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Help requested on Web Solution options.


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I've spent the last 8 months learning Filemaker, and building a very powerful database for my company to use for internal use. Now, we have decided that we want to communicate with our customers using a web page.

First, my security concerns: The type of data that our database contains is EXTREMELY sensitive to our clients. Protected at all costs. Clients will only have access to data specific to themselves.

Second, what we are doing. Currently, I have 500 clients, and 4 employees. Keeping up with their changing data is becoming a full time position. e.g., updating address, email addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, ect. Phone calling is becoming a hassle, and we are going to be ramping up to 100 new clients a month. We want to be able to send an email to a client who has already setup a password with us, that says, "Visit this page for your account progress, and update us with current information"

The client would enter their Social Security number for a login, and the password that they alone setup. They would be directed to a personalized page that allows them to update certain information, see their progress, and respond to any questions that we may currently have. Then submit it, and have the database automatically updated.

The biggest issue I have with doing all of this is, I do not want to make the actual full database we are working on available to the web. I would prefer to do a daily "Sync" where the main database updates a web accessable version of the database.

What solutions are best for doing something like this?

Are there templates that can show me how to do this?

I've just begun tonight to work on this, and I don't want to learn 3 different programs/middleware in order to find the best ideas.

Thanks for ANY help that someone can provide!


Credit Guru


A dyslexic, agnostic insomniac - one who lies awake at night wondering

if there really is a dog..."

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For security have a look at using the "Web Security" database with "Exact Match". Alternately, you can use middleware such as PHP or Lasso.

I have used the method of synchronizing to a cutdown database with success before, this used Scripts. I am now working on an FM to MySQL synchro system.

All the best.


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For synchronizing, take a look at http://www.worldsync.com/. They sell a product named syncdek which seems to handle this nicely.

As Garry suggested, you can achieve a higher level of security using middleware like PHP, Lasso, or ASP. Which one you use is mostly a matter of syntax preference, and also environment. PHP uses it's own c-based syntax, ASP uses javascript (c-based) or vbscript (basic-based), and Lasso uses its own proprietary mark-up based syntax (although I believe Lasso also supports a version of servers-side javascript).

PHP has a lot of built in functionality, as does Lasso. ASP has less built in functionality, with a lot of functionality being provided through the use of independent server-side components.

I would avoid CDML as you'll find it quite limiting and difficult to secure. If you use PHP, check out the FX.php class at www.iviking.org. If you want to use ASP, let me know. I'm working on an ASP-to-FileMaker connector class similar to the FX class.

One other thing to consider... You may want to consider the use of SSL to encrypt the data your web clients will be submitting over the wire. While you can secure your database to prevent people from hacking private data out of it, you should consider that the data is unencrypted and vulnerable while being transmitted from the web browser to the web server and hackers could read that data during transmission unless it is encrypted using something like SSL.

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Thanks VERY much! I think after looking around the iViking.org website, I'm going to begin to learn that.

Out of curiosity, what would your ASP to Fileaker connector do? Is it a script that automaticlly updates the cached data, or is it a dynamic connector to the filemaker database?

Would it work similar to the way "Filebooks Link" works with Quickbooks?

Thanks again for the tips!

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One more thing to consider before you commit to one technology over the others: How are you going to host your web site? If you are hosting it yourself, then you are very free to choose which ever technology you like.

However if you plan to have a third party host your solution, you should look around first and see which technologies are supported by companies that host FileMaker based web sites. There are few companies that host FileMaker databases to begin with, and among those Lasso is by far the most commonly supported middleware. PHP is probably second, and ASP third.

The ASP to FileMaker widget I'm working on is a dynamic connector that allows you to send commands to FileMaker and retrieve data in real time. It is almost identical to FX.php, only implemented in JScript for ASP.

Email me (mariano [at] petersonpages [dot] com) if you want a copy of the code. The code works fine right now, I'm just writing documentation for it at the moment. Once I've put the documentation in place and updated my web site I'll post it there for downloading. However, given my schedule I might not get around to that for several weeks.

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