Product Details: Product
Product: Act! Premium Cloud
Setting up an offline client for an Act! in the Cloud database is a useful tool which allows customers to continue to use Act! when not always able to be connected to the internet. The following are best practice recommendations for using offline clients to ensure users get the most out of the functionality and avoid synchronisation issues.
Regular Syncronisation Schedule
As changes are made in offline clients or in the associated Act! in the Cloud database users need to synchronise the offline client so changes are made and visible in the main database and all associated offline clients.
Swiftpage strongly recommends synchronising each offline client at least once a day and more frequently if large amounts of data are changed or added daily. Swiftpage also recommends users set up Act! Scheduler, on each machine with an offline client, to automatically synchronise so users do not need to remember to do so each day.
In addition, if there are multiple offline clients for an Act! in the Cloud database it is strongly recommended that the scheduled synchronisation of each of them is staggered to avoid any bottle-necks. For example, if there are 5 offline clients the first is set to synchronise at 9am, the next at 11am and so on.
Number of Offline Clients
It is recommended the number of offline clients set up for each Act! in the Cloud database is kept to a minimum. The more offline clients from one main database, the more likely it is that any given offline client is going to be out of date.
If there are several users in the same office (or VPN network if they work remotely) who need access to an offline client it is recommended that one offline client is created and shared with those users.
Act! is designed for the data entered into notes, histories and activity details etc. to be added in plain text only. Special characters, formatting and emojis added to the database will stop the offline client from synchronising successfully.
To avoid the addition of these characters it is recommended that text is typed into these record types. Alternatively, if there are large amounts of text to add into these records from another source, it is strongly recommended the texted is copied first into a plain text editor, such as notepad, to remove any hidden character formatting before copying and pasting the text from the editor into Act!.
Images added text field within records is another cause of synchronisation failing. If it is necessary to add an image to a note, history or activity then it should be attached to the record using the attach function rather than pasting into the text field. If an image is pasted into a text field it is very likely the offline client will not be able to successfully synchronise.
If users need to make a large number of changes to a database – for example imports, or changing records en mass – then Swiftpage strongly recommend splitting the changes into smaller sections and synchronising between each one. This avoids synchronisations running over into other scheduled synchronisations and causing resource bottle necks. It also avoids the synchronisation timing out before the data has successfully synchronised. This is especially important for environments with multiple offline clients as the delays and synchronisation issues can be compounded with large amounts of data needing to be synchronised to all databases.
Swiftpage regularly perform data checks and maintenance on all Act! in the Cloud databases and it is recommended that users do similar for their offline clients by running weekly check and repairs. This can be completed either from within the offline client itself via Tools > Database Maintenance > Check and Repair or via the Act! Scheduler to automate the maintenance. Whichever approach is taken it is strongly recommended that a backup of the offline client is taken prior to commencing the check and repair (note: it is possible to use the scheduler to automate backups as well).