File locking in Sharefile?

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  • Updated 4 weeks ago
Hi;

A customer of ours using sharefile is struggling a little.  They have an on-premise storagezone.  Their main way of accessing this is via the drive mapper.

We've run into an issue whereby the obvious lack of file locking is causing our customer a bit of a headache.  If multiple users open a file, whoever saves last wins, and overwrites everyone elses data!

The 'Check-out' feature could help here, but unfortunately it only seems to flag to users that they can't save-over a checked-out file at the point of saving, not at the point of opening.  This is not very useful to the users as they might have made a variety of changes before realising they can't commit those changes back to the file!

In addition, the icon-change on a checked-out file is very subtle, and easily missed by users.  Ultimately, it's just not the way they're used to working, and the elegance of NTFS / SMB file locking where they are immediately alerted to the fact another user has the file open is obviously superior.

We surely can't be alone here.  Is there another route the customer could be taking to implement some form of locking?  What other solutions are available that could help us solve this problem?

Many thanks!
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Mark Lomas

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Posted 1 month ago

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Prabhat Tyagi, Employee

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Hi Mark,

Thanks for your feedback.

Just so that I understand the issue, can you please confirm which ShareFile tool and file extension/application you are using for editing when a file is checked out by another user. Some tools like ShareFile Sync and ShareFile Drive Mapper apps, mark the checkout file as "read-only" wherever possible if it is checked out by another user and would not allow editing. 


 
Similarly for the desktop app, we disable "Open and Edit" option and thats another way to prevent allowing editing a file which is checked out. 




Cheers
Prabhat Tyagi
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Mark Lomas

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Hi

The tool the customer is using is the drive mapper.  The customer is experiencing a situation where if they simply double-click the file, another user is still free to open it (unlike in an SMB share that they were used to previously).

If the customer checks-out the file, will the user be notified when they open the file that the document cannot be edited?  Or would they only discover that when they go to save the file after making changes?

-- 
Mark Lomas
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Prabhat Tyagi, Employee

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Hi Mark,

If a file is checked out, Drive Mapper marks the file's property as "read only" for all other users. It also sets the "checkout" icon on these files. 

In such a case, many apps would handle it before allowing editing. Please see the screenshot on how a read only file would show up for word, and similar behavior should be there for other office files. However, some applications do load the content into memory (like WordPad/Notepad). In these cases, user is allowed to make changes and it would not be known until the file is saved back to disk.


Can you confirm which application/file type is the customer using?
I am assuming that the same files were not accessible/editable with smb share when another user was editing it? 

Cheers
Prabhat Tyagi
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Mark Lomas

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Hi there;

The applications in use are predominantly Office 2016 apps.

The customer's used to a Windows file share, where file locking is automatic, requires no user intervention, and provides very obvious alerting to others who attempt to open a locked file (typically in the form of a modal dialog).

Under Sharefile with the drive mapper, marking a file as checked out is an additional and manual step.  For others attempting to open the file, the visual cues are less obvious and could be missed.

If file locking is not an option, are there other routes we could explore?  Automatic checkout of files that are opened for example?

Many thanks
-- 
Mark Lomas
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Prabhat Tyagi, Employee

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Hi Mark,

Thanks again for your feedback.

As of now we don't have auto check out capability when a file is opened. However we have plans to add notification and alerting user on a potential conflict if a shared file is opened and changes are done by another user. I can not provide exact time line but some of these changes would be included in later releases of the new desktop tools that we have in Beta - https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX228273


Cheers
Prabhat Tyagi
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Keith Moore

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Prabhat,
We run into this issue frequently as well. An option to automatically check out a file when opened and check in when closed in Drive Mapper would solve our problems with conflicts. Is there a chance of that happening?

Thanks,
Keith
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Prabhat Tyagi, Employee

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Hi Keith,

Thank you for your inputs.

The consideration with automatically checking out is mistaking a "read" only intent. So in such a case wherein check out is done automatically, the user who first opens a file for only "view", would prevent others from getting write access. We also understand that the explicit check out option is an extra step that the user needs to take, and it is not a regular work flow.

I'll pass on both of the feedback, discuss with relevant teams and see what best we can offer. 


Cheers
Prabhat Tyagi
(Edited)
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Mark Lomas

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Hi Prabhat;
Most people opening a file do so to make changes.  In any case, why not at least give customers the choice?  Right now we're forcing a less common way of working onto people who want to work different, and expecting them to change their habits to suit the product.
Surely it would be far better to let users have some choices here, and have the product work the way that best fits their case?
I appreciate that right now there may be no options, but I would indeed appreciate it if you could pass along the feedback.
Many thanksMark Lomas
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Prabhat Tyagi, Employee

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Sure Mark. We will consider the feedback. 

Cheers
Prabhat Tyagi
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Keith Moore

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I agree with Mark's comment. Even if it's something set by group policy instead of the program interface, it would be usefull to us.
Thanks,Keith