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Is IWP the best solution?


AliB
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Hi - this is my first post, so please forgive me if it's in the wrong place!

Having built a 'business tracking' solution some years ago under v5.5, I have taken on the challenge of building a similar solution to track contacts, stock, events and hires under v8. We have bought a single license of the software so that I can develop the solution and get familiar with the latest version.

Following advice from other posts (this might be my first post, but I've been looking around for a wee while!) I've gone down the route of using a seperate 'interface' file - I guess you call this the Seperation Model. I've still to join a few things together, but the guts of the solution are in place.

So, the project is coming together nicely, and I have been trying to script things so that the solution can run 'online', rather than with additional licensed FMPro8 clients - there will (for now) only be 4 simultaneous 'users'. Within the confines of our office network things work well, but testing last night from home highlighted that accessing the databases remotely is quite slow. We would like to have the option of working with the solution from a remote location, hence the decision to build with web-compatibility in mind.

One particular annoyance, is that the button graphics, and main page background (which is constant throughout all the interface layouts) all re-load with every request. Is this simply 'how it's going to be' with IWP?

Have I barked up the wrong tree?

Would opening a remote file from a licensed client (over a secure tunnel) be faster than IWP?

The man that pays my wages is delighted with the solution so far, and will - if necessary - invest in Advanced/Server (or whatever) to make it work smoothly.

Thanks in advance for any advice or assistance!

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If you have the money for Server Advanced I would suggest going that route. A lot of people use IWP without any problems, but in my opinion its a second rate solution that can be very quirky.

Installing Server Advanced will give you a big speed boost, and if you still want to publish your files over the web, you can use Custom Web Publishing which in my opinion is my faster and more reliable than IWP.

With IWP you will notice that a lot of your graphics will look diferently on the web also, as far as your UI reloading, I think that this is the case IWP, but also for any other way to actually connect to the database.

One of the great things I use the separation model for in my office enviorment, is I put the UI localy on the machines, making any graphic refreshing be done localy, which speeds things up quite a bit. We however, have several hundered copies of FM to use, you it seems, do not.

From your description however, the idea solution for you seems to be installing FM Server, and buying client versions of FMPro8 for your users, host the data files on the server and put your UI on their machines.

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Certain things can still be slow over a WAN, even if the interface file is local. Things like subsummary reports with complex sorts and large found sets will be slow over a WAN no matter what.

Using something like Citrix, Terminal Services, or even something as simple as a remote desktop software (like timbuktu) will be much faster, as less information is moving over the network this way.

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Thank you both for your input.

I guess I'm just expecting too much from IWP, but I was surprised to see that all graphics in the interface file are re-loaded when you action something (like clicking in a field). There is only a JPEG background and 4 GIF buttons within the interface file - and they are very small 'web-friendly' files - but the performance is just too slow.

There's not a lot of summarising going on in the solution yet, but the 'home' page on log-in has several portals showing records from the related 'events' file. Is the performance here going to slow down as the events file grows? How many records (on average) before it will start to be noticeable.

The 'timbuktu' suggestion is interesting. I've used Apple's Remote Desktop in the past, and to be honest, hadn't considered going down this route. At this stage, I have yet to design all the layouts for printing, and being able to print using custom layouts (i.e. client quotation, kit list, delivery advice) will be important. I'm guessing the best way to do this will be with a client copy of FMPro using the interface file, and accepting the potential performance issue on those occasions when working remotely. Unless there is another way??

BTW, I just fixed the thread to read v8 and Mac OS X Tiger.

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The 'timbuktu' suggestion is interesting

Careful, Citrix doesn't provide the serverside of the matter for mac's only clients. Timbuktu isn't providing any kind of record locking that a served filemaker solution does, so a simple click on the rolodex is broadcasted to the annoyance of all users!!!

IWP solutions provide a different modality, so you have to tinker with the scripts to make the solution agile ...making an upgade as a set and forget is marketing hyperbole, you might very well expirience that scrutinizing your scripting will take a lot more time than expected.

There is a great danger in what you suggests is pennywise but pound foolish.

Would opening a remote file from a licensed client (over a secure tunnel) be faster than IWP?

Licensed clients up against a server yes, through a vpn tunnel? Well not nessersarily the fastest thing on earth.

--sd

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For timbuktu, or remote desktop, I was talking about connecting to a client machine over a WAN, but that client machine would be on a LAN with the FMserver. Multi-user would be fine, you would just need a dedicated machine for each remote desktop connection. So this would only be good for small numbers of remote users. Citrix and Terminal Services would be for larger numbers of users. In either case, you are still using FMServer to host the files.

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