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Automatic Fax Back


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I just started learning about FileMaker and the web. Here's an idea I had, wondering if this would work (or work securely). I don't actually need to do this, I'd just like to know how/if it could be done should I decide to do it...

Customers could go to our web site to check their account balance. They would enter their client ID and postal code into a search which requires exact match for security. They would then see a list of invoices (showing only invoice number, date, total, paid, and due... no personal information).

I'd like to then have a "Fax Back" button next to each invoice which would tell FileMaker to fax the invoice to the number on file. I read in another thread that said running scripts through the web is a BADDDD idea... but what if this button just took you to another database ("fax requests") where the system would create a new record, enter the invoice # you requested, and the user could enter the "attn" name.

Then every half-hour or so, you could have your FileMaker unlimited system check this database file and if there are any new records, it will fax to the attention of the name given using the fax number on file for that customer.

This "fax requests" database would also be handy to have internally... currently we always print and fax manually when customers request copies of invoices... it's a real pain because we also have to print a cover sheet for every fax we send (our individual workstations don't have a phone connection).

Am I dreaming here or is doable? And is this the right way to go about it?

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I have seen scripts debated on this forum before (wrt web). I think a guy named Keith Davie says (and sells?) info about how to do it safely (fmsimpify.com or simplifyfm.com or something). It has something to do with when scripts are executed simultaneously (or near so) by different users and stuff. In your case, I don't think it's a big deal but I'm no expert. I say, "Go ahead!". After all, even if you don't fully automate everything, you can still manually execute those scripts at end-of-day or however often you want.

In this case, your "fax back" button could just tag records for faxing instead of actually faxing them on the spot. I didn't know FMP had fax capability in the script library, but if it does, why not?

Good luck, ST.

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your "fax back" button could just tag records for faxing instead of actually faxing them on the spot

Yes, that's basically how I envision this. I'd have one dedicated system which would check on an interval for these "tagged" records, and then fax them.

I know that FileMaker doesn''t have a "fax" command, but faxing is usually done through a print driver, so it could be done that way (Except for error handling, which I'm not so sure about).

A better solution would probably be to use an HP3300 LaserJet fax/printer. FileMaker would "fax print" to the printer (I'm still wondering how it would pass the phone number!) and then the printer would take care of redialing/error handling.

hmmmmm... some more to think about.

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