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Filemaker DB linking to web API


enquirerfm
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I want to be able to license my FM DB data for a web application. A potential client requires access via an API. I don't have much experience of using FM over the web. I don't imagine they want my summaries and relational stuff, just raw data eg qty, price, description. What is the best way to configure this and secure my data?

For example:

1. I think it would be more efficient to create a new DB with just the info they need - but would want to sync this automatically back to the main DB to pick up new data entry - smaller files, more protection, faster etc etc. Would I then use FM Server to offer the data to their API - how does this work? Could I have several clients linking to the same data? What is the software I would need?

Can you think of alternative set-ups?

How long would it take to do this work and what might it cost to set this up?

 

 

 

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Sounds like your client is expecting an API so this:

2 hours ago, enquirerfm said:

Would I then use FM Server to offer the data to their API - how does this work?

Is the wrong way to think about it.  You need to build the API for them to consume.  So yes: you do have to use FMS.  For performance, stability and functionality.

First question to them: do they expect a SOAP web service or a REST web service or does it not matter

To turn FMS into a web service you have a few options.  There's the open source RESTfm from Goya.  There's 360works' 'web services manager'.  So check those out after you get an answer on that first question.

Security clearly should not be an afterthought.  Access to the data through an API that you will build will go through an account with an associated privilege set.  In that privilege set you'll need to restrict access to just the pieces of FM schema and data that they are entitled to.

 

Time and cost: impossible to say with just the info that you have given us.  Much depends on how familiar you are with FM's security scheme and with web services in general.

 

 

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Can't really determine for you whether you'd be better off.   Look at the total financial picture, the overall stability of having to move data from place to place, your proficiency in developing in the different environments,…

I don't see how a spreadsheet can help.

What other db platforms do you have in mind?  And would you still want to use FM somewhere?

I find a bit strange that you would make technology choices because of a vps limitation.  Make the technology choice based on the factors outlined above and then find a vps that fits; not the other way around.

 

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Thanks for your help. Yes, I would still want to retain my own DB on FM because it supplies everything I need (and will need). However, you have clarified a couple of things and so here is the brief:

1. I will need the option to create both REST and SOAP bases APIs as I hope to have more than one client.

2. You're right about the VPS, of course - just wanted to hang in with my current service but they don't provide Windows based servers so will go elsewhere for this.

3. Presumably the number of concurrent users for the info is relevant? Would I even consider using FM Web Direct and querying the DB or set up something custom? I could maintain my main DB and create a new DB in FM which has fewer fields, scripts etc etc and just update it monthly - not terribly onerous - or maybe download the data to a different DB eg MySQL, MarieDB etc? I could even upload the data fields into a Wordpress site using custom fields to hold the data and create an API for accessing this?

I have no experience in this area...

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If your client expects an API then WebDirect won't work.  So make sure to sit down with the client and have them outline how they see getting/sending data.  As I mentioned earlier: are they expecting SOAP, REST,…?

Once you have that info then you can start thinking about ways to start building it.

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3 hours ago, enquirerfm said:

Thanks for your help. Yes, I would still want to retain my own DB on FM because it supplies everything I need (and will need). However, you have clarified a couple of things and so here is the brief:

1. I will need the option to create both REST and SOAP bases APIs as I hope to have more than one client.

2. You're right about the VPS, of course - just wanted to hang in with my current service but they don't provide Windows based servers so will go elsewhere for this.

3. Presumably the number of concurrent users for the info is relevant? Would I even consider using FM Web Direct and querying the DB or set up something custom? I could maintain my main DB and create a new DB in FM which has fewer fields, scripts etc etc and just update it monthly - not terribly onerous - or maybe download the data to a different DB eg MySQL, MarieDB etc? I could even upload the data fields into a Wordpress site using custom fields to hold the data and create an API for accessing this?

I have no experience in this area...

With PHP you can talk to the web publishing engine, which returns XML, and use that to come up write your own SOAP or REST web service. If you are completely new to this you might want to hire this part out, or you can dive in and read up on how to write your own REST or SOAP client/server apps. There's a lot of useful info on how to write your own PHP server, but there is some learning curve to get over.

These aren't something you get out of the box, in part because they can vary widely in what they are expected to do. A SOAP call might involve performing a script in your database that does lots of things and returns a result, like transaction. Once you understand REST or SOAP, you can then attach it to your preferred API to access FileMaker data: Simple-FM, FM API for PHP, or addressing the XML in the WPE directly.

Hope this helps,
Mike

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4 hours ago, enquirerfm said:

1. I will need the option to create both REST and SOAP bases APIs as I hope to have more than one client.

IMHO, it would be quite sufficient to provide a single API for all your clients. Especially if that API conforms to some standard.

 

On 08/14/2016 at 11:08 AM, enquirerfm said:

Would I be better off just covering the data to a spreadsheet, another db (I can't set up FM on my usual vps because it doesn't support windows) or importing into a SQL db? 

All these options (and more) are viable only if you want to provide your clients with read-only access to your data (and not necessarily in real time). Which contradicts what you said at the beginning:

On 08/13/2016 at 11:10 AM, enquirerfm said:

would want to sync this automatically back to the main DB to pick up new data entry

 

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