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chupacabra24

Total n00b needs info (sorry in advance)

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chupacabra24

Hi, I recently stumbled across a trial version of FileMaker 9 and installed it. I'm finding it excessively easy to work with, but here's my problem: I don't want to get too heavily into it before finding out whether it can do what I need it to.

 

Basically, I've ran a fantasy wrestling efed online for the last 6 years. What I'm wanting to do is create a online searchable database of every match that's been held in the fed, so the members could (for instance) look up every match at once that a particular wrestler has had, or every one that they won, etc.

 

I have the fields all set up, and plan on importing the bulk of the data from Excel. My main concern is whether or not I can actually create a searchable online database like this using FileMaker Pro, and how I might start going about that- particularly using sample data, just to test things out before I go entering 6 years' worth of info.

 

I have pretty much no coding experience at all and am pretty much a complete n00b. I just don't know exactly how to go about figuring out what FileMaker can and can't do, so any help that could be given would be MASSIVELY appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance!

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chupacabra24

Sorry for the double post, but if this isn't possible with FileMaker, if someone could recommend a somewhat user-friendly program that I could use for this purpose, I would also be grateful. Thanks again!

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AHunter3

I assume that by "online" you mean "using a web browser"?

 

As long as your database can be HOSTED somewhere, either by you or by a FileMaker hosting company to which you pay a monthly hosting fee, anyone with a web browser who is connected to the internet ought to be able to connect to your db and do a search as described. So the short answer is "yes".

 

If you use a lot of scripting, be aware that some script functions do not work via IWP (Instant Web Publishing). Also, a small handful of non-script-related features don't work as well or don't work exactly the same way. An example of THAT would be list view, which in native FileMaker shows you the found set no matter how many records it is, and you can scroll back and forth viewing those records; on the web, you only get the first handful (20? I can never remember off the top of my head) and to move on to the next 20 you have to click a button that causes the web browser to request the next 20 from the hosted database. Another difference (probably not relevant to you if your users would just be looking up info) is that in native FileMaker there is no distinction between Browse Mode and Edit Mode. (There is no official "Edit Mode", you do your editing in Browse Mode). On the web, to actually edit data a signal is sent when you click into a field and that changes you into a web-only mode informally called Edit Mode; the web browser then expects you to POST the edited data without which event it could not be saved to the actual db; in native FileMaker that is not necessary.

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JTomb

chupacabra24,

 

The simple answer to your question is YES Filemaker can most definitely do what you have described. Frankly, I don’t know of another database app which will allow you the ease of use and flexibility of Filemaker.

Your next question will most likely be how do I do it? I am assuming this information will be accessed on the web via a web browser so I’ll provide you with a couple of very simplified ways you might achieve your desired outcome. Filemaker offers a number of ways to connect a Filemaker database to the internet.

 

  1. The first is using Instant Web Publishing (IWP). IWP simply hosts your layouts on the web. There are limitations, security and performance are not as good as some of the other options, and not everything translates well.
  2. Another very popular method is using the php connectivity offered by Filemaker. You can code php into your existing web pages or use a php code developer application (FMStudio) to create your php interface for you. This alternative has better performance and is more flexible; however it requires some php knowledge or extra software.

I encourage you to further research these methods here on the forum to learn more about both methods and their advantages and disadvantages.

 

To facilitate publishing this on the Internet you will need a server, internet access, and version of Filemaker Pro Server software running on your server (Filemaker Pro Server Standard for the php approach or Filemaker Pro Advanced Server for the Instant Web Publishing approach). An alternative to all of that is to host your web site and database access with a company which provides Filemaker Web Hosting. There are a number of company's which provide such services I use FMGateway.

 

 

You can experience the IWP version of your database by enabling IWP in your current version of Filemaker. Do a search in the Filemaker help on Publishing Databases on the Web and the instructions to enable IWP should be outlined.

 

Hope this helps.

J

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kirkrr

IWP has a limit of 100 concurrent users, and that is with the $2,999 Filemaker Server Advanced.

 

PHP with FM does not have this limitation, and, I believe, it works with the $999 Filemaker Server (Advanced is what brings the IWP into the equation).

 

Off the shelf FM will support 5 IWP or FM remote users, mix or match concurrently.

 

However, as I understand it (and, Lord knows, my understanding of the PHP/FM functionality would fit in a thimble!) the PHP functionality does not use FIlemaker layouts. All the wonderful human interface development tools that makes FM so easy, are not available to a PHP/FM deployment.

 

(I hope I am wrong about this, as I'd like to have an easy way around IWP limitations Oh Really!

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IainRob

As a FileMaker Hosting business we are constantly being asked about the best way to use FileMaker online to which our normal answers are, assuming that those accessing the data are not using FileMaker,:

 

  1. Using IWP. But, as others her have pointed out, this is not really designed for high volumes of users and does have a number of limitations in terms of the way that data can be displayed. However it requires almost no knowledge of creating web pages.
  2. Creating web pages that are coded to work with FileMaker. There are various ways of approaching this, the most common being using PHP, Lasso or ASP's. All of these can be used to great effect. However all of them require, for any reasonable results, knowledge of web page creation and coding. The added challenge is the then either learning these skills, or finding someone who has them; or you could look at FMStudio http://www.fmwebschool.com/fmstudio.php which allows "Rapid FileMaker Web Development -Total FileMaker and Dreamweaver Integration"

So time and probably cost are going to be important considerations for you.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Iain

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AHunter3

People always leave out Witango (formerly just Tango) for some reason. Another 3rd party tool for creating dynamic web pages that interact with FileMaker.

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Chris_J

Do the php web pages and the fm database have to be on the same server, or can you create a connection from a website on one server, to a fm database on another server?

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