Tim Dietrich

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EasySync: Beta Testing Update #2

Here is another update on how things are progressing with EasySync, the open source FileMaker sync framework that I have been working on.

Yesterday morning, after another sleepless night, I released EasySync Beta 6. This was the most extensive and complicated update to EasySync thus far. The most significant change involved switching from standard timestamps to UTC timestamps, which allows EasySync to work seamlessly in situations where multiple timezones are involved. Using standard timestamps was, admittedly, a rookie mistake - and one that I won't make again.

Beta 7 was released late yesterday afternoon. This was more of a maintenance release, as it resolved an issue that would come up if one of the table occurrences involved in the sync had a name that was not "SQL-friendly." It also included a small change that makes EasySync play more nicely with field-level auditing solutions, such as Ray Cologan's Ultra Log). Thanks go out to Hal Gumbert of CampSoftware for the suggestion.

At this point, EasySync seems to be very stable. In fact, there are no open issues that I am aware of, and even the "wish list” is dwindling.

So what is next for EasySync? Well, I am already working on EasySync Beta 8. Here is what you can expect to see:

Deletion Support. As I have posted before, I have spent a lot of time thinking about, and have had a lot of conversations with other developers about, how to handle deletions. What makes deletions tricky is that, if you let users really delete records, then there is nothing to sync - and things get weird as a result. There are a lot of different ways to handle this - keeping a list of what was deleted, doing a “sync check” with the server from time-to-time, and so on. But the approach that I’m taking is, I think, more reliable and “feels right.” Time will tell.

Partial Sync Demonstration. One of the questions that I am getting asked quite often is, “Can EasySync sync a single record?” An example of when this might be helpful is with a solution where the mobile user is out in the field, has collected a lot of data, and needs to push a small subset of that data to the server quickly. For example, maybe it is a sales solution, and the user wants to get an order in the system before a deadline - and doesn’t want to have to wait for a bunch of other things (changes to contacts, proposals, photos, etc) to sync with that order. It is an interesting request, and I believe that EasySync can handle it with a little creativity. Again, time will tell.

As far as ETA on EasySync 8 goes, there isn’t one just yet. I will continue to post updates to Twitter, and provide details here on my blog, as things progress.

In the meantime, please keep the questions, suggestions, and bug reports coming. And thanks for your interest in EasySync.

— Tim