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Instant Web Publishing; what I've learned


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I wanted to post some info that I hope would be helpful to those implementing an Instant Publishing Web Companion database.

Expedience was the key driver. Elegance of database design was not. Functional and well designed web pages are absolutely necessary. That's where the extra effort went. So, please don't criticize any implementation details. They worked for me.

Lessons learned:

Keep in simple. Keep number of pages to a minimum. Be willing to change the flow and rework the way you implement once you begin to understand what's going on. Some of you initial conceptions and design considerations may likely change.

Use a readable font. My database will be hosted on a Mac but I expect mostly PC connections to it. My recommendation for a web-friendly font is Verdana (system font both platforms). FYI, it's the font used at Lycos.

What works in FMP the application, may not work over the Internet.

Local testing works very well. But I'd recommend you get the internet connection up and running as soon as practical. Better to test this way if you can. A 384 bi-directional DSL connection seems to perform quite well. More on this later as I have friends connect and try... Host machine will be an G3 iMac 400. We'll see if this has to change.

The FM documentation seems to have most of what you need. The help files have some of details that you seem to have to stumble across. For major issues, the doc was fine and their scenarios worked!

If dealing with data entry and record creation, and if subsequent ordering of records is an issue, I suggest a time stamp be used (creation date + creation time) as a number be used. What seems to happen (looking at the logs) is that with each request, whatever sort you specify in the companion set up views is used. This can have interesting results when you think the order is one way and it can be different.

IE doesn't like empty databases. It barks and will say you don't have edit privileges. I ended up creating one record in FMP that the user updates on the web to get around this. I could probably code around this now.

Check that the browser has scripting and plug-ins enabled.

To get my work done quickly I ended up putting my data collection into one database. Originally I had 2 related files. I hit a wall early and changed my approach. I guess what I am trying to say, is be flexible. I gave up on the relationships working. I will have multiple files for multiple people, so in the end, it makes sense for fewer files. My end use allows for this. All data will be aggregatge later. For other folks, it may not. This is my point about expedience and simplicity. No elegance here!

I used Instant Publishing with my own navigation in the pages. I took very little notice of the IP UI. I will instruct my end users to use the navigation in the middle of the page. Again, not elegant. I didn't feel as thought I had the time to figure their stuff out. I am using FMP out of the box; not the developer edition. I wanted to control the end user experience. An no, I didn't have Home Page available and I am not an html guru to build pages. The ads said I could use FM out of the box to do this and that's what I built. Really, and it works!

When I have the chance I will create a Home Page front end. Ironically, I just gave away the software. I have since asked for it back!

All things considered, it WORKED surprisingly easy! Obviously I talked to myselft alot and put a lot of hours into it, but I'm pleased enough to write this and encourage others to do the same.

I hope FM folks see this and put some effort into documenting some of the aspects and particulary to provide examples. That is sorely needed.

Be well,

PigDog aka Howard

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RE: I am using FMP out of the box; not the developer edition. I wanted to control the end user experience. An no, I didn't have Home Page available and I am not an html guru to build pages.

I never developed something with developer edition either. But you should learn some more advanced HTML and switch to Custom Publishing. I've never tested Home Page, because it didn't support Central European languages.

I am exclusively using Adobe's GoLive and I am writing the CDML code into pages in visual (layout) mode.

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I have 4.0 in regular edition and 5.0 as Developer edition. Aside from the ODBC capabilities provided in Developer (which I have not yet used) I don't think Developer was worth the money. I learned html and write all my format files from scratch in SimpleText, no editor apps.

PigDog, thanks for posting your experiences with Instant. I've never used it, but I am sure some of what you have written will be useful to those getting started. The only caution which I would make is you mention enabling scripting. You and others should be aware that the engine which drives ScriptMaker scripts is single-threaded. In the multi-user environment of the www certain problems will arise with the use of ScriptMaker scripts if near simultaneous calls are made upon scripts. These problems can cause major problems. The use of scripts is not recommended without a workaround for this problem.

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I am trying to use instant publishing to share info on our intranet. I should have known it is never as easy as the software claims. We have a projects table that has six related fields drawing from 4 other tables. I get errors when I try to do a search via the net and the sort button does not appear to do anything. Otherwise it seems promissing. I don't know anything about html ( I think thats is what it is)or any of the other code stuff the error comes up with.

Is instant publishing going to work or am I dreaming? crazy.gif" border="0

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Well I am not only new to FM but also to a mac at work. At home I am PC lover forever!!!! Although they say....once you go mac you never go back!!

I beggggg to differ. I also am trying to enter into my office's fm databases from home. When the files are not opened I connect ok, showing no files to be shared. When my office opens the file for me to share....I get errors. I too am using MS IE, I am asssuming I don't have to do anything further to IE to configure it to read the office's mac databases. Although I should never assume....It looks easy enough in the workbook for FM, they make it seem as simple as apple pie....yet when I try connecting I get frustrated. I did just print the tips from PigDog and I will try once again to make this work. I guess it would also help if I was a little more computer literate....I am just a housewife looking to make a couple extra bucks from home!!

LSchiske

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