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Form input to filemaker


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Hello. I have a problem that I need to find a solution for.

The scenario is to have users go to a web page, fill out a few form fields, and have that information sent to a filemaker db when they click submit.

Now, I know this can be done easily, but I have a few snags I need to figure out.

First, I am using filemaker pro 6. I understand that you can only do the above scenario when filemaker is open, and the database is running as well.

This presents a problem, because the computer that hosts my website is not controlled by me. Therefore, it would be hard for me to say to them "please install filemaker on the server that hosts my site and always have xyz database open and running so people can input their info when they visit this certain page."

I guess I could ask that, but have no idea what they would say, so before I go that route, what is ANOTHER way to work around the always have filemaker open and running??

Can I somehow have the user's info go to access, then create a program to automatically update the filemaker database??

Or do I have to upgrade to filemaker 7 server to do what I need to do?

I have no idea how to go about handling this situation. Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks.

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You could have the Form emailed to you. A Plug-in exists for FM to import emails and process the Form.

You can have FM regularly check the "Hosted" database (MySQL, Access etc) and import any updates.

You can use Applescript (and/or Python) to access the "Hosted" database and automatically update the FM database.

Good Luck.

Garry

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Hey thanks Garry! I will try this out. I had no idea of how to go about doing something like this with the limited access I had. Any links or websites off the top of your head that demonstrate the three examples you gave? If not, I think I can do some google searches. Thanks a BUNCH for the advice!

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When you actually get the "receiving the emails" part working, post again with a sample of the form data you receive. We have a few examples of "parsing" routines; but each one has its own quirks. Hopefully there are clear demarcations between different data "fields" in your form text.

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Hey Gary. I checked out POP3it, and I don't know if it is feasible based on a cost standpoint. I was wondering about your second option about having FM regularly check the hosted db and then import any updates.

My website is hosted on a windows server and we also have another server that is just for our department, and only our staff can access this server. So we have 2 servers, one is hosting the website, and the other is like a shared harddrive that allows everyone in the office to read, write, delete. Since I am the webmaster, naturally I only have access to the webserver through a windows network drive. Then everyone else connects to the shared server through a network drive.

My problem is that the filemaker database has to be on the shared server in order for the staff to access it and do what they need to do with the database.

And since I am brand new to filemaker, I have no idea how to bridge the gap and share information between a public internet server (by having people enter info into a form on our site) and the local shared server.

Does that make sense? So, I thought, maybe I could have an access db file, that resides on the web server, collecting info from the web form and then have filemaker db (which is on the shared server) SOMEHOW ask the access file if it has any new info, and if so, pull the new info into itself.

Ok, sorry if that was long winded, but I am out of ideas. Please help me if you understand what's going on and can help me with an easy solution. Thanks a lot.

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That's better now we a have a better picture smile.gif

I hope that the staff are not just sharing FM files, but are sharing databases (via "Open Remote") which are open on a server. Otherwise, you could be prone to file corruption.

The same "database server" could also be hosting the Internet accessed database. You could route http traffic for a certain IP Port (e.g. 591) to that server. Alternatively, you could have a copy of FM running on your WebServer with the database open remotely from the "database server". You would still need to differentiate between web-server ports; i.e. they both cannot be running on Port 80.

Good Luck.

Garry

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Ok. I think I follow you but let me just make sure. So you are saying to have the filemaker db that is currently on the "shared server" to connect to the internet through a certain ip port?

Is this configurable through filemaker itself?

Or, to place a copy of the fm db file on the web server and open it remotely from the shared server? I wouldn't know how to do either of these. Is this something that is easily found in filemaker's help?

Also, about the staff sharing fm files. There is one fm file that contains the database and everyone has access to it via their own personal computers through a windows network drive. Would this result in file corruption?

As for the open remote, I tried entering the ip address and dns name for our web server and everything seemed to work, accept it doesn't show any fm files on the server when I try to open them remotely. The little arrow squiggles and then just stops. What is supposed to happen when you choose "open remote"? Does it display all fm files that reside on the computer of the specified ip or dns?

Thanks for your help.

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The "shared server" should have FM running with the database open. The database should have "Sharing - Multi-User" checked. If this is the case other users should be able to access the database with "Open Remote". (Yes, sharing the database file through a Windows network drive can cause problems.)

The FM that is running on the "shared server" should have the "WebCompanion" plug-in enabled. This is where you can assign a port other than 80. With "WebCompanion" enabled users will be able to access the database with their web-browser. All they need to do is goto the IP address of that computer.

Most of the information on Sharing the database is in the manual.

All the best.

Garry

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