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Synchronising a small Lotus Approach database RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    My wife and two others run a small community theatre. They currently each have a copy of the theatre membership database which is a Lotus Approach database and has four files amounting to 2MB of data. The database isn't updated very frequently, perhaps weekly, and usually by one person. Occasionally they forget to distribute the latest copy correctly between them.

    I have been thinking that Live Mesh could be used to share the database between them. They would be prepared to work with one person having write access and the other two having readonly access.

    I'm writing here to seek opinions or experiences from others.

    I've taken a quick look and one possible issue is that Lotus Approach appears to update one of the four files ever time it is opened and closed, even if no changes are made. I believe that file, members.adx, is some form of index and I'm hoping that Approach would cope if it was unable to write to it because the mesh folder had it set to readonly. I've not been able to test that yet.

    I'm hoping someone else may have experience of trying this?

    All the best,
    Mark
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:53 AM

Answers

  • Thanks for confirming that Steve. I've now had the opportunity do a test setup with two machines and the Lotus Approach database. If I open the database on a Mesh Reader machine then Lotus Approach displays a dialog box saying members.dbf is read-only. It then opens the database in read-only mode and doesn't try to update the members.adx file when it's closed. So it seems to work really well. Thanks very much for your help. All the best, Mark
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:02 PM

All replies

  • I have no experience with it, but you can probably use Live Mesh or Live Sync (sync.live.com) to accomplish this. In fact, if you don't need a copy of the file in the cloud, Live Sync may be the better alternative.
    What you will want to do is to make sure that the database is located in a folder that has public permissions. Live Mesh transfers the local permissions for the file to the Mesh, so if the file is saved on PC#1 by someone that has unique permissions, it will keep those permissions when someone else tries to access the file that they received via the sync.
    No matter what solution you choose, there is no way to prevent multiple people from updating the file at multiple locations. If that happens, when the file syncs, you'll be presented with a conflict to resolve as there is no delta sync where only the changes are merged. The entire file will sync.
    -steve
    ~ Microsoft MVP Windows Live ~ Windows Live OneCare| Live Mesh|MS Security Essentials Forums Moderator ~
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 2:06 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Stephen,

    Thank you for your reply. I chose Live Mesh rather than Live Sync since I thought that would improve the opportunity for syncing from one person to another, since there's no guarantee that they will have their computers on at the same time.

    Your explanation of file permissions might explain the behaviour I saw. I created a test Mesh with user1. user1 has Creator permissions in Live Mesh. I added user2 and gave user2 Reader permissions in Live Mesh. The test folder was a subdirectory of My Documents in user1's PC. user1 created a test text file in the directory. I moved to user2's PC. I can open the test text file. If I try to save it Notepad acts as though I don't have write permission. If I look at File->Properties of the test text file on user2's PC it looks as though the file owner is user2 and that user2 has full control. So my assumption was that Live Mesh is jumping in and preventing user2 writing to the file. Am I wrong?

    BTW: user2 can create new files in the mesh folder. Those new files are not copied back to user1. I'm ok with that since user2 is a Reader, although I half expected user2 not to be allowed to create any files.

    Cheers,
    Mark
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 2:23 PM
  • Yes, you'd need to allow all users to have creator rights in order for the sync to go both ways. By making User2 a reader, no changes will be allowed. User 2 would need to make a copy of the file first, but it still won't sync back automatically.
    And, yes, the Live Desktop will allow that any changes can be synchronized from the cloud so that any one machine can be online to make changes.
    -steve
    ~ Microsoft MVP Windows Live ~ Windows Live OneCare| Live Mesh|MS Security Essentials Forums Moderator ~
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:22 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for confirming that Steve. I've now had the opportunity do a test setup with two machines and the Lotus Approach database. If I open the database on a Mesh Reader machine then Lotus Approach displays a dialog box saying members.dbf is read-only. It then opens the database in read-only mode and doesn't try to update the members.adx file when it's closed. So it seems to work really well. Thanks very much for your help. All the best, Mark
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:02 PM
  • Glad that I was able to help and good luck with the implementation. It sounds like a good solution for you.
    -steve
    ~ Microsoft MVP Windows Live ~ Windows Live OneCare| Live Mesh|MS Security Essentials Forums Moderator ~
    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 1:09 PM
    Moderator