Refreshing External Value Lists

There are two types of refresh operations for external value lists:
  • full refresh
  • quick refresh

A full refresh detects new items, compares and updates existing items, and deletes items that have disappeared from the external database. A quick refresh, by default, only detects new items in the external database. It does not compare existing items. It does not delete items, either, because undeleting them would require a full refresh.

The quick refresh operation is notably quicker than the full refresh operation. For reference, the full refresh operation for 120,000 items takes about two minutes, while the quick refresh operation finishes in about seven seconds. For simple value lists, refreshing data is fast even with large amounts of data and therefore a full refresh is always used. This guarantees up-to-date data.

Refreshing external value lists manually

External value lists can be manually refreshed via the metadata card by selecting a property that uses an external value list and clicking the Refresh icon in M-Files Desktop and in the classic M-Files Web.

If you try to refresh an external value list at the same time with M-Files Server, the operation started by you begins after the one started by M-Files Server.

Refreshing external value lists via M-Files Admin

You can initiate or stop the full refresh operation for any external value list in M-Files Admin. To start the operation, right-click the value list under Metadata Structure (Flat View) and click Refresh Now.

The full refresh operation is also triggered if you edit the value list definitions in M-Files Admin. If you update the value list definition before the previous refresh operation has completed, M-Files starts the operation again.

Automatic refresh operations and configuration options

The quick refresh operation is started automatically if an external value list is requested by a client (for instance, the metadata card containing a property that uses an external value list is viewed) and if the latest refresh was executed more than 15 minutes ago.

A full refresh operation is automatically triggered instead of a quick refresh operation if an external value list is requested by the client and if a full refresh has not been performed within the last 25 hours.

For configuration options available for refreshing external value lists automatically, see the document Default Refresh Logic and Configuration Options for External Value Lists and Object Types.

Automatic property values ignored during refresh operations

When M-Files updates objects to and from an external database, it compares object properties in the external database to the ones in the vault. If M-Files finds differences in the properties, it updates the objects. During the comparison, properties with an automatically calculated value are ignored, which causes these scenarios:

  • If all the object's property values to be updated to or from an external database are set to have an automatically calculated value in M-Files, the object is not updated.
  • If the refresh operation creates an object in M-Files, all property values of the object are filled with the values from the external database. This includes properties that are set to have an automatically calculated value.
  • If the refresh operation updates the object's properties in M-Files, all the object's property values to be updated get their value from the external database. This includes properties that are set to have an automatically calculated value.