Using the Church Membership Directory on a Single Computer
The simplest and least expensive way to use CMD is to purchase a license for use on a single computer. This is best for those settings where only one person will be using the software, or in a small office where several might share it but only use it on the same computer rather than on other computers in an office network or from home.You can actually set up CMD on more than one computer, and you can backup the data from one computer and then restore it onto the other one. This works well, and a number of our users do just that.What’s important to remember, however, is that you have to be very careful when you do your backing up and restoring. You cannot do work on two different computers and then “merge” the data together. Whenever you restore CMD onto a computer, it always completely overwrites the data on the receiving computer. As long as you can keep straight which computer has the most recent data and are faithful about your backup and restore regime, you will be ok.This is not the safest and most effecient way to use CMD, however. Eventually, you might accidentally restore older data on top of newer data, and if you don’t happen to have a fresh backup of the newer data, you will be forced to re-enter all the data that represents the difference between your old data and the new data you’ve just overwritten.There are two solutions to help keep you from doing this. The first is to purchase the Remote Database Server software from us that allows you to hook up more than one computer to the same physical data file (see below). When you do this, each person who logs into CMD can make changes that immediately are available to all other users because you are all using the same data file. No mixup between old and new data takes place in this usage of CMD.The other option is to use the Fully Hosted CMD system, which allows different users from virtually any location to access CMD’s data. A bonus that comes with the Fully Hosted CMD option is that Mac computers can also use CMD and access its data.
Using the Church Membership Directory on an Office Network
If you need to connect multiple computers together in your church office, you will need to purchase the optional ($99.95) Remote Database Server software from us that works with CMD. This server software can be installed on virtually any Windows-based computer, making that computer the “server” for CMD purposes. Other computers in the office that need to be able to access CMD (called “clients”) will have their own copy of CMD installed on it, but each client computer will look for its data on the “server” computer. It’s a fast and easy hookup, and the data access of CMD on a client is virtually as fast as if the data were actually located on the client computer.While this option works perfectly well for an in-office network, it is not well-suited for situations where you need to be able to access CMD from home on your computer there. It is possible to hook up from off-site, but this requires either a static IP address at the site hosting your data, or you will have to subscribe to an outside DNS service and then tell your router and modem about it and set up port forwarding (and a few other things) so that computers from off-site can find your data.We have set up many users to do this over the years, and it does work. However, it’s a bit finicky to set up and maintain. Any small change in your ISP’s settings, your router settings, or even a change on your computer can throw everything off. Futher, performance is degraded for remote computers because of all the data which must go back and forth over the internet in order to use it.If you need both networked connections for CMD in the office and the ability to access CMD from off-site, you will be better served by going with the Fully Hosted CMD system. There are no connection issues to worry about, and each computer that accesses CMD through the hosted system enjoys a mch faster user experience than is possible if you try to set up the Remote Database Server software as the host for off-site, remote access.As a bonus, Mac computers can use CMD with the Fully Hosted option. Currently, this is the only way that CMD can be used with a Mac.