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Files On-demand + Require check out = useless?

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stenci
Occasional Contributor

I would like to use a site library with on-demand sync and with require check out.

 

I tested the two features independently and they work beautifully: 

- If the check out is not required then on-demand sync works as expected

- If the check out is required then the files can be checked out, edited online and checked back in as expected

 

But if I try to use the two things together it doesn't work as (I) expected:

- Enable the require check out

- Check out a file from the web interface

- Open a text file with Notepad from the file browser: it works as expected

- Edit and save: it's impossible

 

So my question is: what is the require check out for, if it prevents checked out files from being edited?

7 Replies

@stenci Lets start here "prevents files from being edited" this is purpose of checkout, one user checks out the document to edit so that they can have exclusive control of editing the document while it is checked out. They check it in, a different person may check it out or they may check it out again for further edits. Secondary purpose, it acts as a transaction start and end - while it is checked out there is a version maintained on the server that can be read without the changes that are being made to the document. Checking in closes that transaction and makes all the changes available to read.

 

Is it useless? Absolutely not - it is very useful in publishing scenarios. Check out, make changes, check in, get approval of changes, publish major version.

 

With your situation in Notepad, this is an application Microsoft produces that is not aware of the functions in SharePoint/OneDrive so it doesn't know when a check out/in is required and you experience the problems you described. So as long as you keep this in mind you can use Notepad, you have to go through the process to check out/in through OneDrive Sync or Web UI. There are other software that won't check for this process, so you just have to be aware of that. Most of Microsoft's products are aware and even some third party software is (Adobe Suite I believe is aware of this too).

 

Maybe it would be good to seek out some site administration training for SharePoint? Topics like this should be covered there.

@Timothy Balk 

Thanks for your answer, but I don't agree with the two following statements. Can you please explain?

 

Lets start here "prevents files from being edited" this is purpose of checkout

I don't agree. Checking out a file should prevent it from being edited by other users, not by me. In fact it doesn't when the check out is not forced in library settings.

 

Is it useless? Absolutely not - it is very useful in publishing scenarios. Check out, make changes, check in, get approval of changes, publish major version.

I wish it worked the way you describe. The problem is that not even the user that checks it out can make changes. After enabling the force check out, files cannot be edited. That's why it looks useless to me.

 

Perhaps my question wasn't clear, I will try to rephrase it:

 

Without force check out disabled I can do this:

1. I go to the web interface and check out a file -> now the file is checked out by me

2. I go to windows explorer and double click on the same file -> the application associated with that file type starts and the file opens

3. I edit the file and save -> a draft version of the file is saved (depending on the versioning settings)

4. another user goes to windows explorer and double clicks on the same file -> the application associated with that file type starts and the file opens

5. another user edits the file and saves -> it's impossible

6. I go to the web interface and check in -> a major version of the file is created and other users can open it and edit it, with or without check out

 

With force check out enabled I can't.

I assumed that the workflow described above would keep working, instead step 3 stops working. I don't see any reason for the behavior of step 3 to change when the check out is voluntary rather than forced, but it does.

Highlighted

(deleted because it was the previous post duplicated)

@stenci If you are talking about editing with Notepad, yes the behavior you described is correct and expected. Notepad is not aware of settings where SharePoint requires a checkout. So you can save at will when the file is not checked out. But if the file is checked out - SharePoint will not let Notepad do it and it will say it failed to save.

 

If you are using an Office editing product, the client will be aware of the storage in SharePoint, it should see the document requires a checkout upon opening and prompt the user to check it out. Also if a user opens a checked out document with an Office editing product, it will prompt the user in some way - this document is checked out by ... and you can open a read only version. There are other products out there that were built to be aware of this process and you probably need to review their documentation to make sure.

 

I sense that you may be a bit frustrated with a situation that you're currently in. The other question posted is something that I wouldn't want to tackle honestly. Get some class time in if possible to learn more about SharePoint functions and site administration.

 

@Timothy Balk 

I confess I never had class time, but it looks like you either don't understand my question or don't know the use case I'm talking about, because the behavior you are describing is not what I see.

 

This is what you say, which is not what I see:

So you can save at will when the file is not checked out. But if the file is checked out - SharePoint will not let Notepad do it and it will say it failed to save

The correct description would be either this:

So if force check out is not enabled you can save at will when the file is not checked out. Also if the file is checked out - SharePoint will let Notepad do it and it will not say it failed to save

Or this:

So if force check out is enabled you cannot save at will when the file is not checked out. Also if the file is checked out - SharePoint will not let Notepad do it and it will say it failed to save

Then you talk about the special case of Office editing products (or other compatible applications) and say that the behavior changes. I thought this would be the answer to my question, but...

 

I just tried with two libraries, one with check out required and one without, and the behavior of Excel and Notepad is identical: they both can save files checked out if the check out is not required, but they can't if it is required.

 

So it looks like the statement on the subject of this post is true: if check out is required then the files on-demand can only be used in read only mode which makes the check out useless.

 

... or am I missing something?

Solution

@stenci Something is missing here because the behavior that is being experienced does not match up with a typical behavior of what Microsoft typically builds/provides.

 

First I apologize, I assumed the above and didn't fully ask all the questions I should have asked. Which made me think... I have the One Drive client at hand I can confirm that I can go through the full check in/check out process and I couldn't. It appears that this has been not considered a feature to implement for a while in fact:

https://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive-archive/suggestions/7094810-check-in-check-out...

 

I still stand by my statement that the functionality is not useless. Because it will still allow you to pull down the contents locally - if there is a need to present files w/o a stable connection back to O365. Now there could be better indicators where the OneDrive client communicates back to the user that they will not be able to make changes and save the file back to O365.

 

So, back to you... why is the feature to checkin/out via the OneDrive client needed? Maybe fully talking this through may warrant reposting this feature on User Voice to get Microsoft to implement.

@Timothy Balk 

It looks like you are confirming the behavior I see, so it is not a problem with my configuration. Thanks.

 

My use case involves the use of CAD / CAM software (not (only) Autodesk), PDF editors (BlueBeam and more), Excel files (with VBA macros, no web interface here, only usable with the desktop client), etc.

 

Problem: The network drive. No versioning, files cannot be shared with the clients, are slow to use over VPN, difficult to manage permissions, to search, etc. 

 

Good solution: Replace the network drive with a modern cloud service. If the cloud service requires some customization we can work on it.

 

Bad solution: Replace the network drive with a modern cloud service. If the cloud service doesn't match our needs, let's redesign our existing software, workflows and the whole infrastructure around the cloud service.

 

Without knowing what's under the hood of SharePoint / OneDrive, I will say that the feature I'm looking for:

- is technically feasible, in fact if the check-out is not required it works as I would expect

- is technically feasible, in fact, according to David Henderson's comment on 11/1/2018 to the post at the link you shared, it used to be there (but he's mentioning groove.exe, so we are not really comparing apples to apples)

- I'm not the only one to complain about it, as the comments to the link you shared suggest

 

Files on demand is a new feature. Perhaps Microsoft is still polishing the corners. I will patiently wait for the new features to show up when the times comes, and, if it is not to late, give it another try.

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