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unrealreality

A FileMaker App upload data to master server help!

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Hey guys, I'm new here, so go easy smile.gif I haven't used filemaker before, but my co-worker has. Unfortunately, he's a-wall, and we have to finish a project this week. Here's the deal:

We have created a filemaker database that is going to be self contained, and burned onto CD's to be handed out to a group of people. The application will run locally on the user's computer, and when they're done filling in the entries, they hit a button, (while connected to the internet) and it uploads all the data to a master database on our server.

Now, we have the interface, and it collects the data, but the part that is incomplete (which we're stumped) is how to get the local application on the user's computer to connect to our server (via IP address?) and upload the data. All we've managed to do is export to a local file. Is there a way to do this?

Development started on FM 5.5, and we have upgraded to 6.0 (maybe there are new features that will help us?) anyway, any help would be appreciated. kind of alot for a first post, but I'm desperate here! Thanks again

Eric

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Hmm. There are a number of ways to get data from point A to point B.

You could set up a FM server that the users could connect to. That would mean $999 (i think) for FM Server and then you can't use the stand alone app method. As well as the users have to be connected to the internet and its really slow.

You could use scripts to send email off to you from the users machine. Then find a method to input it into your master database (by AppleScript or manually maybe).

You could make a web pages with a FileMaker backend. Then the users just go to a web site and fill out a form.

Anyway else go ideas?

(BTW, FM 6.0 might actully help. You could use the XML and Import Folder ablity to import mass emails.)

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Be aware that the people opening the database on CD won;t be able to add or change any information because the files are on a ead-only CD. They'll have to copy the files to their HD and run them from there, but be aware that under Windows the files will still be locked on the hard disk!

Best idea is to zip the database and put the archive on the CD.

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1 > You can send a preformatted email from Point 1 for each record they have created using a plugin called SMTPit (may be many others available in the market) to you or somebody who is at the server level. You could receive those emails within the filemaker using a plugin called Popit which could receive the preformatted emails and populate the records automatically (make sure to do the settings to delete the emails from the server after you received it and populated the master db which will prevent duplicates)

2> Can direcltly connect to the FM server using TCP/IP from the remote users desktop but its really slow.

3> if the server is win nt/2000 the user can connect to the server directly through terminal server( or citrix ....) which very fast.

Hameed

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Wow....I'm impressed. Thanks so much all of you!! I didn't expect so many responses! Thanks! now to sort...

First off, yeah, we know all about that Read-Only off CD. Our solution is making a self installer. That part we have already and works great. So the user will be adding the info locally on their HD

RIGSBY, heh. if i were to do it, it wouldn't have been done this way either. I'm picking this project up on the backend in the "deadline zone" so it's all new to me! haha!!

FOLKAHOLIC - The idea was that you don't need an internet connection, so webpages are out. If that was the case PHP and mySQL would have been used (THAT i know..ha!)

As for the email idea. I was exploring that, but I thought i saw a problem. When Filemaker sends an e-mail, it uses the user's email server, right? like if they were using an ISP, it would use the ISP's email. But what if they use Yahoo or Hotmail or something, and don't have an SMTP server set on their local machine? then it wouldn't work right? (i mean, you can't send an email from yahoo outside of yahoo, right?) If this is true, that kind of eliminates email....which would have been a good idea...

HAMEED - "Can direcltly connect to the FM server using TCP/IP from the remote users desktop but its really slow. if the server is win nt/2000 the user can connect to the server directly through terminal server( or citrix ....) which very fast."

Okay, here's where it gets interesting. Since i posted this message in a fit of desperation, I have come up with a solution that seems to work, so tell me if there's something wrong with it:

The user inputs data on the client machine. when they're ready to upload it, they hit submit. now it runs a script that exports to a file, and then opens the server database from our IP address. This database opens on their machine in the BG, runs the import script, and then closes itself. Done. And surprisingly, it works. Now, i don't know if it works when this app is made standalone, or if it will work outside our IP realm. I'm going to try that soon. But for now it works. Is this a viable solution?

Like i said this is going out to about 50 people. Not that much, so it won't be crowded with connections, but still... hameed, is this what you meant about connecting to the server? or is there another way to do this in FM? if so, could you elaborate? cause i'm having a hard time using the scripts. there's really not a whole lot of customization you can do with it unless i'm missing something.

Thanks so much for all your help. If you know of anything else, please let me know. I'm going to try and see if this works as a standalone. next up is when i export the data to a file, is there a way to "tag" the files exported so that next time around they don't get exported? Thanks again guys! pressure sucks!!

Eric

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Okay....well, my idea worked...it imports, etc.....but only if you use FM...if you make it a standalone..it doesn't work!!! ARGH!! guess it won't allow you to do "open file over an IP"

so now, my question is....what else can i do. I read above that there's a way to open a connection to a server and run a script, how do i do that? and more importantly, does it work with the standalone app? if not, what other options? you guys mentioned e-mail. will that work on a standalone? any help would be appreciated. thanks!

Eric

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Okay....well, my idea worked...it imports, etc.....but only if you use FM...if you make it a standalone..it doesn't work!!! ARGH!! guess it won't allow you to do "open file over an IP"

Before you give up entirely on standalone<->server interaction, check out the Troi URl plug-in, which I have just learned about today on FMForums. In a past experiment I used a plug-in called WebMagnet to gather FileMaker data (served via Web Companion) into a runtime. The only drawback was that the plug-in was Mac-only. I believe the same should be possible with Troi's new plug-in, which is cross-platform.

Check it out and let me know how it goes.

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When you say Stand Alone, do you mean a runtime solution on the client machines? Runtime solutions are not network compatible. It

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Runtime solutions are not network compatible...You can

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The_Bridge, I kind of tried to play with that plugin yesterday, as you said, but I couldn't get it to work. But that's probably because I wasn't focused on it. I'll give it another go. About the runtime not being able to connect, yeah, with the exception of what the_bridge was saying, i've done some research (with all your help/info) and found, yeah....there's no way to do it. Sucks. I'll tell ya, this doesn't seem to be the way to have done it.

Rigsby, about what you said, yeah, that would work. The whole VPN or having each user have a copy of FMP. but this project was sold as a standalone app that you could input info without a connection (like i said, i myself was thrown into this. I'm trying to clean the debris! ha!) Thanks for the info though! These past few days, i went from knowing Zippo about filmaker, to being able to create some pretty ******* functioning stuff. We had another guy come in to help us out, and i'll tell ya, talking ideas out with people whether in real life or on boards like this stimulates ideas. ...ah..but i digress.....

The solution...or hack/fix..... that i'm working on is to export the data into a file, and attach it to an email using the client's email system. If they have yahoo or something that requires an HTML page, then we'll give them instructions to attach it like a regular attachment. On our end we'll import the files and have it replace existing files, so we have no duplicates. It's a hack, but it might work. This also is only going to about 50 people MAX...... anyway..thanks again for all your help! I'll keep checking back here, and post when i hit another wall! haah!!

Eric

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