SoEasy is a network application which allows for many users to access the same data at the same time.

It achieves this through the creation and reference to two special files:

  1. SUPERBAS.NET < a network management file that tracks which user is working in a file
  2. *.SB! < a lock file that controls the locking of a record

The *.SB! file keeps track of which record a user is working in.

If another user wants to work on the same record, they will be told that another user is working on the record and to try again in a minute.

In SoEasy we use an additional network management technique where when a user logs onto the system, a temporary folder is created for them.

When they request information, a set of temporary files is created and data is copied into them. This allows the user to have more freedom to work in the data and reduces the 'data use collision frequency'.

On exiting the system:

  1. All network files are flushed to clear the user from the network management requirements
  2. Temporary files are deleted

These file management mechanisms are in place at all times and for the many thousands of hours of use, they are relatively trouble free. 

However they can have problems and they are not the easiest problems to resolve because to solve them, the user has to exit the system correctly so that the clearing process can be run.

Problems can occur mainly because a user did not exit the system correctly and now the SUPERBAS.NET file still thinks the user is logged on.

This could be any user in your team. You could be working on your tasks and next minute you get a message saying 'Invalid Network Lock File ...." and the system will want to close your session with the aim of clearing the network control files.

This is a difficult task because not all users are likely to log off and so the network control issue is still floating in the system somewhere until:

  • All users have logged off
  • And ultimately a reorganisation of files is performed (This does not need to be done on every incident)

All 'high volume data' software systems that allow users to edit the same data have this type of problem because it is how files and data can be shared. 

Luckily network issues do not happen often but if they do it is understandably frustrating to the user.

The best practices solutions to this problem are:

  1. Always exist SoEasy correctly by using the labeled 'Exit' button
  2. If you get kicked out of SoEasy for any reason, log back on and then immediately log back off. This will clear the control files and temporary files and provide you with a clean start when you next log on
  3. Reorganise files at least once a month as this also cleans the network control files