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A Really Dumb Question


Chirriras
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Okay, I've been lurking for a while now, and none of the subjects seem to answer my most basic question. I've been using FileMaker for about 10-12 years, but only recently began struggling with the Web capabilities of it. I am familiar with, but by no means an expert in, HTML. I am becoming familiar with JavaScript.

I design survey questionnaires for faculty members. I have one that is so long, it exceeds the length I am allowed in a single layout. I have split it into several layouts, which created the problem of getting the program to jump from one page to the next and submitting all the data at the end of the entry process. With that failing, I was told I would need to use the Custom Web Publisher and CDML, so I have muddled my way through that.

Although the subject matter of my surveys vary, the basic format does not: Radio buttons, check boxes, short text and long text, with an occasional skip or skip and fill thrown in for good measure. No portals, no multiple databases, no links or relationships, no searches, look ups or edits, just simple, straightforward files.

Here's my question: Is it necessary to type the following three lines at the beginning of each question (variable)?

<FORM ACTION=FMPro

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Thanks, that's a big help. All the examples I've seen show all the lines present, so I wasn't sure how it came into play.

Here's a follow-up question. I have this questionnaire broken down into 8 layouts. Do I, then, just need to add the following line where the format for the data changes.

<INPUT TYPE=

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This whole mess started with me creating a separate layout for the web. Unfortunately there are 220 questions in this survey, most of them open ended text responses. There was absolutely NO WAY I could place all 220 questions on a single layout. FileMaker will only allow me to stretch the page down to 110 inches, and that took me through section 4 with three more sections to go. The only reason I am using layout at all is that I read somewhere that the data will submit quicker if the fields are matched up on a layout.

I am frustrated and exhausted. Am I wasting my time on this? Is there ANY way to salvage the weeks I've spent on this project? This has become way too complicated, but it is impossible for me to give up. I'm not a quitter.

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You do not have to use the "-lay" tag. So you just create the html pages with whatever fields (<input>) you want.

Do you use something like "GoLive" or "Dreamweaver" to create the pages?

You could have all of the questions on one page if you like. However, more pages may make things easier for the user.

All the best.

Garry

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etucker47 said:

This whole mess started with me creating a separate layout for the web. Unfortunately there are 220 questions in this survey, most of them open ended text responses. There was absolutely NO WAY I could place all 220 questions on a single layout. FileMaker will only allow me to stretch the page down to 110 inches, and that took me through section 4 with three more sections to go. The only reason I am using layout at all is that I read somewhere that the data will submit quicker if the fields are matched up on a layout.

Your web layout (in FileMaker) doesn't have to be pretty. The appearance of the web layout in FileMaker has no bearing on what your web users will see. On your FileMaker web layout, your open-ended text fields (and any other field for that matter) can be very small. All you need on the web layout are the fields that will be receiving input via the web and/or displaying information back to the user. I suspect one could easily crap hundreds, if not thousands, of fields onto a layout that is 110 inches long!!!

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Yes, John is correct. You are well advised to have one layout dedicated to the web which has all the fields necessary for the CWP solution. Such a layout needs no special design, the only thing which will see that layout other than you, the developer, is an electronic signal from the www. Thus the fields do not even need to be extended to see the data therein, but can be kept closed so a human will see only a line. Your 10-12 years of experience has you thinking like a peer-to-peer developer. There are huge differences between p-2-p and CWP developments. In p-2-p there is constant contact by the client with the db files. In CWP (and IWP) the medium is stateless, i.e., contact is established with the server, data is transferred, contact is ended. The data now appears on the client's machine from cache, or the data has been transmitted from the client's machine to the server and entered into the db file at the server. Should more data need to flow in either direction, contact must reestablished with the server, which is as simple for the client as clicking a button or link. IMO CWP is a far superior development form than p-2-p in flexibility for the developer.

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If you do not have the CDML Reference database, search the CDML forum with that string, find the link and get it. Also, you will find several CWP examples in the Sample Files Forum. While they often address specific issues, they provide basic examples of CWP.

Don't get frustrated, it takes time. Groove with it.

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I do have the CDML reference file, but to be honest, it can be confusing to a non-programmer. That's where my confusion about the first three lines came from. All examples show all three lines at the top of each question. I couldn't find anything specific about how to lay them out. I've also downloaded several of the sample files, but they don't seem to help much either. What I am doing is really so basic, that much of the info doesn't relate to me. Like I said earlier, I don't need portals, relationships, links, etc.

