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Rheal

??From FM to the Web (without web publishing)??

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This post is mostly to inform myself on the capabilities of FMP. I am the current web designer at our small company. The company would like to have more interaction on our site such as sorting tables by date, product type, product serial number. There is a possibility of having an online shopping cart but at present no prices are to be posted on the site hence no online shopping. Other uses of interaction are forms to fill out to apply for courses or events. I have spoken to the IT department and they want all of this to work with Filemaker. I am fairly new to Filemaker. I've been using it for about a year now and have been able to set up databases and publish them to the web via CDML. (we have server 5 and I set things up on file maker pro 6) Our platform is Mac OS X 10.3 I have been reading that Filemaker 7 has depricated CDML and now uses XML to deliver information to the web.

A few of my questions are

Is it possible (or worthwile) to change my CDML/HTML code to XML with my existing setup?

Is there a better way to publish pages to the web using our current setup?

By trait I am not a programmer (although I have dabbled with programming in the past) but am willing to learn what it takes to get this solution to work. I would like to try to stay with industry standards. Any information regarding this topic is greatly appreciated. Also if there are any resources or books that are of help I thank you in advance.

I am already going through filemaker's XML user forum and try to frequently read post on fmforums.

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If the company is going to FM7 then you will have to use either XML or Instant Web Publishing (IWP). With XML you can use XSLT or a middleware such as PHP.

If your CDML solution is working fine and you do not need to go to FM7 then stick to that!

All the best.

Garry

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Howdy! I just wrote a somewhat lengthy post in which some of the information may pertain to your situation Filemaker and Database Driven Websites . FM7's missing CDML has kept us from upgrading to FM7. We're sticking w/FM5-6 until we can decide whether to change all our existing web solutions to XML/XLST or just switch to PHP/MySQL or maybe try PHP/FM... we're not in a rush since our existing stuff is working great (just like Garry said).

If you decide to look more into FM7 web publishing, look in the FileMaker Server Advanced forums and see what users are saying about it and what issues they are facing. It may have more helpful general info than the XML forums.

If you decide to resurrect your programming skills, I recommend PHP but must warn you that it is truly a programming language and not a mark-up language like CDML (for you, Kevin!) so does take more attention to structure, syntax (gah!! so many { } and ; ), and debugging. Like you, I was primarily a web designer (well, general computer guy with some programming experience but no programming responsibilities) and worked primarily in Dreamweaver and just added CDML in the Code Inspector as needed, but with PHP I found it much better to work in a good text editor (I used a lite version of BBEdit) and now I consider myself a true programmer/developer, albeit a fledgling one. It took me all summer to get a good grasp of PHP and MySQL enough to produce a quasi-major site for my university and I would not recommend anyone learn PHP unless they enjoy programming and coding with arrays, functions, and loops.

Personally, I am glad for having these skills now but I am still somewhat perturbed by FileMaker's decision to eradicate CDML and leaving some of us out in left field.

--ST

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I too recommend PHP (thanks for the mention Steve - I hope you didn't take my correction the wrong way!). I've been slowly converting our existing CDML solutions to PHP with FX over the last month or so, and while it is more difficult than CDML, it's definitely worth the effort, and probably easier and more flexible than a pure XML/XSLT solution.

Here are some of the major benefits of PHP over CDML as I see them:

1. Industry standard coding, with much wider support than CDML (which has been effectively abandoned). This also means that PHP skills are inherently transferable to non-FM solutions.

2. Future-proofs our eventual move to FM versions beyond 6, where CDML is just no-go. Sure, an FM upgrade may require some code tweaking, but that's minor compared to starting from scratch with a tight deadline.

3. Web Companion now sends only *data* to PHP-based pages, instead of entire web pages and their dependent files (images etc). You no longer have to have 'FM pages' and 'non-FM pages', making it simple to incorporate FM data into pages hosted by Apache etc. FM becomes just a data server, not a web server (remember, PHP talks to FM via XML). Much more reliable and efficient, and a much less stressed FM server.

4. You can leverage PHP to add other, non-FM intelligence to your pages, such as SSI, alternating table row colours, time/date displays, etc.

There is of course a downside, the primary one being a higher degree of difficulty. If you're a professional web developer, you should be doing this stuff anyway. If you're a professional FM developer, then it's a tougher call.

Cheers,

Kevin

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I would like to thank all of you for your interesting information. It has helped me try and make an educated decision. (or start putting the pieces together) Things right now on the site are fairly simple and CDML can do the trick. My only concern comes when upgrading and adding more features down the line.

Steve I have already read the thread on Filemaker and Database Driven Websites and it was very informative but I wanted to know what thoughts people had on the subject.

Just to be clear on things can you use PHP XML with version 5-6 of FM? Is this just a versoin 7 thing?

My history of graphic design has been in the print industry and also as an instructor. Now it seems like my career is taking me towards web design. I have been looking at learning PHP-MySQL anyway and could use PHP for present projects.

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Hey Steve, What's the best resource out there to start learning PHP-MySQL? Is there a newbie book you PHP guys would recommend? I've fiddeled around with some programming here and there, but not much. However, I'm interested in getting my feet wet with PHP. What's the best way? Any good beginner books?

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RE: best resource out there to start learning PHP-MySQL

Howdy! Well, "best" probably depends on the individual and programming background but I jumped in with the PHP manual (which I think is well-written and organized) and a few web tutorials. HERE is one I found after I already learned that I posted for college student programmers to check out. I downloaded the PHP manual from http://www.php.net and Mac OS X users may want to check out Marc Liyanage's site, http://www.entropy.ch for helpful info.

There's all kinds of info and tips I'd like to share, but since this is an FMFORUMS forum, I think finding a good MySQL forum will do for you quite nicely instead (although none I've seen has been as helpful as the FMFORUMS community). Of course, you may want to check out the FMFORUMS PHP forum, too, although the majority of posts seem to involve FX.php.

Besides, I'm actually still learning PHP myself and still wrestling with concepts like when to use an include and when to use a function or class instead, so I'm not really a good source for PHP info yet. I'm probably more "semi-pro" than "pro" in my web developer standings.

--ST

P.S. for Kevin: It's all good! Everyone here at FMFORUMS is good at helping each other out, especially the blokes from down under! Thanxalot!

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