Using FileMaker Pro

Defining and Working with Fields

Working with Layouts

Part II: Developing Solutions with FileMaker

Relational Database Design

Working with Multiple Tables

Working with Relationships

Getting Started with Calculations

Getting Started with Scripting

Getting Started with Reporting

Part III: Developer Techniques

Developing for Multiuser Deployment

Implementing Security

Advanced Interface Techniques

Advanced Calculation Techniques

Advanced Scripting Techniques

Advanced Portal Techniques

Debugging and Troubleshooting

Converting Systems from Previous Versions of FileMaker Pro

Part IV: Data Integration and Publishing

Importing Data into FileMaker Pro

Exporting Data from FileMaker

Instant Web Publishing

FileMaker and Web Services

Custom Web Publishing

Part V: Deploying a FileMaker Solution

Deploying and Extending FileMaker

FileMaker Server and Server Advanced

FileMaker Mobile

Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions

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Using FileMaker 8
Special Edition Using FileMaker 8
ISBN: 0789735121
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 296
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