File Manager 22.2 Getting Started Manual

Contents > Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Going Backstage

As we said in Part 1, end users only interact with Fileman through the various packages that use Fileman’s features. The fields they respond to, and the reports they can see, are all created by package developers using Fileman’s tools. As a super-user, you can go “backstage” in Fileman, to see how things work behind the scenes. As is typical of backstage areas, basic Fileman is pretty utilitarian. The pretty backdrops are facing the audience; back here there are unpainted two-by fours and exposed nails and a few wires to trip over.

If you know what you’re doing, however, Fileman can help you retrieve data in combinations not available to users. You can search for specific kinds of data, and create and save your own reports. You can do data cleanup to fix mistakes that have made their way into the database. You can help your site’s programmers custom-tailor VISTA to better suit your facility and your department.

Super-User Access

“Super-user” is a catch-all term encompassing CACs, ADPACs, Application Coordinators, and similar titles. Different facilities use different terminology to describe their super-users, but basically, superusers are the ones who manage VISTA for their service area. If you are interested in learning more about Fileman, and your job title doesn’t (yet!) designate you as a super-user, you are still welcome to read this section.

Super users can be given access to Fileman features and options that are not available to regular users. Your supervisor or IT department can help you get this access, if you don’t have it already. Getting super-user access to Fileman, however, is only the first step.

Fileman, as the name suggests, manages files. In order to use Fileman’s super-user features, you need to have access to at least one of these files. Each file in your facility’s VISTA system has its own separate security, so access can be given one file at a time.

If you use a super-user option, and ask for a file you don’t have access to, Fileman will react as though that file does not exist. It won’t give you a message like “you don’t have permission to access that file;” it will just give you two question marks, as if it has never even heard of the file.

This is actually on purpose, for security reasons. A hacker would not be able to figure out which files a system has by trying some likely-sounding file names, and seeing which ones are “not found” and which ones are “you don’t have access.” If Fileman reacts exactly the same way to both scenarios, the system is more secure.

Of course, it’s a little disconcerting to ask for a file you know perfectly well is in there, only to have Fileman tell you it isn’t. Don’t panic! You haven’t broken Fileman; you just don’t have permission to access that file. Talk to your supervisor or IT department to get the access you need.

There are four levels of access to Fileman files:

Read access: you can see what’s in the files, but you can’t add or change anything.
Write access: you can edit records, but you can’t add or delete them.
LAYGO access: you can add, but not delete records.
Delete access: you can delete records.

Delete access is the highest security level, because deleting a record is one of the the most drastic things you can do in a database. Incorrect changes can be fixed, but it’s very difficult to undo a whole-record deletion.

When you speak to your supervisor or IT department about which files you need access to, it is important to tell them what kind of access you want. Typically, a super-user will have Read access to several files, and Write access to only a few files. They may not have any LAYGO or Delete access at all; if they do, it’s typically only one or two files.

Before you start composing a list of files you need access to, you should know that programmers can copy another user’s access profile, and apply it to you. If, for example, you are replacing someone else as a super-user, you can just ask your IT department to give you the same access to the same files that the other person had. That can save time—both for you, and for the programmers.

If you are not yet officially a super-user, you may still be able to get super-user access, and access to a demo file so you can practice without actually affecting your facility’s real database. It might not be allowed, but it won’t hurt to ask your IT department about it.