To create my surveys I've used SPSS Data Entry Enterprise for several years, but it is a horrible program to work with and is so extremely limited and inflexible for web design that it drives me insane. No matter how much I complain to the company they refuse to make it really functional. It limits all open ended responses to 255 characters, and limits value labels to 60 characters!! I've worked with professors for nearly 20 years and I can tell you for a fact, that they can neither ask, nor answer a question in 255 characters!! That's why I'm trying to find a better way.

HTML is the only programming I know. I used to do some DOS programming, and in the early days of WordPerfect I had to program the macros. I have no formal programming training, and usually go crying to my daughter when I need help (she's a web master and former software developer--but she's not a FM user).

Since I have your ear, can I ask another question? I'm nearly finished with the HTML/CDML coding for my webpage. Once I have all that done, and put it in the WEB folder in FileMaker on my server (along with the database file itself), what do I need to do to tell the form to put the data in the FM database? I would like to hear from someone who knows what they're doing to see if I understand it. Right now I'm kind of confused about that too.

Sorry to sound so dumb, but this aspect of FileMaker is all new to me and it doesn't seem that the documentation covers it well for the novice. To me it seems the documentation ASSUMES I know more than I do. It is reminds me of when I first started using a pc. Most departments didn't have computers. There were three computers set up in the library for staff and faculty to use for 2 hours at a time. I got my first diskette, the program diskette, worked my way through a WordStar document, but couldn't for the life of me save it. I went through the book, and the instructions at the workstation over and over, but could not get it to save the file no matter what I did. Finally, in my third 2-hour attempt, I called the computer center in tears. Their first question was "Did you format the diskette?" "Format? What's that?" NONE of the documentation I had said anything about formatting a diskette. Once I did that everything else worked perfectly. After I do this the first time I'll be fine with it (not to mention Queen of the Mountain!). It's just that the first time is soooooo difficult.

I really do appreciate all the help. Thanks everyone.

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Here is an example of the Survey:

<head><title>The Survey</title></head>

<body>

<form action="FMPro" method="POST">

<input type="hidden" name="-db" value="mysurveys.fp5">

<input type="hidden" name="-format" value="thankyou.html">

Question 1: What is your Name?<input type="text" name="myname" value=""><br>

Question 2:Where do you live?<input type="text" name="myaddress" value="">br>

........

<input type="submit" name="-new" value="Submit Survey">

</form></body></html>

This example contains the elements of a html page that you will require. It can reside anywhere because it does not contain any CDML. The Format file "thankyou.html" needs to reside in the "Web" Folder within the FM application Folder.

The database file should not be located in the "Web" Folder.

The <input> tags have a "name" element. The "name" should be exactly the same as the field names in your database.

Hope this helps.

Garry

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Almost there!!

Finished my code, moved it, deployed it (and it looks great!). Just ONE small problem! When I click the submit button it comes back and tells me "Format file not found. No format file was specified."

As per instructions in the previous post, I added a line after the -db line that reads:

<input type="hidden" name="-format" value="Religion.htm">

This is the name of the survey htm file that I just coded. Is this not the correct file to use here? The information in the CDML Reference isn't clear to me as to just what the file is supposed to be. The religion file has all my HTML and CDML codes in it--all the questions and values, etc. What have I done wrong now?

Could the use of a password and FMP access privileges instead of coding a password into the form be a problem?

I do believe I can see a pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel now, and I never would have been able to do it without your help. Thank you so much.

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Religion.htm is the name of my questionnaire file, and it IS loated in the web folder in FM. It displays beautifully. Is the "-format" tag file a file that displays telling the person their form has been sent to the server, kind of a "thank you for participating" page? The <input type="hidden" name="-format" value="Religion.htm"> line is now located inside the Religion.htm page, but what it should be doing is pointing to the confirmation page instead, right?

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So far so good. I've run into a 102 error, which I know mean that at least one field doesn't match up. In FMP I have a date field where the interviewer will enter the date the interview takes place. In the HTML/CDML web form, it is a text field. Is this a problem? I can find nothing in the CDML documentation that will allow me to format a field for date entry. I don't want it to be automatic because the investigator may need to interview the person, and write the information down then enter the data at another time. He/she needs to be able to enter the date the interview took place, not necessarily the date that it is being entered.

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Date fields can be a bit of pain. They are "text" fields in the html.

The date will need to be entered in a standard format e.g.: 1/15/2004

Make sure the date field uses exactly the same name as in the database.

All the best.

Garry

p.s. We often use Javascript to reformat the dates before submitting the form.

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