FileMaker Go is a great technology to allow users to take their databases on the road. In a corporate setting sharing data is easy, just put the database on FileMaker Server and access the database via the Internet using a domain name or an IP address. Individual users without such a setup are left with a more complicated approach to getting their database onto their iOS device (iPhone/iPad/iPod). Dropbox, a cloud-base file sharing service, offers an alternate wireless route to getting databases onto an iPhone that doesn’t require plugging into a computer and launching iTunes.
Thanks to Joshua Paul at Neo Code Software for this tip. He set his sharing up using Syncplicity and details it here. I tried it with DropBox and got stumped, then he pointed out that I just left out the last step. Click the action arrow at the bottom right to send it to FileMaker Go. (Duh). Thanks Josh.
The Old Way
The standard way to get a database onto an iPhone is to plug in the device, launch iTunes and then do the following steps
- Select the device
- Select Apps
- Scroll to File Sharing area
- Scroll Apps list to find FileMaker Go
- Click on FileMaker Go
- Drag and Drop an App to the “FileMaker Go Documents” area
Dropbox and FileMaker Go
Drag and Drop your database file into a Dropbox folder
On your computer, drag and drop the FileMaker database you wish to send to your iDevice. Then, on your iPhone or iPad, log into your Dropbox account using the free Dropbox app.
FileMaker database file in Dropbox App list
Tapping on the file will start the download to your iOS device.
Database File downloading
Depending on the size of your database this will take a few seconds or minutes to load.
Use the Action icon to open the file in FileMaker Go.
Once the file has downloaded on your device, you should see this screen. This is where I got stopped. It does say “Unable to view file” after all. But of course there are more options under the action menu at the bottom right.
Prompted to select an App to open the file
Tap on FileMaker Go to open your database in FileMaker Go.
File launched in FileMaker Go
The downside of this technique is that, currently it appears this is a one way street. Once you download the file to your iPhone and then make changes, they don’t go back to the DropBox version. There appear to be no way for FileMaker Go to send it back to DropBox when closed.