Desktop Sync

Discuss the HanDBase for Windows Desktop program, conduits, and add-ons.

Desktop Sync

Postby CGRG » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:39 pm

Hello,
I have been reading the Forum Q/A for days and can't seem to wrap my head around some things. Currently I am using the Windows Desktop demo version. Based on the criteria below what do I need to purchase and how do I make any or all of this work? All the users will be working remotely and may or may not have continuous connectivity. iPad and iPhone users will be added in the near future.

1. I don’t want any users to have the option to make any changes or modifications to the forms. I purchased the iPad version but it allows editing and creating forms. I don’t want that.
2. I want users, working from remote locations using Windows laptops/iPhones/iPads to sync with a Desktop/Server once they are on the correct network.
3. I want the user to initiate the sync even if the server is unattended. (The desktop/server can be assigned a static IP Address).
4. Will there be an issue if two or more users try to sync at approximately the same time? Will I get a message saying something like another user is syncing, please wait.
6. I want the Desktop/Server to update an Access database after the sync is done.
7. Not needed now but, Can or will the sync send the most current data back to the laptops/iPhones/iPads from the Access database?
8. Can the sync be performed with an iPad/iPhone using the 3G / 4G connection?
9. I'm exploring a VPN. Will a VPN connection help, hinder or have no effect on any of the above requests? VPN should allow me to be on the correct network from anywhere.
Maybe the easiest
10. If much of the above is not possible and I need to use Dropbox, can I sync with a database in Dropbox and it contain the data of all other sync'd users?

Thanks for this wonderful product.
Michael
CGRG
 
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby dhaupert » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:58 am

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your post and kind words!

1. I don’t want any users to have the option to make any changes or modifications to the forms. I purchased the iPad version but it allows editing and creating forms. I don’t want that.


The DB Properties section can be password protected. So you can set a password and then users would not be able to get to the Forms editing section. You could also lock out editing of properties all together but that can be a bit dangerous.

For the next few questions I need to clarify a few things. HanDBase's current sync solutions always consist of a mobile device syncing to a desktop. HanDBase does not as of yet have a cloud sync feature where you can sync from remote locations. Nor do we offer a way to sync from one desktop to another (or from one handheld to another). That doesn't mean that you can't share data between them (I'll elaborate more on that later), just that the sync feature/function we offer is based on a local connection (ie, local wifi) and between a mobile device and a desktop.

2. I want users, working from remote locations using Windows laptops/iPhones/iPads to sync with a Desktop/Server once they are on the correct network.
3. I want the user to initiate the sync even if the server is unattended. (The desktop/server can be assigned a static IP Address).
4. Will there be an issue if two or more users try to sync at approximately the same time? Will I get a message saying something like another user is syncing, please wait.
6. I want the Desktop/Server to update an Access database after the sync is done.


Since we don't have a remote sync and it's not unattended, most of these don't really have applicable answers. What users do in these cases is typically one of three things:

- A shared drive over a network connection.
- Use DropBox or similar
- Email the databases as needed between locations. We have a merge function built into the desktop so if you receive a file via email or some other means, you can sync it manually by using the merge function.

Of those, the middle one (DropBox) is the easiest to set up and maintain. You can set a custom user in the desktop program that points to the DropBox folder location as though it were a user.

On the device side, since the sync is to the desktop, it would have to be to one of the local desktops for now. We are planning on releasing an automated cloud sync solution that will most likely be using DropBox for this and this is due before the year's end. In the meantime, the mobile versions can email, or manually export to DropBox.

7. Not needed now but, Can or will the sync send the most current data back to the laptops/iPhones/iPads from the Access database?


The sync that we do offer can indeed sync to an Access database and so when the mobile device syncs to a local desktop, it can also connect and sync the data from an Access database.

8. Can the sync be performed with an iPad/iPhone using the 3G / 4G connection?


Unfortunately the device is not accessible over the 4G/3G/LTE connection as those connections are not exposed to the outside world (cell sites use NAT to obscure the true IP address of the device, and this is a good thing overall for security reasons, but not for this reason). Because our solution uses the desktop to connect to the device, this is an issue. Incidentally we have a server based version of our conduit that works the opposite way- the mobile devices connected/sync to the desktop and thus as long as the desktop was allowing connections past the router and firewall, you could sync multiple devices to the same server based version even over cell data connections. This server based sync has not been updated in many years so we don't have iOS or Android versions that can sync to it. It's something that was frankly ahead of it's time and may be revisited in the future!

9. I'm exploring a VPN. Will a VPN connection help, hinder or have no effect on any of the above requests? VPN should allow me to be on the correct network from anywhere.


Wouldn't really apply due to the limits we have on syncing between desktops.

10. If much of the above is not possible and I need to use Dropbox, can I sync with a database in Dropbox and it contain the data of all other sync'd users?


Ultimately this is going to be the direction we will be going- if every client (desktops and mobiles) can sync to the same database file(s) on DropBox, then all of the above would be taken care of. Stay tuned for more on this in the coming months!
dhaupert
 
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby CGRG » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:23 pm

Bummer, I was hoping for some way that a user could start their sync and the master desktop would be 'listening' for an authorized user and sync with them.
I can't, no I won't let the users perform the sync process, not if they have to touch the master desktop. The way I understand the current process someone has to be at the master desktop to kick off the sync process. That could take a person dedicated to this process especially if there is a large user workgroup.

