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Moving Inter-company Data

Posted on 2013-05-24
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Last Modified: 2013-05-27
Hi

I have data that I need to move between a local company and an overseas company to avoid creating excel spread sheets which   is duplication of work. The data refers to new orders placed by the local company (data has container fields ,.jpg) the o/seas company to make comments and return data to Local co. this process continues until all queries are concluded and t5he orders are confirmed.

The Local  and O/Seas companies both have Filemaker Pro 11 installed.
I have a data set which is identified by, in this case a unique  Order Number .
At the moment I have script to collect specific data sets    and export the contents in .fp7   to a fixed location on the network.
Once the data is exported ,the next script step will email an .fp7 attachment to the recipient in the o/seas company who  will in turn , import the data into a matching db  .

The recipient is  restricted to one field for comment. The rest of the data remains unchanged.   They will repeat the process  and return the data to the local co.   where this data set is imported back into the original db. Comments and amendments are again made by the local company and the same data set follows the same process as before top the o/seas company until the orders are confirmed.
I have done some tests and seems like it will work but seems a bit longwinded and I did at the moment I do not know of another way that will be more efficient.
 Is there another way that this can be done ?
I do have FM Server 11...but have not used the  PHP facility and before I go into setting this up I would also like to have an opinion if this will indeed serve my purposes.
I have many more instances where I would like to implement a safe data interchange system
Any ideas will be welcome.
Thanks
Chris
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Question by:Krisraychris
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by:Will Loving
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Rather than exporting and re-importing data, why not simply allow the O/Seas companies to have direct, limited access to the data via FileMaker Server. You could create a restricted Privilege Set that allows them Read-only access to all fields except the Comments field and which allows them to only see records that pertain to their company. This would be far more efficient than the laborious export/import process.
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by:Madnhain
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I agree with willmcn, though a method I've used before is this:
place the DB in a shared folder in a cloud. (I've used google drive as well as dropbox successfully) both companies can access the DB and make alterations. It's simple enough to set up a shared folder on a cloud and place the DB file into that shared folder.
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Will Loving earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
Madnhain's suggestion will work but you run a distinct risk of data corruption by having the file opened directly (by double-clicking the file in a shared drive or folder) by two or more users at the same time. FileMaker files should not be opened by more than one user in this fashion (through File Sharing). Doing do bypasses FileMaker's networking and data integrity checks which can lead to corrupted data.

The proper way to do this is to have the file hosted using FileMaker Pro of FileMaker Server and have users connect using Open Remote, selecting the IP address of the host computer, and the selecting the file.

If you have FileMaker Server then you are all set already and know now to do this. If you do not have FM Server I strongly recommend it for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the ability to schedule frequent, automated backups but also the ability to run scripts on the server on a scheduled basis.

If you only have FileMaker Pro to work with, you can still use it as a server to host to up to five users simultaneously. In order for external users to connect to it the following conditions must be met:

1. FM Pro and the databases are running 24/7 on a computer

2. The files are set to networking (File -> Sharing)

3. The host computer has a fixed IP address, either an external IP or if behind a router, an internal IP such as 192.168.1.150 or 10.0.0.150 depending on what internal subnet you're using.

4. If the host computer is behind a router, the router needs to have Port Forwarding for port 5003 set to the internal IP address of the host computer.

5. If you have have a router, the external IP address of the router must be either a fixed address - provided by your IP provider - or you use a service like DynDNS so that users can enter something like mydatabase.dyndns.org in order to reach the db.

The above might sound like a lot but it's actually very straightforward and relatively quick and easy to setup. And, it's far easier than your export/import strategy.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Krisraychris
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Thank you for both inputs.The drop box and I cloud option will work on other applications but I feel the route to go is via FMS.
I have had several set up issues so far but will continue and may have questions later.
Many Thanks
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