Learn how to share information with other users with Concrete Quality!
What is ‘Synchronize’?
Synchronize is to send and receive data from the Concrete Quality’s web-based servers. When you synchronize you send the changes you’ve made to your database to the server, and you receive from the server all the changes made by other users that you share information with.
Every time you synchronize you make your data up to date, and let other users fetch the modifications you’ve made. Synchronize often!
Concrete Quality stores your data locally in your computer, so you can always access them even when you don’t have an internet connection or if you cancel your subscription. Additionally, this allows for a fast data access no matter your internet connection speed.
How to Synchronize?
To synchronize your data use the Cloud button. You will find it in the upper information bar, next to the Connection status gauge, and also inside the Options panel to the right.
You can access these buttons from any screen, they are always there.
The Synchronize button turns to a light blue color if synchronization is possible.
I can’t Synchronize!
If the synchronize button turns grey, check the Connection status gauge found in the upper information bar. This is what’s happening according to the gauge’s color:
- Red color: you have no connection. You may not have internet access or you closed the connection with the Disconnect button in the Options panel. Check your internet access or use the Connect button in the Options panel.
- Amber color: the application is trying to connect to the server. If it’s taking too long something may be happening with your user credentials or with our server. Try to restart the application.
- Green color: you are connected to our server, but your subscription is not active. You’ll see a notification in the Subscriptions section, you can activate it there.
Every time you synchronize with the Concrete Quality servers you are sending all the modifications you’ve made to your database. This includes changes in stored data, new entities that you created, and entities deletion.
1. Access anywhere
The data stored in the server can be downloaded to any computer you use. For example, if you work at home and at the office, you can have a copy of your data in both places, and keep them updated by synchronizing.
When you install Concrete Quality on a new computer, by entering your user name and password the application detects that it’s a new computer and it will try to synchronize automatically, so you can have all your data available.
You can install Concrete Quality on as many computers as you like, but the server will only allow a connection from one of them at a time.
2. Built-in backup
As you may have noticed, Synchronize can also be used as a backup for your data. If your computer breaks down you can download all your data from the Concrete Quality’s server into a new computer.
We make our own server database’s backups, and it’s very uncommon that a web server suffers data loss, but have in mind that the synchronization service and the Syncro Subscription do not entail a guarantee over your data. Each user is responsible for their own backup copies of the local database.
To make your own backup copy open the installation folder (usually My Documents\Concrete Quality) and look for a folder named UserX (where X is a number of one or more digits). There will be a “User” folder for each user using Concrete Quality in that computer. Inside this folder you’ll find the database file itself (named QualityControlDB.sdf). We recommend that you backup the whole folder, and don’t change its name.
Share information within your workgroup
The Synchronization has a major perk: it lets you share information with other users. It’s like having a common database, through the internet and without setting anything up!
To achieve this you must create a Workgroup and invite other users to join it. The process is quite simple, but if you need any help you can see the Communications Tutorial.
1. How synchronization works
When you synchronize, all the changes you’ve made inside your workgroup will be sent to the server. He (yeah, the server is a He) compares the changes you sent with the most updated information, and returns the real state of your entities. What does this mean, exactly? Let’s see an example:
You make a change at 10AM. Your partner changes the same thing using another computer at 11AM, and synchronizes immediately after that. You syncrhonize at 12AM. The value that prevails is your partner’s, even when you synchronized later than him, because you changed it at 10AM but he did at 11AM. Keep this in mind if you see that other user changes the data you entered.
Your private area works just like a regular workgroup but with only one user: You. If you work with more than one computer the time of the latest change will prevail over the time of the latest synchronization. This guarantees that even if you synchronize later with outdated data, these will be replaced with newer data.
2. Workgroup permissions
Our philosophy is to create an application that’s easy to use and easy to understand, and we show it in the permission structure within a workgroup: all the members are the same. There are no special permission configurations for different members. All workgroup’s members are allowed to create, read, update and delete entities, and have access to all the information stored in the workgroup.
This simplifies workgroup management big time. If someone should have a read only access, just tell him no to change anything. If any member does not behave as he should, you can expel him from the workgroup. After all, this is a software designed to be used at work and we expect that everyone behaves responsibly.
3. Other features
The entities that are modified or created by the synchronization process are highlighted so you can easily identify them. This highights are not sorted in the database, and will remain only while you keep the application open.
Only “parent” entities are highlighted, such as Batches, Locations, Materials, etc. “Child” entities that belong to other entities (like a Test Specimen that belongs to a Batch) are not highlighted, it’s the parent (the corresponding Batch) that is highlighted.
new entity created by synchronization
entity modified by synchronization
Example of entities highlighted as new and modified by synchronization
When you synchronize all your workgroups will be updated, you don’t need to perform a synchronization for each one. You will also receive the information of new workgroups you joined.
It’s recommended to synchronize your data before updating the application, so if something goes wrong you’ll be able to delete everything and re-install without data loss.
Share with other groups
In the next version of Concrete Quality you will be able to select entities and share them between workgroups, even if you are not a member of the group you are sharing that entity with.
This functionality is perfect to perform one-time joint work, and keeps the privacy of the data that you are not sharing explicitly.
In the next version of Concrete Quality you will be able to send copies of your entities to other workgroups, even if you are not a member of them.
This functionality is perfect to send test results or concrete sampling reports to customers.
When you send a copy the recipient gets the information that the entity has at that time, and from that moment on both copies work as independent entities: each one can modify them without the other party receiving the changes.
The entities you receive as copies are like any other: you can copy them in turn, share them, etc. They are yours and you can do with them whatever you want.