See me grasping at straws.
You mentioned a Shared Drive over a Network. Will this allow unmonitored syncing? How would I set it up for HanDBase?
The email option is out unless it is automatic. The Cloud option is borderline. It means the users would have to pick up the data from the Cloud. Basically I want my users to be experts in their field work and not have to think about how to get the data to and from the database.
I have no plans to sync the users to each other but have a Desktop be the Master Repository and all users would get their data from the master DB.

The Sync issue is giving me serious heartburn. I think I can work around many of the other things, but the sync issue, Ouch.

If I can't get the sync process to work unattended at the dektop I may be forced to create my Forms in ACCESS and let the user press a Sync button that kicks off a macro to upload their work to the master database, erase their DB and retrieve the contents of the master database. If it were done using a text file it shouldnt take too long or use too much data. This would require a bit of error checking but hopefully not too much.
ACCESS has a Runtime so I can load and run Access without having the full product.
This option restricts me to PC's only but there are some very good rugged Windows PC's on the market and have been, long before the iPad existed.
I certainly want to use your product.

Thanks for everything
Michael
CGRG
 
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby dhaupert » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:54 pm

Hi Michael,

You hit the nail on the head- there is no set and forget form of syncing with HanDBase at this time. Your statement of not having to worry about the details of syncing is indeed the impetus behind the development plans for cloud sync- the app would be automatically syncing to a central location in the background automatically. The desktop would be able to access this same database and hence everything would be automatic and 'magical'. But alas, cloud sync is not yet available for HanDBase. Hoping for the end of this year to have it so you can use that for your planning..
dhaupert
 
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby CGRG » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:28 pm

Thanks Dave.
I can stall everyone involved until the end of the year if necessary.

I will be checking back often. Could you use this Forum to keep me updated?
My toes are tingling with anticipation.
Or is it that my shoes are tied too tight. :D
CGRG
 
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby Brian_Houghton » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:47 am

CGRG wrote:Thanks Dave.
I can stall everyone involved until the end of the year if necessary.

I will be checking back often. Could you use this Forum to keep me updated?
My toes are tingling with anticipation.
Or is it that my shoes are tied too tight. :D


Hi,

We will be sure to let you know when cloud syncing is supported.

Thanks for your patience.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
Kind Regards,
Brian Houghton, DDH Software
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby CGRG » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:26 am

Hi Dave,
It's nearly a year later since my first post. Has there been any progress on creating an unattended sync.
What I mean by unattended is the user syncs with the desktop/server and no one has to be at the desktop/server. I also need for the users to be able to Save data when they are out of coverage and sync up the next time. Ideally there will be an indicator that shows how many records that have not been synced yet.
On startup there will be 100+ users.
Unattended sync is an absolute must. The users work different shifts and I don't have the resources for someone to be at the desktop or server 24/7.
Company policy prohibits me from using Cloud Services. Our email system blocks Executables. But We are on an intranet and all the users will have VPN software on their iPhones. The desktop or server has a static IP Address. The users are scattered hundreds of miles from the server and never come to the office.
A solution is really needed.
CGRG
 
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby Brian_Houghton » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:27 am

Hi,

Thanks for following up on this.

The route we are going at present is more of a cloud based sync that occurs in realtime instead of a traditional sync that requires no interaction on the desktop.

Regarding cloud services being prohibited, we do offer 128 bit encryption on fields within databases. I don't know if that makes any difference with regards to your company policy, but wanted to make sure you are aware of its existence.

Users who are out of coverage would have no problem with regards to the need to sync, since HanDBase stores all of its data locally on the device.
Kind Regards,
Brian Houghton, DDH Software
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby CGRG » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:40 pm

Company policy absolutely positively prohibits Cloud Services.
What are my options?
Somewhere in your supercharged brain is a solution. Maybe you can explain cloud to me. I have a Virtual Private Network that connects all my pc's, I can connect my iPhone to the network from anywhere in the world. The server where the desktop software will be running has a Static IP Address.

Are there no options except to use Cloud Services like Dropbox or have someone babysit the server? With 100 users email would kill me, Not considering the strain if this process took off and more users joined with my group.

If you arent able to assist, can you offer suggestions on where i could find something to accomplish what i need?
I'm at the end of my rope.
CGRG
 
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Re: Desktop Sync

Postby Gab-Hop » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:23 am

Hi Michael
I have been following this post with great hopes that something was on the way to a unassisted Sync through the current desktop/server setup
but as you are, i too am very disapointed as i cannot use cloud services
See this topic
http://www.ddhsoftware.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3441&start=10#p15028
Using the program on the desktop (Hot Keys) which will run comands in the backround i made a script so that each user only had to press the sync button on the device, then go to the desktop and press one button on the keyboard and the sync would start , each user would just use a different button on the desktop

The step i am up to which i have not yet worked out is a way to initiate the Key press command from the device
I tryed to do it with remote desktop just to see if it would work but found that the remote desktop would put the sync on hold, which i think is to do with relogging on the user
So i am thinking of a way , probably through wlan, to change a file name or something in the desktop's directry (ie. sync stop, to sync start)
The desktop's Hot Key script will be running all the time in the backround and see this change which will trigger the hot key comand and thus the sync will begin
I have android users and use windows 8 desktop but the concept should be the same
So if anyone can help i would love to get with them though i am not very tech wise miself i am sure this would be a great benefit to all

Thanks Gabriel H :?: :?:
Gab-Hop
 
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