Network

Mimosa permits unlimited number of users to access the same file simultaneously. When several users change the same file, the version saved by the latest user overrides all other versions. Therefore, if several users want to edit the same file, there must be some agreed rules how it is done, but the preferred way is to use either the File|Network or File|File Add... menu selection.

Note that this network functionality is a generalisation for using the selections File|File Export and File|File Add, which enable to export a Mimosa file into text format and then allow others to combine its content to their own Mimosa file. Collaborating in this way is recommended in the case when there are only few users.

Since all data items in Mimosa depend on each other, it is impossible to access the same file simultaneously. If some of the users wants to edit some of the items in Mimosa, the change is reflected to all other items in the file which are dependent on it. This dependency indirectly affects all items in a single Mimosa file, and when one of the users is about to make any change, all other users have to wait until the task is completed, in order to keep the file intact. Since this kind of setting would be slow and restrictive, merging of Mimosa files is the only way to.

This method allows the users to combine the files of other users in various ways and it also prevents from making mistakes accidentally.

Files are combined in the computer memory, and the files on the disk has not been modified. Since the resulting file may have conflicts or it may contains elements that the user does not want to have in the original file, it is always safer to store the content of the computer memory on disk with a different file name, until the user is accepted the changes that has been made. Note that when users combine several files, the combined file tends to grow, and when other users remove unnecessary events or resources, they are not removed from the combined file.

If the name of the current Mimosa file is peter.mfw and you are about to combine the files of Paul (paul.mxt) and Mary (mary.mxt) with this file, it is advised that you do the following:

  1. Save the current file in memory (peter.mfw) on disk with File|Save
  2. Invoke File|Network|Read from network
  3. Save the resulting file on disk with File|Save as and use another file name, such as all.mfw, containing the result of all combined files
  4. Analyse the conflicts and check its content

All users must have access to the same folder on the network, and the store a text file copy (.mxt) of their Mimosa file to this folder (File|Network|Write to Network). This is the same operation as in the selection File|File Export. Each user can make this operation when they want, and they keep their own Mimosa binary file in their own folder or laptop/desktop disk. When each user stores their file with a different name, the common folder will then contain copies of the Mimosa files of all users.

At any time, each user can select to read all or selected files from the network (File|Network|Read from Network). This is the same operation as in the selection File|File Add for a single file, but it is repeated for each file to be combined. After reading and combining the files, it is advisable that users save the resulting combined file with a different name than his/her default Mimosa file to review the changes. In this way, each user can contribute with her/his own content and each of the other users can select to merge the results of others in her/his own file. This arrangement ensures that users can always keep their own and combined versions and they can review the contents of both versions. When files are merged, Mimosa automatically removes the minimum amount of possible conflicting items.

The Network concept of Mimosa enables a lot of flexibility and users can easily change the working habits between network and single file access at any time. However, it is a good practice to follow the following rules:

  1. Use the same codes for resources in all files (to enable conflict checking).
  2. Use the same week schema in all files (to ensure that periods fall in same weeks).
  3. Use different Mimosa file names such as peter.mfw, paul.mfw and mary.mfw (to prevent file overwrites).

It is often simplest just to create one master file containing the list of all needed resources and then copy it to others with different file names.

You can also merge an unlimited number of files into one file automatically by creating a batch file and using the command line parameters (/W) and (/T). The batch file does not necessarily invoke Mimosa, but does the necessary operations for everytime in a similar way. The syntax of the lines in this batch file are of the form

mfw.exe filename.mfw textfile.mxt [/W] [/T]

where filename.mfw is the Mimosa file name and textfile.mxt is the Mimosa text file name and parameters [/W] and [/T] define the conversion direction. File names can also include file path names. See more information on page Import/export with text files.

When users want to share their files to other users, they select the command File|Network|Write to network, which stores a text file copy of the file into a folder which is accessible by all users and which is defined in File|Network|Select network folder. When all users have stored their files in this folder, the command File|Network|Read from network shows a list of stored files (in the sample case peter.mxt, paul.mxt and mary.mxt), which can then been combined selectively in any order with the Mimosa file user has read into memory. All conflicts are then removed from this combined file, and it can then be stored with a different file name (for security reasons).

Note that you can also split the resulting file into smaller parts with File|File Split and you can use the above instructions also, if you are about to use the selection File|File Add to combine files one by one.