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Newbie to FMP Question


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Hello. I come from an access and mysql background, and just recently started working with fmp 6. I am not used to it, but I would appreciate your help.

I need to know how to take user input that is in form fields on a web page, and when they click submit, the data goes to the fmp database I have on the server. Similar to the way a .mdb file would handle this query. Does that make sense?

In other words, you know how you can take an .mdb file, stick it on a server, and access it with a connection string and sql and queries? Can this simple action be done easily in fmp 6? Thanks for your help.

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Oh. I see. Is there any way to work around this? Or is there any other way to do what I need to do while still keeping the fm db and without making a db in access or some other one? Is filemaker supposed to be used as a web database? I am brand new to it, so please bear with me.

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FM can be quite an effective http database. Generally, a database would be used for both FM-to-FM networking and Web access. However, if you require only Web access you may be better-off using something else.

FM databases can export data for syncing with other databases. This can mostly be automated.

All the best.

Garry

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Hi, spurs! FM can publish to the web itself w/out any other webserver software and w/out any other middleware/scripts. FM's CDML tags in the web form page itself is all you need and all I used for years. IMO, FM's strength is on the user-end and to me it was especially attractive since it allowed for us to web publish live databases we used in the office daily. Basic form input and search engines worked great but we started running into trouble when we needed to integrate our solutions with our campus authentication system.

CDML works great but there are no variables, arrays, etc. You do not compose SQL strings and you do not need connection scripts but professional developers/programmers feel restricted in CDML. Since I started there and it was all I knew, I had no problems. Now that I do PHP/MySQL, I can see CDML's limitations more clearly but I miss a lot of the built-in stuff CDML and FM provided me. I could build a simple DB and its web pages from scratch in about 20 minutes and I quickly missed things like FM valuelists and even performing FINDs.

I miss it, but CDML is on its way out, if you have not heard, and it has been dropped from FM7 entirely. Typical FM7 web solutions will either use the built-in-no-coding-necessary Instant Web Publishing (literally instant web pages based on your FM layouts) or use XML/XSLT. Many folks are starting to look into PHP/FM more, too.

--ST lakersfan

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Ok, this is good info guys. I appreciate your help.

Steve, I see that fm can publish TO the web, as in display data on a web page from the database. However, my problem calls for the opposite. Can I take input from the user of a web page form, and input that data directly into fm? If so, is this possible with the CDML tags you suggested?

Gary, if the above scenario is not going to be possible, can I have all the data from the user go to access, and then from access to fm on the fly? If so, do the access and fm field names have to be the exact same in order for then to sync up and exchange data?

Your expertise and help on this problem is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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FM is a very effective Web Database, i.e. you can access it via web forms to create, edit, delete and display records. However, you do need FM running on the server to host the databases.

I don't know much about the capability of Access to talk to other programs. We do use MySQL/php a lot for that type of thing.

All the best.

Garry

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Hi, spurs! Here's a skeleton page that will let a user enter their name into the database (assumes db exists and is both open and shared and that there is a static thankyou.html page)...

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

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

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

Enter your firstname: <input type="text" name="firstname"><br>

Enter your lastname: <input type="text" name="lastname"><br>

<input type="submit" name="-new" value="REGISTER">

</form>

Unless I goofed, that's it. No other hidden scripts or transition pages needed. FM made it so easy to make quick little input/output solutions.

On the thankyou.html page, it can be as siimple as something like this...

<html>

<h2>Thank You!</h2>

<p>[FMP-field:firstname] [FMP-field:lastname] has been added to our database.</p>

</html>

No connection scripts, selection scripts, or anything. The data is immediately available after it was entered. (sigh) I miss this ease of use.

--ST

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Thanks for the example. I will look it over and see if I can implement it.

Being a beginner to filemaker, and coming from mysql and access, I don't like the fact that you have to have the database open and running in order to access it via the web. What if you don't control the computer that hosts your website and can't open the filemaker database whenever you want? Is this the main reason to upgrade to filemaker 7 server? I just like how with mysql, you install it, and poof, you can have access to your tables without any other stipulations.

Thanks for your help though.

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Re: I just like how with mysql, you install it, and poof

You do need to have MySQL running. If it is running it opens all of the databases. This is the same as FM Server; the databases are placed in a particular directory and when FM Server is launched the databases are open :-)

All the best.

Garry

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Hi, spurs/Garry! MySQL needs to be running but can be run in the background by the system and does not have to be running by the logged in user. I figured you two already knew that but I thought I'd mention for any readers/researchers out there.

The MySQL databases to not have to be open, but everytime you access them you have to open a connection and compose a SQL command (although a persistent connection can be established, it looks like you have to be careful about it). With FM, they are always kept open and shared so you do not have to open and establish a connection to access them. CDML used to have (still does?) have an option to open and close db's if you don't want to leave them open, but you'll at least need some kind of admin db or something open in order to execute the web-initiated command and it'll be probably be too much hassle.

BTW, spurs... you can actually see the results of web user actions if you look at the db on the server while its serving. A plus of that is that you see its working, how often, and kinda what folks are doing. A minus to that is that you should design your web published layout to be as bare as possible... a fancy, dressed-up layout will actually slow down the processing of requests. This is usually not a problem, though, since the web layout is typically only used by the web users who do not see it, anyway.

--ST

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