For file locking to work properly, the software needs to know the user's intent first (such as double click on a file), and then check the conditions such as whether or not the user has access permission or the file has been locked. When all the conditions are checked, it is OK now to serve the file or reject the intent. This is why the virtual drive mapper is very important because it knows the user is trying to open the file before the file is served to the user.
However, in the Dropbox's case, the files and folders are already synchronized into the user's local Dropbox folder. Once it is local, the end user can do whatever they want to do to the files, file locking becomes an after thought and thus there is no Dropbox file locking for local files. You can shutdown the Dropbox desktop agent and you can manipulate those files, disregarding file locking completely.
With Gladinet, if you shutdown the desktop agent, the virtual drive is gone as if it were an external drive unplugged. This tells you that Gladinet integrates well with the local operating system to present the remote files virtually and control remote file access properly.
In the local area network, file locking is easy to understand because file servers are always available and desktop machines are always online. When a user is actively working on a file, the file can be automatically locked because the user clearly shows intent to work on the file exclusively, thus locking out file modification by other employees.
However, in the modern days, when access files online and over the Internet, an offline mode is introduced as compared to file access on-premise inside the company firewall. Employees may need to work on the file on the laptop, close the laptop lid, drive to the airport and come back later to continue modifying the file. At Gladinet, we call this offline file editing support.
With automatic distributed file locking, the file locking agents will need to maintain a healthy heartbeat with the centralized Gladinet locking authority. If the endpoint device goes offline, the centralized Gladinet locking authority can release the lock if the lock can't be successfully renewed.
In order to support offline file editing well, two more features are introduced. The first is manual check-in and check-out and the second is conflict detection.