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Last updated: 12 Jul 2002
You can have multiple Approach applications use the same database at the same time on a network with no problems. The .adx index files are specific to a particular .dbf and they can be shared across any number of .apr files as long as the .apr file formats are the same.
Make sure the time and date on all machines are synchronized and have the same file sharing options set, otherwise problems can occur. Also ensure that each machine has plenty of spare hard disk space for temporary files.
There is no special network version of Approach. When you are doing the installation you will be asked if it is to go onto a desktop or a server. Check the README.WRI that comes with Approach and the Manual for future information.
However, as with all software (executables) you will notice a drop in performance running Approach from the LAN server compared to the running it on a desktop. Some report that the drop in performance is particularly marked if you use calculated fields. The general consensus therefore seems to be that you should run Approach on each desktop individually, but just store the data and the .vew/.apr files on the server. With this configuration the speed of your desktops is more critical than the speed of your server. So if you have a choice, use an older slower computer as the server, and your fastest computers as workstations. This configuration also means you won't be loading your network up with large executables. However, unless you have software distribution software, the "software" person to go nuts if there are 100 workstations to upgrade at some stage in the future... I guess you'll just have to way up the pros and cons. Multiple users can open the APR file and the data file. Approach will handle record locking to prevent people overwriting data someone else updated.
Another thing that may influence the performance of the network (and hence Approach) is your choice of protocol. If you are running NT or a peer-to-peer Win 95 network then you will get much better performance out of NetBEUI (a Microsoft protocol) compared to IPX/SPX (a Novell protocol)
Note: The file locking protocol (Approach, dBase4, or dBase3 ...) must be the same on all the workstations to maintain the integrity of your files. This is specified in approach.ini (in MS-Windows 95 or earlier) or the registry (in MS-Windows 98 or later). For MS-Windows 95 and earlier, the approach.ini should have one of the following settings:
... To optimize sharing for approach (preferred) use:
... If applications other than approach may access the dBase4 files use:
In MS-Windows 98 or later, the registry should contain the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lotus\Approach\99.0\General\sdBaseFileSharingMethod = DBASE4.
Restart Approach for these settings to take effect.
If you are having trouble with network errors, try searching this FAQ for the error message. There are a few articles on different error messages.
One problem that frequently drives people up the wall is when a database is made read only using network security or read and write passwords in the .apr, the has user go through several 'file is read only' messages when the database is opened. To get around this, rather than protecting the database files with network security, make different views for the different user types, and make appropriate fields on the forms Read-only. You will not be able to use Worksheets, though. Use network security to control access to the .apr's