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In a tizz with Web Companion


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Hi, I haven't used web companion before and I'm getting in a bit of a bind with it. What I'm trying to do is to put a database of IT Courses online. The aim is that visitors can choose a course and book it online. They can also register so they don't have to input their details again. Specific problems I have are:

1) I've used the FMP connection assistant in HomePage 3. This gives me a great search results page for the courses. When FMP has found a course, how do I add the option to book it? Presumably I can do this by creating a new record, with the course no. and a space for the visitor to enter their logon name and password. But how to get FMP to copy the course no from the search results page to the new record page?

2) There are about 10 different course types (Windows NT, Lotus Notes etc). Can I put all these onto one page and have filemaker find matching courses when a visitor clicks on one of these links? How would I do this?

3) The database holds records of old courses as well. How can I tell FMP to only ever return results listing courses that haven't happened yet/aren't fully booked?

Thanks. These questions might seem rather dumb but I'm at a loss for how to get answers. Are there any books or (better) online tutorials that explain how to do the web companion stuff?

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Talk about taking on a big job... phew! You have at least four systems here to develop:

1) making your database of IT courses web-accessible;

2) a registration system, including an "un-registration" and "I forgot my paswword" automated maintenance;

3) an on-line enrolment system that ties in with the registration system and course information database;

4) a business work flow that already uses the enrolments database to manage the training service.

I'd start by doing step 1 -- web access to the course information. There's at least a couple of months work there alone.

You could save time and money by forgetting about the registration system -- I wouldn't bother to do it unless you expect people to enrol in several courses a week.

I've built a system to do on-line enrolment (an intranet system where the courses are free to company staff) but it didn't get implemented for one reason alone: we need a signature from the applicant's manager on a piece of paper. Having an online enrolment system *and* requiring the applicant to send in a signed for is a waste of time for te applicant -- and if it's a waste of time for the applicant then it's not worth doing IMHO.

Instead I achieved 90% of the brief by putting accurate and complete course information on the web, providing up-to-the-second enrolment information, like "there are 3 places available" or "this course is full" and making sure that people have ready access to the printed enrolment forms by creating a distrubution network, efficient phone enquiries, fax, and making a form downloadable from the web (and after f_cking around with MS Word files and Adobe Acrobat for months I ended up converting the form to plain simple html and getting them to print it direct from the browser. Looks like sh*t but it works!

Keep it simple!

[This message has been edited by Vaughan (edited December 11, 2000).]

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